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Cockeyed Hawkeyes? Romney wins in Paul-friendly "super caucus" Tuesday night

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Dr. Chris Peters speaks in support of presidential candidate Ron Paul at the "super caucus" in Coralville, Iowa.
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CITY – Driving the more than 10 hours back from Iowa City, Iowa yesterday gave
this reporter a lot of time to think about what I witnessed and experienced
while covering the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses.

the people Ted Smith and I met and talked to during our short-and-quick visit
were amazingly friendly and courteous. As it happened, we kept running into
very passionate, excited and energetic people – young and old – be it in Des
Moines, Cedar Rapids, Coralville or Iowa City. There was the World War II vet
named Del in Cedar Rapids who was a hardcore supporter of Newt Gingrich. There
were the brothers Heflin – Matt and Travis – who worked tirelessly to spread
Ron Paul’s message of freedom and liberty in the Iowa
City/Coralville/University of Iowa area. And there were the good, civic-minded Iowans who were uncertain
of who they really preferred, at least until they attended Tuesday night’s
caucuses in their particular precinct.

 But back to the Ron Paul supporters. In the
Iowa City area, Ron Paul was the only candidate to have an actual campaign
office, which also happened to be manned largely by young people. Ron Paul
political signs were everywhere. Ted and I looked hard to find signs or support
of other candidates. Only Del and longtime GOP activist and caucus organizer
Jim Conklin were the only Newt Gingrich supporters we could find during our
short visit to Cedar Rapids.

And that
takes me to another issue that I did not get to cover as the votes came in,
ultimately showing that candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum emerged in a
virtual tie – eight votes separating the two warmongers.

the Romney camp did not have anyone manning their central Iowa campaign office.
Ted and I called over there multiple times while in Iowa and could not reach
anyone. How did Romney win over so many Iowans on Caucus Night? Others told us
that when they visited the Romney campaign office, stacks of Romney signs were
gathering dust, unused. Where was Romney’s organization? They couldn’t return
calls from the visiting press and somehow they pull off a victory, a slim one,
but a victory nonetheless.

Santorum? As the other social conservative and neo-conservative candidates fell
away – it was clear Michele Bachmann’s campaign was done during our Des Moines
visit – they were supposedly left with Rick Santorum. Continually polling low,
in the last week, rigid, big-government Santorum gets a boost from Iowa’s
Republicans. At the “super-caucus” Red
Dirt Report
covered in Coralville, Iowa, just outside Iowa City, there was
not a single Romney sign visible in or around the large conference center, yet
he would go on to win, despite the Ron Paul signs outnumbering the Rick
Santorum and Rick Perry signs 7 to 1.

did Romney’s support come from in Coralville? He would get 262 votes, according
to The Des Moines Register, and Ron Paul would get 203 votes. Precinct 4, which
we covered, went overwhelmingly for Paul, as did the others we visited. But
Coralville Precinct 6 seemed to have a lot of “activity” going on. They were
the largest – and last – precinct to release their ballot results. It reminded
me of some things that Jim Conklin, the outspoken Cedar Rapids Republican and
Newt supporter who had long ago ostracized himself from the Iowa GOP’s
heavy-hitters because, as he told us, they care about money and the wealthy.
Was money changing hands in Iowa? Brad Funkhouser, writing for,
noted “that abusing suddenly lax ID registration may have created many fake
votes for neocons Santorum and Romney. Santorum has no organization, never drew
over 100 people during his entire campaign. Of course he did bribe and received
the benediction of that 'family' leader who demanded 1 million dollars that
were to be distributed in part to cronies.” That “family leader” is the social
conservative bigwig in Iowa, Bob Vander Plaats, a guy who Conklin derisively
called “Vander Poof.”

the question is being asked … were the caucus results fixed? Funkhouser said
Santorum did not earn 24 percent of the vote in Iowa. How did that happen? Some
say it’s because Santorum stumped in all of Iowa’s 99 counties and was committed to
the Hawkeye State. But the polls were still weak in the final weeks for Santorum.
Ron Paul was on the rise and many pundits were calling for Paul in advance of
Tuesday’s results. So, what happened? As one fervent political watcher told
this reporter in the hours after the results, “Just look at Rand Paul’s face,
as he stood next to his father on Caucus Night. Rand knows something. He did not
look happy. I think he is convinced it was stolen from his dad.”

But the problems are not just on the Republican side of the aisle. The
Democrats, using their ACORN proxies, are already invading poor neighborhoods
in cities like Cedar Rapids and are strong-arming folks, many who are not legal
U.S. residents, to sign up to vote – as Democrats. We witnessed that here in
Oklahoma City in 2008 and Red Dirt Report
found their secret headquarters trashed and abandoned on the city’s southside
in the weeks prior to the election which gave Barack Obama his victory.

But back
to Iowa. It is interesting to note that the Coralville “super-caucus” started
late because of the several hundred newly-registered Republican voters coming through
the door. It was curious and while Red
Dirt Report
has no proof of chicanery, it was clear from all the buttons,
stickers and signs supporting Paul that he was far-and-above the most popular
candidate amongst Coralville Republicans. As we had heard from locals, a Ron
Paul rally drew hundreds of University of Iowa students right before Christmas
break. And with school out during the caucus, Paul didn’t get the support he
might have otherwise received. The media was no help and as MSNBC’s Hardball
host Chris Matthews told Red Dirt Report in Des Moines on Monday, the media has done a lousy
job of taking Ron Paul seriously. If a hardcore liberal Democrat like Matthews
is saying such a thing and noting that many Republicans are experiencing “war
fatigue,” despite the establishment pushing for an attack on Iran, you have to
wonder what is really going on behind the scenes.

Ron Paul had the most excited base in Iowa while we were there. The caucus
after-party at Tailgators in Coralville was full of happy Ron Paul supporters.
Sure, they were disappointed Paul didn’t get in first but as Paul fan Travis
Heflin told this reporter, there is now an organization in place that will
continue to grow regardless if Ron Paul is the candidate or not. The
infrastructure is now there and will remain. And as a University of Iowa
professor and long-time libertarian told Red
Dirt Report
that on the notoriously liberal campus, “libertarianism is
fashionable again.”

Copyright 2012 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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