Record-setting caucus boosts Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status

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Just hours after Republican caucuses in Scott County, precinct captains are returning a record-setting tally that enhances Iowa's status.

ABC News estimates that Iowa Republicans brought in more than 180,000 voters.

That easily tops 2012 totals of about 121,000 voters.

"The message that this record turnout has for the other 49 states is that Iowa will do just great in terms of turning out people at each of our first-in-the-nation caucuses," said Judy Davidson, chairwoman of Scott County Republicans.

The GOP had no problems packing sites like Davenport West High.

While the location had to come up with more paper ballots, it proves that Iowans take their role seriously.

"It's the intelligent people that we have here," said John Ortega, vice chairman of Scott County Republicans.  "They really study the politics and know what's going on."

Iowa Democrats fell short of a state record, but the party recorded one of its strongest turnouts ever with more than 170,000 participants.

Scott County Democrats were busy setting records at Pleasant Valley High.

With 254 voters packing the library Monday night, it surpassed 2008 totals there for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.

Taking part in the process is important for first-timers like Sean Hook, 21.

"Everyone should go and do that if they have the opportunity," he said.

It's an opportunity to show democracy in action, and Iowa is in the spotlight.

"I want to hear some concrete facts," said undecided voter Judith Kampling, Bettendorf.

The unique give-and-take preserves a tradition for newcomers and veteran caucus-goers.

"I think it shows that we care," said Joanne DeCoster, Bettendorf.  "We're out there participating."

Both parties agree that caucus participation will boost interest in November.

"I think the general election will be huge also," said Ortega.  "There will be a big turnout for the general election."

With the caucus now over, their work continues.

"It doesn't really stop," Davidson concluded.  "From this point on, we're full force."

They'll be launching full force to break more Iowa records.

 

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