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The straw vote and the election of delegates to the county convention begins in a standing-room-only auditorium.

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What a real caucus is like

The straw vote and the election of delegates to the county convention begins in a standing-room-only auditorium.

CLIVE, Iowa–“Now fill out those purple pieces of paper…,” Connie Schmett, temporary chairman of the caucus held at Valley High School here, told the standing-room-only auditorium of Republicans. “And if you don’t spell ‘Santorum’ right, don’t worry.  We know who you meant.”
 
Thirty minutes after Iowa Republicans commenced the quadrennial process of selecting a nominee for President, votes had begun to be counted at the 1800-plus polling stations in the Hawkeye State. Exit polls had said that the “top three” GOP contenders would be Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum, with no clue yet as to who was first, second or third.

Here in Clive, a suburb of Des Moines, there was no hint of whether any of the above would be the “top three.”  Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for example, had surprising support at the Valley High caucus.  Spike Jones, a retiree who has had five children go through Valley High, told us he was for Perry “because I like his values and he comes from a good family.”  Steve Ogden, a self-described Christian conservative, said his worry about activist judges “making law from the bench”  led him to volunteer for “the one candidate who has addressed the issue of activist judges, Newt Gingrich.”

After an hour, the results are finally announced to a hushed hall:  Mitt Romney 141, Newt Gingrich 52, Rick Santorum 51, Ron Paul 46, Rick Perry 30, Michele Bachmann 14 and Jon Huntsman 1.
 
The election of Clive’s six delegates to the county convention, the next step in the selection of the eventual Iowa delegation to the GOP national convention, is about to begin.  But at this point, most of the participants move on.  Within minutes, only 17 people are left in the auditorium to continue the business of electing county convention delegates.  The straw vote is over.

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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