After months of presidential campaigning in Iowa, neighboring Illinois Republicans are keeping an eye on the caucus results. That’s because the presidential race hits close to home on both sides of the river.
There have been hundreds of rallies, speeches and events. Now it’s up to old fashioned politics in Iowa.
“It’s been a real roller coaster,” said Illinois State Rep. Rich Morthland. “It’s been one candidate surging for a little bit, and they fall back and another candidate steps up.”
Rep. Morthland, an Illinois Republican, is among those watching the Hawkeye State on Tuesday night. It’s a small state that gets a huge amount of political attention. That first-in-the-nation status is tradition.
“This is how it happens every four years,” Rep. Morthland said. “It’s nice to be next door.”
With plenty of undecided voters in Iowa, the race is up for grabs. Candidates are calling on their organization to get the most support in Iowa before they depart on Wednesday.
“Some of the Republicans in Illinois have watched this very closely and want to make sure that we learn as much as we can,” said John Bauersfeld, a township supervisor and treasurer for Rock Island County Republicans.
What happens in Iowa politically doesn’t necessarily have to stay in Iowa. There could be a benefit for Illinois Republicans just in time for its March primary.
Iowa faces some different issues from Illinois. But the candidate momentum out of the caucuses could make a big difference.
“I think when the caucuses finish and the top three come out, they’ll have some great legs to work with in the other couple of states coming up,” Bauersfeld said.
It’s a real horse race in Iowa that’s got Republican neighbors talking in Illinois.
“Illinois and Iowa are going to be looking for different things to take away from the race,” Rep. Morthland said. “But yet, you still want to see good organization, good strength early on.”
Strength from Iowa that just might spread to Illlinois for Republicans.