And They’re Off!

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Written by Isabel Cushman

The presidential race officially begins when, after months of campaigning and over 70 million dollars spent on campaign ads in Iowa, the first of the primary presidential elections, the Iowa Caucuses, happened this Monday, February 1st. The Democratic winner was a close race between Hillary Clinton who declared victory with 49.9% of Democratic votes while Bernie Sanders was less than half a percentage behind with 49.6% and Martin O’Malley tailed last with only 0.6% of Democratic votes. The Republican party experienced unprecedented voter turnout in Iowa spread out across eleven candidates. Ted Cruz came in first with 27.6%, the infamous Donald Trump achieved second with 24.3% and Marco Rubio finished third with 23.1% of Republican votes. Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush finished fourth 9.3%, fifth 4.5% and sixth 2.8% while Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum and Jim Gilmore all polled under 2% of Republican vote.

The presidential primary elections, caucuses and nominating conventions are held around the country in order to narrow the candidates for final party nomination for the presidential elections on November 8th. Although primary elections and caucuses serve a similar purpose, the voting procedure is varies. Unlike the confidential voting in primary elections, in a caucus any residential person registered to a political party can participate and the event is usually held in a public area and participants publically group themselves by candidate and take turns making speeches to convinces undecided attendees. The Iowa presidential caucus, which is the first voting in the presidential campaign, is by far the most well attended and highly anticipated caucus in the country. Politically active Iowa residents spend weeks and months before the caucus canvasing neighborhoods, talking to their friends and trying to spread support for their candidate. Between now and the final elections in November, all fifty states will hold primary elections, caucuses, or a combination of both to decide the final contestents for a seat in the Oval Office.