In Iowa, USA, a caucus vote on Thursday will launch the state-by-state contest to pick a nominee from each party in the 2008 race for the White House. It is time to start whittling down the number of candidates in the running – a process which will wind up at the end of the summer. Democrat and Republican voters must decide who they consider their party’s best shot for the next American president.
The Democratic majors are New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who would be the job’s first woman; Illinois Senator Barak Obama who would be its first African American; and former North Carolina senator John Edwards – who tried for vice-president in 2004.
The Republican frontrunners are former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher; Former Governor of Massachusetts, the Mormon Mitt Romney; and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Iowa’s start of the nominating process commonly serves as an early indication of which candidates for President of the United States might win the nomination of their political party at that party’s national convention. Five of the previous seven presidential winners here went on to win their party’s nomination.
Caucuses elect delegates for the later convention. In states holding primaries, registered voters indicate their preferred candidate directly. Eight months of campaigning has led up to this, with a nation looking keenly at contrasts as the Bush administration winds down.
The second-youngest candidate after Obama, Edwards will be hoping to widen the appeal he began building as John Kerry’s 2004 running mate. The oldest candidate is among the Republicans: tenacious Vietnam veteran John McCain. He lost out to Bush for the party nomination in 2000.
The only certainty appears to be that the cost of campaigning will break all records. By some estimates, some 420 million dollars has already been raised, and the election is still 11 months away.