First Preference Round
Precinct 19 is relatively large, and thus elects eight delegates to the county convention (the actual object of the Caucuses). According to my best informant, another seasoned Iowa pro, projected turnout tonight was 179--based on an assumption of a statewide turnout of 150,000--and the official count is 319! A women near me said it looked like at least three times the number of folks who were here in 2004, which was itself a high turnout Caucus.
According to the arcane rules of the Caucuses, 48 votes will be necessary to establish a candidate as "viable" in the precinct. Supporters of non-viable candidates will regroup with viable candidates in a second preference round.
An initial show of hands seems to indicate that Edwards is close to the viability threshold, with Obama and Clinton well above it and the others well below it. The precinct captain is now trying to figure out how to physically separate the preference groups for the official count. Usually there's enough space to let them go to different corners of the room. Not tonight.
HRC's supporters are filing past me, and appear to be 90% female.
Obama won big in the first round with 138. Clinton at 60 and Edwards at 57 met the viability standard. Richardson was at 30, Biden at 23, Kucinich at 4, Dodd at 3, and 4 uncommitted. The precinct will now have thirty minutes for the campaigns of the viable candidates to make their pitches to the supporters of those who didn't make the cut.