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Caucusing

Last night, somewhere in southwest Missouri, we were sitting around trying to decide where to go for dinner. Our hosts had left the t.v. on, silently. I glanced over and there, to my great surprise, was a CNN reporter giving the camera a tour around my junior high school.

That's the junior high school where my precinct (and three others) met tonight to vote for presidential candidates. It was my first time caucusing. The date may be insanely early, but thanks to that, I could attend. Two Italian newspaper reporters walked over from our house with us to check out the Iowa caucus. The place was mad, crammed with people, far more than expected.

Our precinct had 554 people attend the party caucus. For the first time, we were pre-divided by candidates, although not actually counted until we'd clustered more distinctly into groups, with Edwards, Clinton, and Obama getting the bleachers and the "second tier" candidates clustering in groups at the front of the room. In the first round, the first tier candidates' supporters all formed viable groups. The rest did not. (15% of the attendees must support a candidate for their group to be viable. In our caucus, 83 people, were necessary to form a viable group.) Biden had something like 45, Richardson, 35, Kucinich 13, Undecided 16, and everyone else less. Most of the smaller groups went with Biden, which still wasn't viable, so most of them then joined Obama's camp. In the end, 5/9ths of our precinct's county delegates went to Obama.

It was a more entertaining process than I'd expected. There were chants and cheers and lots of t.v. cameras. I ran into lots of neighbors I hadn't seen in years. I had interesting conversations with people who happened to sit near me. C. came and took photos.

When we returned home, a message on our answering machine from a friend said we looked good on t.v. I don't know which channel it was.

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Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
retsuko
Jan. 4th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Interesting to hear a report from the "front lines"! :)
billyabbott
Jan. 4th, 2008 06:43 am (UTC)
News 24 have been running random footage from Iowa for the last day or so and it's on in the kitchen at work, so I'll keep an eye out for you both. Thankyou for giving me an excuse for hanging around in the kitchen all day.
owlfish
Jan. 4th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
The closest thing I've seen so far is the first image capture in this set. It shows my middle school gym with my caucus group in it, but we were all seated too far away to be visible.

Happy to give you the excuse!
wishus
Jan. 4th, 2008 07:06 am (UTC)
That sounds very exciting!
owlfish
Jan. 4th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
It was! The media attention - and the turnout of voters - was unprecedentedly huge this year. It's usually fairly substantial, but, by all reports, nothing like this.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 4th, 2008 07:16 am (UTC)
Cool. :) I know that's short and inane, but I just finished having Hot chocolate with amaretto and whipped cream - multiple times. I'm happy and need to sleep.
itsjustaname
Jan. 4th, 2008 12:17 pm (UTC)
Wow, I read about something in the news and then there's a post on my friends list from someone who was actually part of it. This is very cool. Please to be taking part in other news-worthy events...
ladybird97
Jan. 4th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
You caucused!! That's awesome! I was wondering if you were still in Iowa. Congratulations on being part of such an exciting process. And I'm not sure who you supported, but I'm certainly happy that Obama won :)
owlfish
Jan. 4th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks to this being the only instance in American voting where one has a transferable vote, I got to vote for more than one person along the way!

I've been in Arkansas for most of the past week, making the trip back into a two-day event so we could go for a walk in the mountains (so lovely! so cold!), visit my undergraduate roommate for the first time since I graduated from Smith, and see other family friends in SW Missouri. We made it back just before 5, an hour before the Italian reporters showed up at our house to walk over with us.

It really was very exciting - as was having all that international attention on my home state. 2500 media people in Iowa yesterday, says the newspaper this morning.
mutabbal
Jan. 4th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
... and 2000 rental cars expected to be turned back in today as the press corps flees the state, according to my mother :D!

I'm so envious - I saw your school on CNN International this morning as they were reporting the initial results. I so wanted to caucus but ... alas ... teaching duties called. lucky you :) - and lucky Iowa to have so many people interested in civic engagement!
owlfish
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
10% of all Iowans apparently voted. Obviously that's much bigger percentage when you take into account that not Iowans can vote (some aren't old enough) and not all are registered with a party affiliation. We did well this year!

(I wonder how the car logistics worked out for the rental agencies....)
noncalorsedumor
Jan. 4th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
I've learned so much about the Iowa caucuses from you and printperson. Caucusing sounds FUN!
owlfish
Jan. 5th, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
It IS!
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )