The United States’ attention was concentrated on the state of Iowa on January 3, when the votes of the Iowa caucus were tallied, giving former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney an 8-point lead over former Senator Rick Santorum. At a relatively close third is US congressman Ron Paul. The Iowa caucus is considered a key arena in the presidential elections. As the first caucus of the 50 states, the results of the Iowa caucus and also the New Hampshire caucus are seen to be definitive in the United States presidential race.
As the votes were tallied for the Iowa caucus, it quickly became clear that Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were the top three contenders of the night, while Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman struggled to keep up. The competition narrowed to a hairline difference between Santorum and Romney until a little past 2 AM Central Time when Romney was declared the winner of the Iowa caucus. The result is the closest in the history of the Iowa caucus.
Before the counting even concluded, Mr Santorum and Mr Romney both went on air to address their supporters and reiterate their vision and promises for their prospective presidential terms.
Santorum was leading by eighteen points when Romney took to the podium to promise that he would get America “back on track.” Mr Romney vowed to slash all unnecessary spending that he claimed was putting America in debt to China. First on that list is “Obamacare,” which is a source of great contention among US citizens. Romney further criticized Obama’s foreign policy regarding Iran, and called him a “nice guy” who was now “in over his head.”
Rick Santorum, whom at the time held a razor-thin advantage over Mr Romney, took a very different tone, reaching out to the Iowans as “family.” Like Mr Romney, he vouched for the cutting of spending, but went further to say that balancing budgets was not enough. He promised to cut corporate taxes by half, and to focus on American manufacturing to ensure the US’ international economic competitiveness.
At the end of the count, Romney secured 30,015 votes while Santorum gained 30,007, 25.4% each. Rick Perry secured 10% of votes and claimed he would “go home” and reassess his chances in the race. Michele Bachmann, despite a 5% share of the votes, has declared she will continue to stay in the race. Former US ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, with 0.6% of the vote, has called on voters in New Hampshire to “upend conventional wisdom” about the Iowa caucus and grant him a win, which will propel him forward in the nominations.
The “conventional wisdom” Huntsman is citing is the long-running belief that the winner of the Iowa caucus is set for nomination as the presidential candidate. It was true for Democrat nominee Barack Obama, but the state is not representative of the United States’ ethnic, economic, and educational makeup, and according to some, should not be seen as the “crystal ball” of the elections. The New Hampshire primary is often also considered a reliable indicator of the election results, but the United States and the world will have to wait until January 10 to speculate about the results.
For now, Mr Romney, and to some extent, Santorum, are riding the wave of their victory. Mr Romney is likely to remain the Republicans’ “flavour of the day” for a little longer as former Republican presidential nominee John McCain is set to endorse him.
Report: Final result gives Romney an 8-vote win in Iowa caucuses (Los Angeles Times, 3 Jan 2012)
Commentary: McCain to Endorse Romney in New Hampshire (The New York Times’ “The Caucus”, 3 Jan 3012)
Video: Mitt Romney | Iowa Caucus (New York Times, 3 Jan 2012
Video: Rick Santorum | Iowa Caucus (New York Times, 3 Jan 2012)
Live Timeline: Iowa Caucus Live Results (The New York Times, 3 Jan 2012)
Report: Jon Huntsman to New Hampshire voters: 'Upend conventional wisdom’ (Los Angeles Times, 3 Jan 2012)
Report: Michele Bachmann says she’s staying in GOP presidential race despite poor showing in Iowa (Daily News, NY, 3 Jan 2012)
Report: Rick Perry to “reassess” campaign (CBS News, 3 Jan 2012)
Commentary: Old-style voting puts Iowa in epicenter of U.S. election (CNN, 3 Jan 2012)