It’s finally here…after months of campaigning, more debates than voters at Michele Bachmann events, and 499 posts at AMERICAblog Elections: The Right’s Field, we come to the Iowa caucus and our 500th post. No more speculation. No more boomlets by Herman Cain or Donald Trump. We finally get to hear from Republican base caucus-goers.
The last three weeks have seen an end to the Gingrich boom and with it, rises by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum in Iowa. At this point the Iowa caucus seems to be a very close race between Paul, Santorum and Mitt Romney. Conventional Wisdom is coalescing around the idea that if Romney finishes in the top two, he’s likely on his way to locking up the nomination early. Yesterday Mike Allen reported:
WHAT THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN IS THINKING about Tuesday night’s caucuses – A top adviser emails: “If we win, it’s fantastic. If Santorum wins and we are second, it’s good. If Paul wins and we are second, it’s great. Any of the likely outcomes is positive for us.”
The most likely shakeup would be if Paul and Santorum go 1-2 and Romney gets third. Given the poll numbers, this is certainly a possibility.
The Iowa caucus could be the beginning of the end for the Bachmann campaign and could well force Gingrich and even the well-funded Rick Perry towards the door.
Stay tuned for caucus coverage here tonight…