Obama, Huckabee Win Iowa Caucuses in Presidential Race


(APN) ATLANTA — US Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) emerged victorious from the January 03, 2007, Iowa Caucuses, claiming the first victories of the 2008 presidential contest.

Both candidates delivered optimistic messages of change to supporters afterwards.

“I know you didn’t do this for me,” Obama said. “I know you did this because you believed so deeply in the most American of ideas, that in the face of the most impossible of odds, people who love this country can change it.”

Obama’s campaign attracted independents, young voters, and voters who believe he can take the United States in a new direction. Commentators are saying Obama’s victory in an overwhelmingly White state and strong showing in Iowa’s more Conservative districts bodes well for his campaign.

“Sometimes there are nights like this that years from now, when we’ve made the changes we believe in…you’ll be able to look back and say this is the moment it all began,” he said.

Huckabee, despite spending less money, benefitted from a late surge in support from evangelical and rural voters. Commentators are predicting his victory will deal a serious blow to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the early Republican favorite.

“We’ve learned…the people are more important than the purse,” Huckabee said. “American politics are still in the hands of ordinary people like you.”

“Tonight the people of Iowa made a choice for change,” he added. “What is happening tonight in Iowa is going to start a new prairie fire of hope and zeal.”

Obama received almost 38% of the vote, with all precincts reporting.

Former US Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), who has campaigned in Iowa since 2004, finished second at 29.75%, while US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), the early favorite, finished close behind at a disappointing third at 29.47%.

But despite a need to regroup, both Edwards and Clinton appeared undaunted and spoke optimistically to their supporters.

“What began tonight — and it is not over – is the Iowa caucus goers said we can do better,” Edwards said. “You have started a tidal wave of change that will spread…all the way across this country.”

“We’re going to take this enthusiasm and go to New Hampshire tonight,” Clinton said. “I am so ready for the rest of this campaign and I am so ready to lead. We have a long way to go but I am confident and optimistic. I know we’re going to get up tomorrow to keep pushing as hard as we can.”

Lower-tier candidates included Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico at 2.11%, US Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) at 0.93%, and .02% for US Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT).

US Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) did not receive any delegates, nor did former US Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK).

Both Biden and Dodd announced they were dropping their campaigns after the poor Iowa showings, leaving six major candidates left in the Democratic field.

Meanwhile, Romney, who spent a huge amount of time and money in Iowa, finished second and will try to regroup for New Hampshire.

“We won the silver [medal],” he told supporters. “You win the silver in one event, doesn’t mean you’re not going to come back and win the gold in the final event and that we’re going to do.”

US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), former US Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani placed behind Romney.

Early numbers indicated a record turnout of 220,000 Democrats and 114,000 Republicans caucused, almost double the amount for both parties from the last significant Caucus for each party.

Young voters and first-time caucus participants along with evangelicals fueled the enthusiastic participation, groups that benefitted Obama and Huckabee.

New Hampshire will hold the nation’s first Primary Election on January 08, 2008. Edwards finished fourth there in 2004 on his way to a Vice Presidential nomination. Edwards had finished second in Iowa in 2004 as well.

McCain won New Hampshire in 2000, while George W. Bush, the winner in Iowa in 2000, and blew by him in South Carolina.

A spokeswoman for the Iowa Green Party told Atlanta Progressive News their Caucus will be held on a different date, adding the date has not been set yet but is expected to take place within the next couple months.

Meanwhile, Ralph Nader, Green Presidential candidate in previous years, who has not yet announced his intentions for 2008, recently made positive remarks about Mr. Edwards. A Green Party USA spokesman told APN the remarks were not to be interpreted as an endorsement.

Congressman Kucinich told his Iowa supporters that should his campaign not make it pass the first round of the Iowa Caucuses–in precincts were his supporters were less than 15% of those in attendance–they should vote for Obama. Kucinich had done the same maneuver for Edwards in 2004. Kucinich continues his campaign in New Hampshire despite the poor showing in Iowa.

About the author:

Jonathan Springston is a Senior Staff Writer for the Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at jonathan@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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