Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Democratic Caucus 2008

On Super Tuesday I attended my first Caucus ever. Actually I only attended a portion of my first Caucus ever, but I did show up and vote. I had planned to attend 8 years ago and again 4 years ago, but the races were usually decided before the caucus date in Idaho. This year the Democrats scheduled the Idaho Caucus on Super Tuesday when the race was still wide open.

Our county hosted the largest single caucus in the entire country. A single caucus in a county of more than 300,000 people. Senator Obama was the only candidate with a mobilized volunteer force on the ground in Idaho for months and Senator Obama was the only candidate to make a campaign stop in Idaho. Thus, he was expected to win, but by how much?

We were encouraged to arrive early although it was mentioned that everyone in line at 7pm would be allowed in. We got into line at 5:50pm. There were two lines and at that point both lines were over 4 blocks long. Everyone was enthusiastic and amazed at the turn out. At just over an hour in line we made it into the arena. Five to ten minutes after we made it in the fire marshal closed the doors as the venue was at maximum capacity. Those outside were still allowed to submit their vote, but would not be allowed to participate in the caucus. As it would be later revealed, the first vote would decide the fate anyway.

Upon entering the arena it was very clear that Obama was in for a big night. My estimate was over three quarters of the participants were there for Obama. Since we were already decided, we chose not to stay for the rest of the 4-6 hour event. Before leaving I did take this panorama of the crowd (click to enlarge). The picture clearly illustrates the difficult night for Hillary, the empty seats on the right are in the one of the only two sections her supporters occupied.

After the first votes were tallied for the county, Obama would capture nearly 80% of the vote. Clinton would not meet the minimum 15% to get any delegates. The turnout was 4 times greater than any previous Idaho Caucus. What a great day for Idaho Democrats in this heavily Red State.

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