Huckabee, Obama Win Big In Iowa

Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher turned politician, and first-term Senator Barack Obama have won the GOP and Democratic caucuses in Iowa.

Despite being outspent by tens of millions of dollars, Huckabee, a Baptist preacher turned politician and the the former governor of Arkansas, easily defeated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who received 24-percent of the vote to Huckabee’s 35-percent.

Fred Thompson came in third place with 14-percent of the GOP vote.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama won a hotly contested three-way horse race between himself, John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Obama got 38 percent of the delegates, while Edwards finished second with 30 percent.  Clinton was third with 29 percent.

The caucuses claimed two candidates when they were done.  Connecticut senator Chris Dodd and Delaware senator Joseph Biden both ended their campaigns after the caucuses were finished.  Biden had just one percent of the vote while finishing fifth, while Dodd finished seventh.

If the races on both sides continue to be close, Washington State might play an interesting role in the selection of the candidates come next month.

If the race is still close come February, don’t be surprised to see candidates making campaign stops in the Inland Northwest as some of them did during the 2004 elections.

In Washington we have a primary next month but we also have a caucus making the political process even more confusing than it already is.

As candidates make their final push in Iowa, Washington voters seem out of the loop.

“I think it’s in September … it’s in November,” Spokane voter Mike Jobe said.

“I’m a Poly Sci major, I should know there’s one in Washington, but I don’t,” Gonzaga University student Amanda Flores said.

She and Mike are both referring to Washington’s presidential primary which is now just weeks away. The ballots are already being prepared for the February 19th election.

“We could be a pivot state,” Spokane County Auditor Vicki Dalton said.

Dalton said that everyone’s vote is important, but admits it would carry much more weight well before the primary, on February 9th, when Washington’s political parties caucus. Like they did in 2004, Democrats and Republicans will meet at local schools, churches and homes and will decide – and then announce – who they will support in the election.

“There is no simple explanation for how a caucus works,” Dalton said.

With Republicans it’s one man, one vote. Democrats can shift their support, however, if their favored candidate is trailing. When it comes time to choose state delegates, Republicans will use a mix of primary and caucus results. Democrats on the other hand will make their selection based entirely on the caucus.

“If you as an individual voter want to make a difference go to the caucuses,” Dalton said.

She admits the state is spending millions on a primary presidential election that doesn’t carry much weight but she says that’s what voters wanted. Mike Jobe, on the other hand, wants an easier process come election day.

“The whole political structure doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.

Washington actually canceled its presidential primary in 2004 and it was suggested that this year’s be canceled as well but because there are no front runners, lawmakers decided to keep it.