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Iowa Kicks Off 2008 Presidential Race

January 3, 2008, 9:50 PM by Kelli Grant

Iowa Kicks Off 2008 Presidential Race
The official race for President in 2008 is underway. Tonight, voting Iowans got to make their picks for who they would like to see lead the country.

The Democratic contest proved to be the tightest race of the night, with Barack Obama being named the winner. 

All across the state - including in Rock Rapids - lines formed early in the evening so voters could get register and make sure their vote counted.

To be the first is something Iowans are very proud of. Tonight they took the national stage and voters in the Northwest Iowa wanted to make sure every last vote counted.

Nearly 1,800 precincts were set up across Iowa tonight. Voters crammed into community buildings, churches, even homes, hoping to set the tone for the 2008 Presidential election.

"It's critical that we show up , that we vote, and we participate in the process," Republican Greg Dengler said.

"If you look around the room tonight you're gonna find its a lot of the die hard political junkies as they say.  It's the people that are really interested ... very well educated and really have an interest in deciding the nominee," Republican Cody Hoefert said.

On the Republican side in Rock Rapids, the ballots were passed out and voters wrote down their choice's name.

"I'm gonna caucus for mike huckabee tonight," Hoefert said.

"Tonight I think I'm gonna lean toward McCain.  I think he's electable.  I think he would represent our party very strongly," Greg said.

The Democratic side did things much differently.

When the votes were counted, Barack Obama took both precincts 7 and 8.

"I did not realize he had such a large following such a nice backing until tonight now I really think that's wonderful," Gloria Row said.

The majority of Rock Rapids Republicans gave Candidate Mike Huckabee their vote, and all results were phoned in to Des Moines.

It's believed there was a record turnout for tonights caucuses, with more than 220,000 Democrats and 114,000 Republicans taking part. Turnout in the Iowa caucuses is typically low, between 5 and 6 percent.

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