Iowa Caucus Could Raise Virginia Vote

By: Keith Jones Email
By: Keith Jones Email

If the Iowa caucus is any indication of how this election will play out, the vote in Virginia may mean more than it has in the past.

"Certainly the strategies of the people who came in second or third in the caucus', whether that's Democrats or Republicans, is to string it out as long as possible to see if they can get to states," says Dr. James Frueh.

He believes Iowa is a testing ground for campaigns, and if candidates string it out, Virginia's vote later in the year will be important in deciding who wins, especially in Clinton's case, who finished third among the Democrats in Iowa.

"I think it's kind of early to tell. Just being the first state, I think she still has a chance, just as any of the other running mates do," says Angel Fridley of Staunton.

"For the Democrats, it's not going to make that much of a difference, and for the national, we usually go Republican," says Diane Kester.

According to past elections, a first place finish in Iowa doesn't necessarily mean Obama will live in the White House come 2009.

"In the past, we've never been a whole lot of a deciding factor, but there's always some pride in being in your state and putting forth your vote and your word," says Fridley.

As for the losers of the Iowa Caucus, it's not time to give up. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush Sr. were able to turn their campaigns around after doing poorly in Iowa and each claimed the White House a year later.

The race has begun, and by the time the campaigns roll into Virginia, Frueh says it may make or break a candidate's chances.

He says, "People started saying who the front runners were a year ago and it takes a year of campaigning sometimes to sort those things out."

Now voters have two questions. Will Obama follow the likes of Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, by using the win to ensure victory in New Hampshire? Or will Hilary follow her husband's footsteps in 2002 where he turned a loss in Iowa into a win in New Hampshire?

Regardless, the parties are beginning to narrow down their candidates. Democratic senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd dropped out of the race after finishing far behind the top three in Iowa.

Republican Mike Huckabee has become a formidable candidate by beating rival Mitt Romney who outspent him six to one. JMU political analyst Dr. Bob Roberts says this process will continue throughout the election.

"If in the Republican Party, someone sweeps, like Giuliani thinks he can, it can be over because you get all the delegates if you win by one percentage point, but if you have a couple of Republicans in there splitting states: Northern states going with Giuliani, Huckabee doing well in the southern states, then you have a long contest going into the spring," says Roberts.


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