When I got with in four blocks of our caucus site and saw dozens of people walking down the sidewalks towards it, I knew right then that we were experiencing record turnouts. I drove around a bit and finally was able to shoehorn my car into a very tight parallel parking situation a block and a half away from the site and made my way towards the front doors. A huge line extended out the front doors of unregistered voters looking to register or switch their registry so I knew there was a huge turnout. The crowds made the 2008 caucus, our previous record, look like a small gathering. Fortunately because I'm registered with my party, I was able to walk right past these long lines and check in just a few minutes later. Some of those registering waited for almost an hour to get through the line.
After checking in I made my way to the auditorium where we waited for the speech portion of the program. Each candidate can have a proxy give a speech as to why we should vote for their candidate in an effort to switch our votes. It is normally presented by locals who read their speeches off of typed up notes and not very informative or emotional. However, the proxy for Ted Cruz this year flipped over that stereotype on its head. They brought in some ringer from North Carolina that gave a speech out of some television movie of a black brimstone and hell fire preacher. I felt like I was at some sort of revival instead of a caucus. That really got the crowds buzzing. The Trump supporters were there and just like him, they were the most obnoxiously vocal but their proxy probably gave the worst speech of the night.
After the speeches, we divided up into our precincts and about fifteen minutes later, my vote was cast. Almost 90% of the crowds immediately thinned out and went home leaving us regular caucus goers to enjoy the evening and mingle while the results were being tallied. In my precinct, Trump won by six votes over Rubio with Cruz coming in a distant third. I wasn't surprised about Trump winning or Cruz coming in a distant third since my precinct isn't what I would call evangelical voters. I was impressed with how well Rubio did however which gave me hope that perhaps there is a chance that we can nominate someone who isn't Trump or Cruz. As you most likely know, overall, Cruz one our state but Trump and Rubio tied for second with 7 delegates apiece.
Once the fair weather voters were gone, the rest of us got down to business electing officers and delegates. You are reading the words of one of those delegates selected to represent my precinct at the county caucus in March and perhaps if elected the state caucus this summer. I'm excited since this is the first time I've ever gone beyond the local caucus to see what the other events are like. More on that later.
Having voted for Rubio, perhaps I'm biased but I feel much better about his chances of winning the overall Republican nomination after Monday night. The last two evangelical choices at the last two caucuses, Huckabee and Santorum, never did well nationally and I haven't seen any reason to believe Cruz will be different. My hope is that his supporters and those of the moderate candidates that didn't get any delegates last night will trickle over to Rubio as the primary season progresses. If Rubio gets the nomination, I think he has good odds of winning against either Sanders or Clinton. For those of the Democratic persuasion, as of writing this, Sanders and Clinton are still in a tie and not all votes are in but regardless, Clinton will end up with at least one more delegate and upwards of three depending on which way the last caucus yet to report went. I'm guessing she hoped she had done better and as someone who really doesn't like either one, I'm rooting for a long drawn out nomination process to divide up the party a bit come election time.
After getting 10 to 20 political robo calls a day for the last two months, my phone is blissfully silent. I have done my civic duty and now I get a chance to rest and not be subjected to politics other than the first ten minutes of the evening news and I plan to take full advantage of that until I have to go serve as a delegate in March.
|About 1/3 of the caucus goers were able to squeeze into the auditorium before the fire marshal closed the doors. The rest of the caucus goers had to stand in the cafeteria area in the top photo and listen to the speeches there.|