Republican caucus filters candidates
On Monday, Feb. 1, the Iowa Caucuses took place. I was at Roosevelt Middle School where 16 precincts of Dubuque County were located for the Republican Caucus. The Iowa caucuses were still the first in the nation to vote, and all eyes were on Iowa to see what would happen. Record numbers were reported across the state, Dubuque County being no exception. The previous caucus that took place in 2012 saw 695 people come out to vote; this year there were 1,610 votes cast at Roosevelt Middle School.
After the votes were counted there were three that came out on top: Rubio, Trump, and Cruz. Rubio topped out at Roosevelt with roughly twenty-four votes separating him from Trump, who came in second. Although Rubio won several caucus sites across the state, Cruz stood strong to win the Iowa Republican Caucus. Cruz winning out over Trump led many to see a blow to Trump’s campaign, who stayed silent on Twitter for over fourteen hours. Trump was silent until the controversial statements made by Cruz’s campaign concerning Dr. Ben Carson came out. Although this may have been seen as a ploy to get more votes for Cruz, the voters who potentially changed their minds on Carson could just have easily moved their votes to Trump who pushed for a new caucus. Whether or not this actually happened is unknown. Trump came in second with 5,000 votes separating him from Cruz in the state of Iowa.
With the caucuses there was also an ending of several campaigns. Mike Huckabee had vowed several months ago to end his campaign if he didn’t end up in the top three in Iowa. He finished near the bottom and suspended his campaign before all the precincts had even been reported. Santorum suspended his campaign the morning following the caucus after also finishing near the bottom. The most recent candidate to suspend his campaign was Rand Paul, who finished fifth in the state. Political experts speculate that he ended his campaign in order to focus on his race for reelection in the Senate.
Although the Iowa Caucuses are over, there are still many primaries coming up. The Republican field will continue to narrow down leading up to the national convention where the nominee will be selected. With November only being nine months away, strategy is being discussed every day and the drive to win back the White House is strong among conservatives, regardless of which candidate they support at the this point in the election process.