Press "Enter" to skip to content

Out of Iowa

One of the biggest political nights of the year, prospectively a major turning point of the presidential political cycle, and the Northwest is . . . watching. But watching with interest. You doubtless know from elsewhere that on the Democratic side, Barack Obama won decisively and John Edwards narrowly edged Hillary Clinton for second; and on the Republican, Mike Huckabee won very decisively over second-place Mitt Romney, with Fred Thompson and John McCain trailing distantly.

bullet A shrewd quick comment from one of the quickest political wits in the area, Oregon Democratic Senate candidate Steve Novick: “The voters of Iowa, both Democrats and Republicans, have sent the same message I have been hearing from Oregon voters: people want change and they want authenticity. It’s not about money. It’s not about endorsements. It’s not about so-called ‘inevitability.’ People aren’t going to take their instructions from Washington insiders. They’re tired of politics as usual. In the last few weeks the three leading Democrats have been seen as expressing three different themes. Obama’s about hope. Edwards is about anger. Clinton’s about hard work, or ‘perspiration’ – but some see her as the candidate of calculation. What we’re going to prove in this campaign is that be hopeful without being naïve. You can be angry without being bitter. And if you work hard enough, you can win by saying what you believe.”

bullet The candidates with the heaviest rosters of Northwest “names” backing them (see our list) were Democrat Clinton (in Oregon and Washington, not in Idaho) and Republican Romney (in Idaho and Oregon, not Washington). Rough night for all those guys – their candidates, while not wiped out, are in an abruptly tougher spot than they were just a short time ago. (That includes Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, the only one of the Northwest governors to endorse at this stage, and among the in-Iowa campaigners the Clinton campaign brought in.) But also: What will all those Idaho Republicans think about this result, unless Romney finds a way to recover? To what extent was the Iowa GOP vote religion-based, and to what extent will Idaho Republicans think it was?

bullet On the other hand, while Huckabee seems to have little visible organization in the region, Obama has a strong local-based organization, strikingly so in Idaho, very substantial in Oregon and Washington.

Share on Facebook