Caucus Locator Service
First of all, if you live in Iowa and donâ€™t know for sure where your caucus site is located, youâ€™ll want to click this link to find it. Â If you still canâ€™t figure it out (donâ€™t be ashamedâ€¦ it can be challenging) we want to help. Â Please email us at [email protected]. Â Please include your name, email address and home address (I promise we will not keep this information for any reason). Â We will reply as quickly as possible with your caucus location.
Candidates for President
If you havenâ€™t yet taken a look at the candidates, there any number of resources available to do so. Â I think it is a good idea, more than anything, to look at the candidatesâ€™ web sites and see what they have to say for themselves there. Â Here are the links to those sites:
Herman Cain (included because he is still listed as a candidate officially)
Other Caucus Information
The Iowa Caucus is often looked upon, along with the New Hampshire Primary, as a bell-weather for the entire Presidential Nominating Process. Â Some very important points:
- The Iowa Caucus occurs every two years.
- The purpose of the Iowa Caucus is to discuss and decide on components of the party platform, elect convention delegates to the County Convention, elect representatives to the County Central Committees, and during the year of a Presidential Election to poll party members on their preferences for the partyâ€™s candidate for President.
- This is a party activity and only members of the party that are residents of the precinct may participate at a precinct caucus, although others may be granted opportunity to speak by the Chair.
- Any resident of the caucus precinct can register to become a party member at the caucus event.
- The caucus meeting is governed by Robertâ€™s Rules of Order.
The following are some additional details provided by the Iowa GOP:
Below is a detailed overview of what will happen at 1,774 precincts in the state of Iowa on caucus night, January 3, 2012.
- All caucus participants arrive at their precincts where they will sign in at the door upon arrival.Â Caucuses will begin at 7:00PM CT.
- The caucus meetings begin with the pledge of allegiance.Â A caucus chair and secretary will be elected by the body to run the meeting and take notes.
- After the chair and secretary are elected, candidate representatives from each campaign are given time to speak on behalf of their candidate.
- Once the speakers have finished, sheets of paper are be passed out to every registered Iowa Republican from the precinct. Voters then write down their candidate preference.
- All votes are then collected.
- Every vote is counted.Â The caucus chair and secretary will count the votes in front of the caucus and a representative from each campaign is allowed to observe the counting of the votes. The results are recorded on an official form provided by the Republican Party of Iowa and are announced to the caucus.
- A caucus reporter is chosen to report the results to the Republican Party of Iowa, accompanied by campaign representatives to verify the results reported to Iowa GOP officials.
- RPI officials do not count results; they aggregate them from around the state and report them to the media.Â To ensure consistency in reporting, campaign representatives have the opportunity to be present with RPI officials as votes are reported to the public.
- We will be reporting the votes for Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, â€œNo Preference,â€ and â€œOther.â€
- â€œNo Preferenceâ€ votes include those who vote â€œpresent,â€ â€œno preference, â€œuncommitted,â€ or â€œnone of the above.â€
- Within fourteen days of the caucus, certified results will be released for a complete breakdown of all caucus votes that were cast by precinct.
- After the Presidential preference poll is completed the caucus will elect precinct committee representatives; delegates, alternates, and junior delegates to the county convention; and discuss and submit platform resolutions for consideration at the county convention.
For any other questions or inquiries please contact Nicole Sizemore at [email protected] or at 515-868-2507.
â€œAfter carefully considering the whole situation, I stand with my backÂ toÂ the wall. And walking is better, than running awayâ€¦and crawling ainâ€™t no good at allâ€
Willie Nelsonâ€”Lyrics to â€œWalkingâ€ (1974)
While not known for his astute political analysis, with these lyrics Willie Nelson has managed to perfectly describe the conundrum myself and millions of other voters face in selecting a candidate to support for president amongst the Republican field.
For months now GOPers have been carefully considering the whole situation, and have yet to settle on anyone. With the voting only two weeks away a majority of those undecided now officially are standing with their backsÂ againstÂ the wall.
In this regard I am no differentâ€”laid here are the reasons I am currently walking, and not running, toward Newt Gingrich. Like any well thought out decision there are three main factors at playâ€”the mind, the gut, and the legitimate reservations. The following is an honest, pull-no-punches account of my thought process for each.
The reason why the polls have been a roller coaster in this cycle is fairly simpleâ€”you have a massive pool of Conservative voters and not one single, unquestionably consistent Conservative, who couldÂ certainly beat President Obama. My sense is that the field does have strong Conservatives, namely Bachmann and Santorum, but neither have been able to garner the support necessary to win the White Houseâ€”and Ron Paul will have to be addressed in full at some other time. As the polls suggest, the two with the best chance at unseating Obama are Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
This being the case, the exercise has come down to a question of who I feel is more Conservative between the two and who has the better chance of successfully vocalizing Conservative philosophy to the general electorate. On both counts my answer is Newt Gingrich. As we have seen in the Republican primary, the debates between President Obama and the Republican nominee are going to be viewed by a record amount of people and will largely be the deciding factor for Independents.
Perhaps no figure in modern political history has more of a gift for the debate stage than Newt Gingrich. Making this an even larger advantage is the mythic narrative that President Obama is some legendary debater. While last cycle he may have gotten the better of Hillary Clinton and John McCain overall, he never blew either off the stage (and managed to lose to both on multiple occasions).
Along with his debate prowess, there are two other things that make me comfortable with the idea of Newt as the nominee and as President. First is his deep understanding and respect for history. Whether it be American or world history, his decision making process would be solidly grounded in the actions and outcomes of past situations. I happen to think that had the filter of history been applied to many of the decisions made by our last two presidents, many of the undesirable results we have seen could have been avoided.
Second is the structure and proven results of the concept of a â€œContract with Americaâ€. The 1994 contract saw roughly 70% of its content become lawâ€”and that was with a Democrat in the White House. Any Republican taking a serious look at his â€œ21st Century Contract with Americaâ€ would likely agree that achieving even 50% of its content would result in our Country standing on immensely more solid ground than it is currently. Clearly there is no time now to go through the platform item by item, however, you can review it in detail or read a brief highlight of it here. It is only fair that serious Republicans inspect this document before discounting Mr. Gingrich.
The biggest source of apprehension I have toward Mitt Romney is his striking similarity to our 43rd president. George W. Bushâ€™s eight year application of a watered down â€œcompassionate Conservatismâ€ did a great deal of damage to the viability of the philosophy. I canâ€™t help but shake the feeling that when inevitably faced with unpredicted situations, a President Romney would not be guided through these times of crisis by Constitutional Conservatism. Instead I see him falling back on the identical political pragmatism that Mr. Bush turned to when the pressure was on.
While certainly not without its own risks, I also prefer Gingrichâ€™s personality to Romneyâ€™s in the area of foreign policy. My view is that in general, and especially with the Iranian nuclear situation, many of Americaâ€™s national security interests can be forwarded through an aggressive posture. Though it is a fine line to walk, putting a reasonable fear into rogue nations couldâ€”as proven by Reaganâ€”actually help us avoid potential conflicts. A Romney-foreign-policy approach would likely be strictly by the book (i.e. painfully cautious and deferential), and result in a more-of-the-same outcome. Though I see positives in both approaches, I feel our enemies would have a greater fear of (and hence a greater respect for) a President Gingrich.
At a time when a dramatic move toward the Right is a legitimate possibility, on nearly every issue Mitt Romney is far too timid for my taste. One perfect example is in the area of Federal income tax policy. The enthusiasm throughout the country for major tax reform has never been greater, yet in this climate the proposal offered from Romney is to keep the top rate at 35% and largely leave the current structure intact. Though it could use some tweaking, the Gingrich proposal is for an optional 15% flat tax, where each taxpayer could choose to use the old system or opt for the flat rate. This is emblematic of the level of change the former Speaker is willing to push forâ€”and the type of transformation Mitt Romney will never champion.
The fact that a voter would have reservations about their candidate is only natural. Having said that, the lengthy nature of his list points to why I am walking, and not running, toward Mr. Gingrich.
According to my television and mailbox, and no doubt yours too, not only should Gingrich be checked off our short listâ€”he should be arrested and checked in to Guantanamo Bay. These attacks are largely overblown rubbish, but there are three main factors I view as legitimate reasons for apprehension. Like Romney, Newtâ€™s career includes multiple examples of unsettling â€œpolitical flexibilityâ€, his past personal life has often been a mess, and a rather large number of his former Republican colleagues have been outspoken against him (noteworthy on this list for me is Tom Coburn, whom I respect greatly).
Quite honestly these things have made the decision a far more anguished one than it has been in the pastâ€”or that it ought to be I might add. If I insisted on taking solace it would be found in the fact that while both candidates I view as being able to win the nomination and defeat President Obama have strong negativesâ€”both would be an upgrade for the Country.
I personally want the Republican Party, and the Country, to move significantly to the Right. I want the 10th Amendment to be respected, the enumerated powers to be followed, and for personal responsibility to once again be required and not optional. I do not see Mitt Romney doing this to the extent I want. In my eyes Newt Gingrich is, as George Will says, the most Conservative candidate who can win.
Like it will for many voters, my decision largely came down to a risk vs. reward ratioâ€”and there is no doubt in my mind that Mitt Romney would be the safer choice. Given the circumstances, what America needs right now is a real and powerful constraint on Federal power. Of the nationally viable candidates, Gingrichâ€”and the 21st Century Contractâ€”comes the closest to my vision of a positive American futureâ€¦For this reason I am willing to roll the dice.
Photo courtesy of Dave Davidson, whose outstanding work can be seen at Prezography.com
If ever there is going to be a moment for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to create momentum and change the flat trajectory of his presidential runâ€”now is the time. One day after the release of a Fox News poll, which surprisingly showed him gaining substantial ground in the race, Gingrich took to the stage at the Principal building in Des Moines to unveil his newly minted â€œ21st Century Contract with Americaâ€.
Updated from the 1994 version, this new contract will serve as the backbone of his campaign and its acceptance or rejection will determine his fate one way or the other.
In the world of presidential politics such fate is largely decided by three thingsâ€”the style, the substance, and the politics. Here is a brief analysis of all three.
By any objective measure this event was a success for the former speaker. It displayed a candidate and a campaign that, at a minimum, is hitting its stride and indeed may be ready to become a major player in the race going forward.
Standing on a small stage at the bottom of a room that can be best described as a large movie theatre, Newt showcased many of the positive characteristics that have marked his long political career. He spoke for an hour without a teleprompter or notes and smoothly communicated his message to the audience while appearing very comfortable in his own skin.
The setting was remarkably similar to a college lecture hall and his experience as a professor no doubt factored into his comfort level. Much like his strong debate performances of late, this setting played to his strengths and the result was a candidate able to speak to a variety of issues in a succinct, relaxed, and presidential fashion.
After being presented the outline for his new â€œcontractâ€, one thing is certainly clearâ€”this is a campaign that will not lack grandeur.
Quickly letting the audience know how high he thinks the stakes are, he explained the reasoning behind the large scale of his vision by saying â€œcountries can die without adequate leadershipâ€.
By and large the 21st Century Contract with America is a sweeping document of declared intent. In most cases the solutions he outlines are intentionally vague as his plan is to slowly codify specifics as the campaign progresses. Following a â€œnational conversionâ€, the aim is to have the contract fully fleshed out by September 27th of next year.
His solutions are largely modern day Conservative Republican fare (not a bad thing), whose main thrusts are to inject simplicity and choice into the dealings that we as citizens have with government. Any American serious about vetting the Republican candidates needs to read through the document on their own (availiable here), but here is an overview on a few major issues.
His first order of business would be to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a free market set of solutions to bring the cost of insurance down. The overall structure of our health care system would basically remain in place while insurance policies would be made portable, able to be purchased across state lines, and able to be optionally blended with personal health savings accounts (even in Medicare and Medicaid). These things along with tort reform and digitalizing medical records would attempt to radically decrease premiums without the use of mandates.
He would work to strengthen Social Security while keeping it at the Federal level and push for a voluntary option for young people to put a portion of their contributions into a Social Security savings account. The owner of this account could then choose to take this money and retire (or not retire) at any age they wished.
Perhaps the most interesting areas of this document come under the headings of taxes and immigration.
His business tax proposals are to reduce the corporate tax to 12.5%, abolish all capital gains and estate taxes, and allow 100% write offs in one year for all new equipment purchases. Personal income taxes would be handled by offering a choice to each citizen to either pay under the current system or file with a newly offered one page option. The one page would consist of taking your income, subtracting a standard deduction, taking a deduction for charitable giving and home ownership (if applicable), and multiplying that number by a single set percentage (which is left unspecified).
The headline on his immigration initiative is that there would be a deadline date for securing the border by January 1st, 2014 (â€œsecureâ€ is left undefined). Though it is not stated the inclusion of a firm date strongly suggests that following â€œsecuringâ€ the border would be some form of amnesty. While a few years ago this idea would have been a non-starter for a large block of Republicans, currently the reality seems to have set in that this type of a trade-off is the only way to deal with this problem and finally move forward.
Skeptics of the recent Gingrich campaign surge could doubt that he has the fiery sizzle to overcome his slow start and existing baggageâ€” and be justified.Â Meanwhile critics of his 21st Century Contract with America could attack the plan for being a little light on specifics (especially since Newt is not prone to lack of minutia)â€”and attack they may.Â That being said, going forward this campaign has many more advantages to exploit than disadvantages to fear.
Here are six factors that point to his candidacy not only continuing to build on its current momentum, but that also have the potential to thrust him into the top three in a short amount of time.
#1) His mastery of the debate format, the reason that he has recently gained ground, will be an ever-growing advantage moving forward.Â As the number of candidates on stage dwindles he will be allotted more and more time and will be more easily compared to the less capable candidates.
#2) Republicans are likely to recognize that a supremely informed, smooth, and skilled debater will neutralize Obamaâ€™s biggest advantage (smooth flowery rhetoric).
#3) Now that he has a specific doctrine to anchor his campaign the focus will shift there and drift away from the personal issues that previously have been sucking up oxygen and damaging his campaign.
#4) A close examination of his policy proposals reveals that he has a large number of Tea Party friendly stances and would garner their support, while not being too linked to them to hurt him in a general election.Â In 2012 Republican politics this is what you call â€œthe sweet spotâ€.
#5) The concepts of personal choice, competition, deadlines, fresh ideas, and lower taxes that are found throughout his platform will all appeal to true political independentsâ€”namely those that voted for Obama last time thinking thatâ€™s what they would be getting.
#6)Â As the race gets closer and more real, Republicans have a track record of deciding on the grounds of experience and perceived wherewithal to winâ€¦McCain anyone?Â Consider thisâ€” itâ€™s easy to make the argument that he is as capable, if not more so, than Mitt Romney, while itâ€™s hard to argue that he is not more Conservative.
The bottom line politically is that Newt stacks up well to the rest of the field in many categories while largely lapping them in depth and substance.Â As the race wears on he, oddly enough, finds himself with many advantages to gain from and plenty of time to do itâ€¦and he certainly doesnâ€™t have to worry about peaking too soon!
In terms of the release of the new contract and the impact it will have on his campaign the analysis is fairly simple.Â The concept of a contract with the American people was a great idea and a brilliant political vehicle in 1994â€¦and it still is in 2011.
Photo Courtesy of Prezography.com
Monday night I got to see essentially the same man I saw a year ago at the 2010 Polk County Republican Spring Banquet.Â This is a guy who has spent the past 12 years of his life dedicated to working with smart people to come up with solutions to America’s problems, and who comes across as thoughtful, smart (make that brilliant), and ready to work.
I say “the same”, because even a year ago, Newt Gingrich already seemed like a man bent on the idea that we can fix the American healthcare system without creating a yet another new bureaucracy incapable of bending to the people’s will.Â A year ago he was pressing substantive health care reform ideas that acknowledged the deepest problems the Federal government has with running programs like Medicare… the government is just incapable of managing the fraud and abuse that have become one of the largest tax-payer boon doggles of all time.
I say “the same”, because a year ago Newt came to Des Moines with not only an air of confidence in himself that comes from decades of experience in the public eye, but a sense of purpose in his own life beyond giving a speech to a room full of Republican activists.Â He seemed a man already on a mission, perhaps already trying to find ways to do the job of president without the title.Â Some would call him a “statesman”.
But let’s say he was also a different man.
On Monday, the former House Speaker seemed to have eschewed the grim demeanor he carried in 2010.Â It was almost as if making the decision to run for President had taken a weight off of his shoulders instead of putting it on.Â He answered questions from the press and from a very receptive audience of about 200 with ease.Â He handled the big question of the day, regarding his comments on Sunday on Meet the Press, (where he confounded conservative Republicans by apparently criticizing Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as “too big a jump” to the right), with a good explanation of his comments.Â For those of you who are interested, he essentially stated he had not communicated his thoughts well and was concerned about making dramatic changes to a program that impacts every single person in America.Â His emphasis seemed to be on caution and taking more of a phased approach to any changes in Medicare.Â Frankly, the transcript from Sunday’s program seems to say about the same thing, so I’m struggling with why people are upset about his comments.
Perhaps if people took the time to read the transcript instead of the headlines. Just sayin’.
With the last in mind, I will say, “the same”, because he does and may for some time, struggle slightly with how he communicates a message that may have significant research, analysis, and a team of high-valued brain-power behind it, in a way that can be understood by folks who have not had time to walk through the thought-process with him.Â He seems sometimes to suffer from a mild form of “Keyesitis” (for those of you who recall the enigmatic and hyper intelligent former US Ambassador and former Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes), or a predilection to speaking exactly what’s on his mind, even if the listener is unable to grasp the meaning easily.Â More simply put, he can sometimes be too smart for his own good.Â I don’t think he lacks the ability to explain himself, but in an age of entertainment, technology, and the 15 second sound bite, it is substantially more difficult to get these ideas across when the attention span of your listener is so severely limited, and the assumption that everything one needs to hear can be boiled down to a dozen words.
I suspect that as his campaign proceeds, he will work with his staff to formulate a message that can be more easily understood.Â His biggest risk may be answering questions for which he has not prepared a clear and simple answer, unless he can get to where he can regularly think and explain himself candidly at the level of a high school student or college undergraduate.
It was good to see Newt again, and I’m looking forward to seeing other candidates as the lead up the Iowa Caucus continues!
More comments on Newt’s Des Moines event can be found at Kathie Obradovich’s blog.
If you think that Republicans aren’t ready to engage with the newest generation of voters in 2012, you might want to think again.Â One of the most experienced politicians in the ranks of Republicans, with 20 years in the US House of Representatives, 4 of which were spent as Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich announced his intent today to run for President of the United States on Facebook and Twitter.
At least, it’s being seen that way… actually, kind of an interesting announcement.
Be sure to watch Hannity this Wednesday at 9pm ET/8pm CT. I will be on to talk about my run for President of the United States @seanhannity
I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run. Thank you for your support. Be sure to watch Hannity this Wednesday at 9pm ET/8pm CT. I will be on to talk about my run for President of the United States.
“… as I talk about my run …” seems like a fairly passive statement for a man like Newt.Â While the news wires are treating this as a formal announcement, I think I’ll treat it as an “in case you weren’t paying attention, I’m ready to run” kind of announcement.Â I’m expecting something more “formal” on Wednesday.
So, certainly watch Hannity.
But more importantly, he is expected to be in Des Moines on Monday, May 16, although a detailed schedule is not available yet.Â When we know more, we’ll let you know.
For those of you looking to find out how to support Newt, you can contact Will Rogers at [email protected], or call him at 515-669-1648.
Photo courtesy Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com