The mostly rural state of Iowa, with just 3 million people, is getting ready to wield its outsized political influence on the U.S. presidential race with its first in the nation caucus, as neighbors vote for delegates to choose their party nominee. Mana Rabiee reports.
Every four years, there's a break in the quiet of an Iowa landscape.... as the state suddenly throws itself onto center stage of American politics. That's because this farming state of just three million people is the first in all the U.S. to vote for a party NOMINEE in the November presidential race. In Iowa, it's called caucusing. Come Monday night, thousands will gather at schools, churches and libraries to hear party delegates give speeches urging the crowd to support a certain candidate. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald explains: (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMIE FITZGERALD, POLK COUNTY AUDITOR, SAYING: "We're actually not voting like you think of elections. We're actually electing delegates to take our message from Iowa for the presidential candidate. And then, seven to eight days later, New Hampshire actually has a primary, which is actual voting. But we're a lot differences with the caucuses. It truly is an organizational meeting of your neighbors." The Iowa caucus is generally considered the first major test of a party candidate as the U.S. presidential election primary cycle moves from state to state. So Iowa wields a political influence in the race much bigger than its size. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN PRICE, A RESIDENT OF ADEL, IOWA, SAYING: "I am very proud to be able to be at the very beginning of the process of choosing a president of the United States. I mean, I never get to see anybody that's president but I may have now." (SOUNDBITE) (English) DENISE SUMMERSON, A RESIDENT OF DAWSON, IOWA, SAYING: "It's exciting to be in Iowa and, what it means to people, I guess, that the rest of the world is looking at us right now." Monday promises to be a cold, wintry night. That won't stop hardy Iowans from caucusing with their community and making their voices heard in choosing the next American president.