Happy Election Year! On Tuesday night, the race for President officially began as the first, and most highly anticipated contest occurred: The Iowa Caucuses. Over 122, 000 Republicans showed out to support their candidate in a race that ultimately came down to Governor Mitt Romney barely beating Senator Rick Santorum by just 8 votes (proof that EVERY VOTE COUNTS).
Santorum, the former Senator of Pennsylvania, appealed largely to religious conservatives (evangelical voters) who make up the base of the Republican party. It’s Santorum’s strong conservative views on social issues (abortion, gay marriage…) along with his blue-collar roots and focus on small-town American values, that make him appealing to Republican voters. Santorum’s close second place win showcases the reservations that some republicans have with Romney, who voters say comes off as robotic and disconnected from their daily struggles. Some political observers predict the close results of Tuesday’s caucus suggests a primary process that may not be as easy for Romney as expected.
The Primary process essentially allows the voters in each state to choose one person to represent the party in the fall (General) Election. The Iowa caucuses are so important because it allows the media to judge and the candidates to test their campaign operations and gain momentum for the series of primary contests to come. In 2008, it was Iowa that legitimized President Obama’s campaign as he decisively beat the national frontrunner, Senator Hillary Clinton. (Click Here for What is a Caucus?)
While Iowa is a major test, it is only the first test in what can be a long primary process. The truth is, Iowa has only chosen the eventual Republican nominee 3 times since it gained its prevalence in 1972(latest being Former President George W. Bush). However, it is known to easily change the perception of the viability of a candidate.
After disappointing finishes Tuesday night, it is presumed that Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry will soon drop out of the Presidential race for this reason. In a speech to supporters after a disappointing 5th place finish, Rick Perry, all but withdrew from the race.
With the voters’ decision tonight in Iowa, I’ve decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight’s caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race…
The next contest is the New Hampshire primaries that will take place next Tuesday, January 10th. A CNN flash poll released Tuesday night showed Mitt Romney with a 30-point lead over the closest competitor, Ron Paul, and a 37-point lead over Rick Santorum. If Santorum gets within 10 points of Romney, it may be considered a win for him as Romney is widely expected to win. After New Hampshire will be the South Carolina and Florida primaries in the following weeks. Election 2012 is underway!
So what do you think? Who will win the Republican Nomination? Does every vote really count? Comment below!
***To see how it all began, Click Here for NavigatingPolitics.com article: “And They’re Off!: The Republican NH Debate“***