Caucus, election talk comes to UNA

The Iowa caucus, most commonly recognized as the first step in the election of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, took place Jan. 3.

The Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses are used as a winnowing out process for both parties. The objective in these primaries is not necessarily winning, according to Dr. Tim Collins, associate professor of political science.

“The key is not necessarily to win,” Collins said. “Rather, candidates should be looking to exceed expectations and gain momentum and publicity.”

The 2012 Iowa Republican caucus was the closest race in the Iowa caucus history. There was a margin of only eight votes, with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney taking the lead over Rick Santorum, the former senator of Pennsylvania. Rep. Ron Paul ran a close third.

The remaining candidates for the Republican party (Michelle Bachmann dropped out of the race after a dismal showing at the Iowa caucus) will now move forward to the New Hampshire caucus and South Carolina. Romney, after winning in Iowa, is set up to do well in New Hampshire.

While Collins stated that it’s still too early to know for sure who the Republican nominee will be, he said voters will see a change in the politics in upcoming months.

“After South Carolina and as we’re moving into larger states, we’ll see a shift in politics,” Collins said. “It will move from more of a retail politics mindset, where candidates are meeting voters and shaking hands, to more of a wholesale politics mindset. Candidates will start buying television time and advertising space to reach the larger states.”

A large majority of UNA students are closely following the path to the presidential election in November.

Amanda Frazier, a sophomore nursing major, said that she is looking for a president with honest, moral convictions and a better plan for jobs in the future.

“Going into the healthcare field, I am just as concerned about future jobs as any other student,” she said. “I want a president that will be able to secure and create more jobs, both in healthcare and other fields.”