Iowans Overflow Rural Caucuses


Rural precincts reported record turnout in the Iowa presidential caucuses as school gyms and libraries packed voters in. Many were first time caucus goers.

Republican caucus leaders ran out of printed ballots in Maquoketa; on the Democratic side, "organizers were thrilled to register three times as many Democratic caucus-goers as John Glenn Elementary has ever hosted before. Amber Heinrich, 18, was attending her first caucus.”¨”¨ 'I’m for Huckabee," she said, "because my dad said he’s important for agriculture.'"

In Donahue, "rural Iowans came in pairs — almost all wearing boots and warm coats — and trudged through snow and ice to fill a gymnasium and a classroom in an elementary school."

Wapello County, in Southern Iowa, went heavily for Huckabee. Randy Davis told his Ottumwa precinct: “I never want to hear these three words: President Hillary Clinton.” Davis described Huckabee as “pro-life, pro-family and pro-Constitution.” Among Democrats, John Edwards pulled the most support in Southern Iowa.

Steve Bomgaars, who led the caucuses in Spencer, also teaches government at the local high school. He polled his seniors Thursday and found "50 or 60 kids that were planning on attending the caucus."

"We've had a chance to see these candidates up close and personal," said Bomgaars. "It's a great thing for kids to have that access. I don't think they realize how fortunate they are."