Iowa has Valley Voters Talking Politics

By: Haley Harrison Email
By: Haley Harrison Email

Thursday marks a complex and odd part of the political process that will play a large role in deciding who becomes the next U.S. President: the Iowa Caucus.

Michele Van Pelt and Robert Showalter are two very undecided voters who live in Harrisonburg, but because of events, they have their eyes on the Hawkeye State, 1017 miles away.

"I'll pay attention, just as a news item, as a matter of curiosity," says Showalter.

He's not alone. Van Pelt of Harrisonburg says she doesn't know what party she supports let alone which candidate.

"Everybody thinks, okay well if Iowa's doing it that way, they're in the middle of the country, then we should too," says Van Pelt.

Iowa's caucus is important as the first of many, but presidential hopefuls know even if they win in that state, it's not a sure ticket to a party nomination.

In 1992, Bill Clinton got the green light from Democrats after walking out of Iowa with a measly three percent of the vote.

In 1988, Democrat Michael Dukakis and Republican George H.W. Bush raced to the top after losing the caucuses.

Ronald Reagan's campaign gained speed after he lost Iowa, and he then went on to take the nomination.

Given the caucus' shaky record for producing presidential nominees, these two Valley voters say they're not so sure Iowa really matters.

"I really don't think that's going to affect my opinion as to who I vote for, but it may give me something else to look at," says Van Pelt. "I've been paying attention, but I'll pay much more attention."

For some, the countdown to November starts Thursday, but others plan to wait. January might even be considered a T-11 month since it is about 11 months before the final vote for President.

Showalter already has an idea of when he thought he'd make a decision regarding what candidate he will choose.

He says, "After Labor Day."


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