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January 3, 2012 - Mike Donahey
To quote Yogi Berra: "It's hard to predict, especially the future."
Regardless, the Republican caucus vote merits a forecast by me. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney wins, but may set a record for the lowest winning percentage due in part to the large slate. He is heavily favored in N.H. Jan. 10, so he will go to S.C. with two wins under his belt and the "Big Mo" for momentum.Back to Iowa, former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum wins a close second and his totals may surprise people. He was in single digits a short time ago.
However, he has been packing them in as of late, as evidenced by a full house of supporters, onlookers and media at Legends Grill Friday night. He’s visited all 99 counties, secured an endorsement from Bob Vander Platts, evangelical pastors and his hard, smart work has propelled his candidacy. Former House Speaker Gingrich takes fourth, slightly ahead of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minn. takes sixth and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman seventh.
The Times-Republican's online poll was published recently. On the Republican side, respondents selected Paul as their strong favorite followed by Romney, Gingrich, Perry, Huntsman, Santorum and Bachmann.
I’ve been interested in how the caucus would sort out since candidates started visiting our fair state six months ago. And I’ve attended four candidate events in Marshalltown — with Bachmann and Perry here last Thursday, followed by Santorum Friday and Gingrich Sunday. Congressman Paul was here Dec. 10.
I relished the opportunity to cover the events — democracy in action if you will — and it was fun to rub elbows with journalists from all over the world. I stood next to a Japanese reporter Friday night at the Santorum event and briefly spoke with Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian newspaper of London Sunday at the Junction Bar and Grill while waiting for Gingrich.
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