It came down to three votes Tuesday night.
According to the unofficial count at the Wapello County GOP Caucus as of presstime, Rick Santorum barely snuck by Ron Paul, 199-196.
Newt Gingrich came in a relatively close third with 152 votes.
Wapello County’s 21 precincts came together at Ottumwa High School Tuesday night for the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus. Wapello County GOP Chair Trudy Caviness said she believes numbers were well over 1,000 — topping the 2008 election’s turnout.
“It’s exciting to see this many people,” Caviness said.
Caviness said there were also a large amount of Democrats and independents turning out to register as Republicans in order to have a say in the results.
The evening started off with information from Caviness, a prayer led by Phil Cavanaugh, buckets passed around for donations to the Wapello County GOP and speeches from candidate representatives.
Five candidates’ representatives gave speeches in the high school auditorium: Rep. Sam Graves (R-Kansas City, Mo.) for Rick Perry, Jack Hunter for Paul, Rick Vick for Santorum, Randy Davis for Gingrich and Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) for Michele Bachmann.
Graves said Perry is “conservative out of conviction, not out of convenience.”
“He wants to make Washington as inconsequential in your life as he possibly can,” Graves said.
Next up was Hunter, who said Paul’s plan to cut $1 trillion from the budget in his first year is unmatched by his opponents.
“The greatest threat to our country is national debt,” Hunter said.
Vick said Santorum’s morals are what sets him apart.
“Asking us to surrender these moral issues is to ask us to stop being American,” Vick said. “We have found our warrior.”
Davis said Gingrich is not a “professional promise-maker, but a professional do-er.”
Finally, Chelgren lauded Bachmann’s personal and political history, saying, “I vote for what I believe in, not who can win.”
Both Hunter and Chelgren said President Barack Obama is the “worst president in U.S. history.”
For many residents, this was their first caucus.
“I’ve never lived in Iowa before so this is really cool,” said Kara Fischer, of Ottumwa’s third precinct.
Though she already knew she would be voting for Bachmann before coming to the high school, Chelgren’s speech supporting the candidate only solidified her convictions.
“I vote with someone who I really feel has strong values,” Fischer said, echoing Chelgren’s statements earlier in the night.
Another Ottumwan’s first caucus turned out in his favor.
“We need to make sure we get someone in that can beat Obama,” said Bill Liles, who voted for Santorum. “Iowa’s voice needs to be heard.”
Joyce Waters, of Blakesburg, came out to help register voters during her second caucus.
Waters said she’s changed her mind multiple times throughout the campaigning process, in line with the continually fluid race to the top.
Wapello County Caucus results break-down:
Rick Santorum: 199
Ron Paul: 196
Newt Gingrich: 152
Rick Perry: 119
Mitt Romney: 103
Michele Bachmann: 74
Jon Huntsman: 5
Sarah Palin: 2 write-ins
Caucus at OHS draws huge crowd
It came down to three votes Tuesday night.
- Local News
- Liberty student OK after struck by car OTTUMWA — A very scary and dangerous event took place Thursday morning at Liberty Elementary School when a student was struck by a moving vehicle, but thankfully no one was seriously injured in the accident. According to Dr. Davis Eidahl, Ottumwa Com
- Sustained warmup finally in forecast OTTUMWA — It looks like southeast Iowa is going to have a long-overdue warmup, and this time it should be sustained for more than a couple days. Forecasters say Sunday and Monday should both be well above normal. Highs Sunday will be around 52. Monda
- Ottumwans taking their small businesses global OTTUMWA — Usually people think of major industries as global businesses. Several Ottumwans are changing that point of view without ever leaving southeast Iowa. The Etsy website gives small, artsy, often home-based businesses a platform to sell their
- City goals and strategies outlined in meeting OTTUMWA — In order to sustain success in the future, the Ottumwa City Council has a lot of goals that need to be reached. At a city goal setting meeting on Thursday night, goals that the council want to reach in the next two years were outlined and i
- Almost ready OTTUMWA — Sending nearly half of Ottumwa's kids to Liberty Elementary School was just part of the plan for elementary attendance on the south side. On Monday, the school board will see the other part of the plan: reconstruction of Douma Elementary Sc
- Five things in area to do thisweekend By LAURA CARRELL Courier staff writer OTTUMWA -- Talented, political, health-conscious, outdoorsy and musical people will all find something to do in southeast Iowa this weekend. If your interests fit more than one of these, you may want to plan on
- Round 'em up OTTUMWA — Dozens of children and their families flooded the Liberty Elementary School gym Thursday night to register for kindergarten. The kindergarten roundup is an event that’s aimed at showing the children the school system they will soon join. Va
- Indian Hills board to meet OTTUMWA — The Indian Hills board of trustees will have the opportunity to decide on the sale of school land. Their board meeting will be 4 p.m. Monday in the conference room at Indian Hills Community College, on the main Ottumwa campus. Up for discus
- River Hills seeks to purchase Wapello Building OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board of Supervisors will conduct a public hearing on its 2014-15 fiscal year budget on Tuesday, March 11. The public is invited to attend the hearing to be conducted at 5:30 p.m. in the board’s third-floor meeting room in th
- Jacob's Gift presentation: 'There's hope' BLAKESBURG — In a world of circumstances that often make us question God’s motives, a local family is prepared to share a message of hope and peace. Richard and Debbie Hall’s son Jacob was killed in a go-kart accident in 1999 at the age of 11. He had
- More Local News Headlines