Iowa’s governor reacts to muddled Caucus results

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad just did an interview with KGLO Radio in Mason City.  Here is what he said about the muddled results of Iowa’s 2012 Caucuses:

“You know, you have volunteers doing this and I understand, you know, some people maybe called in the results, maybe threw away the paper and didn’t realize how important it (was).  In normal years, the margin would have been big enough it would have made no difference, but I think there’s some lessons to be learned. We just, we take this very seriously and we need to perfect the process.”

Romney, Santorum camps react

The “certified” results of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses were released this morning.  Key folks from the two camps involved in the photo-finish talked with Radio Iowa this morning.

Dave Kochel was the architect of Romney’s Iowa campaign:

“Caucus Night, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Governor Romney was winning the Iowa Caucuses. With the results now being unable to certify precincts, the party has decided they cannot declare a winner. We congratulate Senator Santorum on an excellent campaign in Iowa. The good news is the Iowa Caucuses had a record turn-out by Republicans and really what this represents to us is the first step to defeating Barack Obama in November and Iowa is off to a good start with the Caucus participation as it was. We’re pleased with Governor Romney’s results and we’re appreciative of the hard work that hte party did to certify these results.  It’s a very difficult thing. This is probably the most complete results that have ever been released by the Republican Party of Iowa.  As a former executive director I know because we were only able to release probably all but 50 precincts in 1996 when I was executive director, so it’s a very complicated and difficult thing to do. The fact that the results are so close means that they a’re unable to  declare a winner.”

Radio Iowa caught up with Bob Vander Plaats, a late endorser of Rick Santorum, just as he boarded a plane this morning, so he had just a little time to talk before take-off: 

“It’s exciting to see that (Santorum) won the Caucuses. I hope the media now reports that he’s the winner versus Romney’s the winner because when the results were inconclusive they kept reporting that Romney was the winner. I think this is great news for Santorum heading into Saturday with an Iowa Caucus victory at his back.”

The (sort of) final results of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses

The Iowa GOP’s chairman and executive director gave all the details to Jennifer Jacobs of The Des Moines Register yesterday.  Rick Santorum finished 34 votes ahead on Mitt Romney, but eight precincts didn’t report results.  (That’s a surprise to at least one of the county GOP chairs involved who was contacted this morning.)

The Iowa GOP emailed the rest of the media at 8:17 a.m. this morning with less complete results than were provided to The Register, which you can read below.  The Iowa GOP’s Headquarters is locked and no one is answering the door.  Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn is not responding to a request for an interview.  I’ve talked with folks from Romney’s & Santorum’s Iowa campaigns, though, and will be back later with their  commentary.

Des Moines, IA – The Republican Party of Iowa today released the final, certified vote totals of the January 3 Iowa Caucus presidential preference vote. The final, certified vote totals represent 1,766 of the state’s 1,774 caucus precincts, and reflect a record-breaking 121,503 Iowans who participated.
2012 Iowa Republican Caucus Certified vote totals (1766/1774 precincts certified)

  • Rick Santorum  –  29,839
  • Mitt Romney  –  29,805
  • Ron Paul – 26,036
  • Newt Gingrich – 16,163
  • Rick Perry – 12,557
  • Michele Bachmann – 6,046
  • Jon Huntsman – 739
  • No Preference – 147
  • Other –  86
  • Herman Cain – 45
  • Sarah Palin –  23
  • Buddy Roemer  – 17

Total (1766/1774)       121,503
Certified vote totals were unavailable for eight of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts. Full, certified vote totals per precinct are available online at
 “Just as I did in the early morning hours on January 4, I congratulate Senator Santorum and Governor Romney on a hard-fought effort during the closest contest in caucus history,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn. “Our goal throughout the certification process was to most accurately reflect and report how Iowans voted the evening of January 3. We understand the importance to the candidates involved, but as Iowans, we understand the responsibility we have as temporary caretakers of the Iowa caucuses.””
As Strawn noted during the January 4 announcement of unofficial caucus night vote totals, Iowa GOP rules provided for a 14-day period by which each of Iowa’s 99 counties were required to submit a Form E document from each of the caucus precincts within the county. The Form E document is the official record of the presidential preference vote in each of Iowa’s 1,774 precincts.  The deadline for county Republican officials to submit the Form E documents was 5 p.m. (CST) on Wednesday, January 18.  Following Wednesday’s deadline, Iowa GOP officials were able to certify results from 1,766 of the state’s 1,774 precincts.
 Strawn noted that a hallmark of the Iowa caucuses is the openness and transparency within which the proceedings occur.  Not only do voting Iowans and presidential campaign representatives have the opportunity to observe the vote counting in each of the state’s precincts, but each presidential campaign had senior campaign officials in the Iowa GOP’s official tabulation center on caucus night.
 Strawn indicated this openness and transparency will continue during the post-certification period as the Iowa GOP will be making the precinct caucus Form E documents submitted during the certification process available for review to both presidential campaign officials and members of the media.

Huckabee: cutting foreign aid to Africa “would be a disaster” (audio)

This is the third in a series of posts about a conversation I had this morning with Mike Huckabee (here’s post one and post two).  Huckabee called into the Radio Iowa newsroom to send a message to Iowa Caucus-goers. He’s involved in the One campaign (You saw the F-word video, right? The F word is famine)  and Huckabee argues U.S. aid to the African continent pays dividends now and will in the future.

Cutting foreign aid “would be a disaster not just for the African children, it’s really a disaster for America,” according to Huckabee.

“If America wants to be known only as a country that puts bombs in neighborhoods, then that’s one thing,” Huckabee said. “But I think America also wants to be known as a country that puts food in the mouths of children in extreme poverty.”

AUDIO of that portion of the interview.

Here’s a transcript of part of his answer:

“One of the things that conservatives need to do is be on the front end, not the back end, of showing leadership when it comes to what true conservatism is really about. I can’t think of anything more worth keeping than the lives of human beings and so what the One campaign is all about is just simply saying this is consistent with conservative values and principles, not only for the obvious benefit to the recipients but for the strategic benefit to the United States so that as children grow up their image, their vision, their understanding of who Americans are is that Americans are the ones who saved our lives and Americans are the ones that our friends.

“That’s important because Africa is going to be the largest continent in population within another generation or so, eclipsing China. When that happens, I think Americans would have enough sense to realize it’s best that we have good relationships with these African nations, not relationships where they wish that we didn’t exist.”

Huckabee: Iowa is “make or break” for candidates (audio)

This is the second in a series of posts about my conversation this morning with Mike Huckabee.  Huckabee asked me for my Caucus-finish prediction.  I closed by saying Santorum’s crowds were not quite “Huckabee sized” (a reference to the closing days of the 2008 Caucus campaign), and said if tonight’s turn-out doesn’t wind up setting a record, Republicans may have to answer for “an enthusiasm gap.” Here’s Huckabee’s response:

“I think that’s right. It’s very fascinating. If I had to predict, I’ve been saying I think it’s probably Romney, Santorum and Paul, maybe not in that order — but probably.  And I agree with you about the Santorum thing. I’ve seen some interviews in which people have said, ‘Oh, it’s very much like that.’ But, you know, even on my own network at FOX I was very frustrated when I saw some of the chattering class talking-heads last night talking about that, ‘Well, you know Huckabee, he did well in Iowa, but then he sputtered.’

“I’m thinking, ‘Excuse me!’ You know, I qualified for the ballot in every state. I came in second. I won a lot of states after Iowa, but it wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Iowa and that’s why I’ve always argue that Iowa is a very important place for candidates to play. It’s not going to be the entire campaign, but it’s the make or break and if you can’t play there, chances are you’re probably not going to go much further and if you think you are, ask Rudy how that turned out for him four years ago to wait for us all in Florida.”  

AUDIO of response above.

Huckabee: Rs more interested in defeating Obama than in rebuilding USA (audio)

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, victor in the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, called into the Radio Iowa newsroom this morning for a chat.  I’ll be posted snippets over the next few hours.  Here’s the first question and response to get things started:

Henderson: “What are your thoughts on the 2012 race that you decided not to enter? And you live in Florida, where this race ultimately may be decided. Are you going to remain a celebrity observer, I guess I’ll use that phrase, or will you wind up endorsing somebody before the Florida primary?”

Huckabee: “I don’t intend to endorse anyone before the Florida primary and perhaps not even after, until we settle on a nominee because I want to maintain a level of objectivity. Quite frankly, Kay if I walked in the booth today I’m not sure who I’d pull the lever for. Nobody has so persuaded me that I’m ready to get a yard sign and put out in my yard, so I’m watching and waiting to see, you know, which of these candidates come forth with what I would consider a broad and balanced message  and that shows the capacity to lead and not just campaign.

“One of the reasons that I was so frustrated and decided not to get in the race was because it appears to me, and it still does to a large degree, that many of the Republicans are more interested in just defeating Barack Obama than they are in rebuilding America. Well, defeating somebody without a plan to really resolve problems, to me, is a worthless endeavor.  You know, I want to see us really focus on how to get the country back to work. We’ve got 15, 16 million people that don’t have jobs that would like to have them. Let’s talk about that, not: ‘Let’s spend our time talking about what’s wrong with one of the candidates we’re trying to defeat,’ and that’s unfortunately been the focus of this primary.” 

AUDIO of exchange above.

Iowa GOP to count votes for Cain, “other” as well as “no preference”

A couple of interesting bullet points to ponder from a “Caucus Procedure” memo from the Iowa GOP:

• 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, “No Preference,” and “Other.”
•“No Preference” votes include those who vote “present,” “no preference, “uncommitted,” or “none of the above.” 

In that “other” category would be lumped folks like Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan, both of whom have groups pushing a write-in campaign.

Two primary questions about Caucus campaign developments

Ponder these thoughts on Caucus Eve:

  1. If Romney wins: How crucial was Romney’s decision not to participate in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll?  Consider that two of Romney’s lieutenants worked on the 1996 Iowa campaign of Lamar Alexander.  The 1995 Straw Poll saw eventual-1996-Iowa-Caucus-winner Bob Dole and Phil Gramm tie.  When Caucus time rolled around, Alexander was the “surge” candidate of the cycle, so it’s like Romney’s insiders have a good bit of the “oppo research” on the surge candidate in their personal memory bank.  In addition, these guys were around for Lamar 2000, which lasted until right after the Straw Poll, where Alexander failed to meet expectations — leading to his exit from the race.
  2. If Santorum wins: How key was Santorum’s decision to come to Iowa and campaign on the “Judge Bus” tour in 2010?  Santorum is the only GOP presidential candidate of this cycle who came to Iowa in the fall of 2010 to lend his voice to the campaign that led successfully got Iowans to vote three Iowa Supreme Court justices off the bench.  The architect of that campaign was one Chuck Laudner, who now is the architect of Santorum’s late surge here.  The groundwork for that Santorum/Laudner association was laid on that 2010 tour.

(A previous post incorrectly mentioned the 2007 Straw Poll rather than the 2011 Straw Poll. You knew what I meant.)

Bachmann sticks to her guns, says Paul lured Sorenson with cash (audio)

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann just held a news conference in Des Moines (in the parking lot of WHO Radio).  She is sticking with her story that state Senator Kent Sorenson was offered money by Ron Paul’s campaign to leave his role as chairman for Bachmann’s Iowa campaign and to join his effort quite publicly last night with an endorsement at a rally in Des Moines.

AUDIO of Bachmann’s news conference.  (The questions about the flap start at 8 minute mark.)

Bachmann said she had a conversation by phone with Sorenson on Tuesday. Here’s what Bachmann told reporters this morning:

“I had a conversation with Kent Sorenson and in the direct conversation that I had with him he told me that he was offered money. He was offered a lot of money by the Ron Paul campaign to go and associate with the Ron Paul campaign. No one else knows about that conversation other than Kent Sorenson and myself and I know what he said to me about that.

“…Clearly what that reflected was the nervousness on the part of the Ron Paul campaign that they were losing steam in Iowa, they were losing momentum in Iowa because Iowans’ eyes were opening up. They understood not only was Ron Paul dangerous when it came to foreign policy, but they’re understanding now that Ron Paul would be willing to legalize drugs in the United States, including heroin and cocaine. Iowans don’t want that. 

“…Yesterday I was with Kent Sorenson. He talked to a number of people on our campaign. He told a number of people on our campaign — there’s a list an arm long of people that he spoke to who said he apologized to me for considering leaving. He said that he would be staying. He was with me at our campaign stop in Indianola. He told all of our campaign that he was definitely on board and then he got in his car and he went and announced that he was going with the Ron Paul campaign, but he had told me specifically that he was offered money, a great deal of money by the Ron Paul campaign, and that’s why he was leaving.”

Several reporters asked, “How much money?” and Bachmann said: “I direct you to go to the Ron Paul campaign and talk to them.”

It’s unclear whether Wes Enos, Bachmann’s political director, is still with the campaign. Enos issued a statement last night, under Ron Paul campaign letterhead, saying Sorenson was not leaving for money. I asked Bachmann’s new Iowa campaign chair, state Senator Brad Zaun, as he got on the Bachmann bus is Enos was still on board the Bachmann campaign. “I don’t have a statement for the media,” Zaun said.

Gingrich gets polygamy question (AUDIO)

Newt Gingrich held one of those tele-town halls this evening, and a participant asked Gingrich if he would legalize polygamy if he’s elected.  Here’s the AUDIO of the brief exchange, which lasted less than a minute and a half.

The man started by saying he had been “happy to meet” Gingrich in person at the Iowa State Fair in August. Then the man — who described himself as a “Bible believing Christian” — launched into his question.

“Jesus very specifically states in the Bible that divorced people are really still married, which I think technically means now that you’re a polygamist and I’m wondering what you’ll do to legalize polygamy in U.S. if you were to be elected president,” he said.

Gingrich called it a “fairly unusual question” and then offered the following response: “Having a gone through annulment under the procedures of the Catholic Church, I don’t meet the standards you just described, but I appreciate the question. It’s certainly an unusual one and I can assure you that I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that I would oppose any effort to legalize polygamy. But that’s certainly a creative question on your part and I look forward to the next question.”