Iowa's Republican caucus sets participation record

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Feb. 2, 2016 at 8:58 AM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Iowa's Republican Party caucuses broke participation records, officials said.

The party counted more than 180,000 people engaged in selecting a favorite candidate Monday evening, topping the previous record of 121,354 set in 2012.

Although the Democratic Party did not release counts of participants, its turnout was equally hearty, but unlikely to surpass the approximately 240,000 caucus attendees who participated in 2012.

Speeches by voters, encouraged before a vote was taken, often were made twice, first in the assigned setting and then again in a room used for overflow crowds. In a Dubuque elementary school, site of one precinct caucus meeting place, participants filled the auditorium, with the school gym used for the overflow. That caucus also ran out of ballots, and made do with simple pieces of paper.

Numerous delays were reported across the state, and the caucus at Iowa State University in Ames required printing of additional ballots.

A caucus at the Des Moines Social Club started late after 469 people, 300 more than organizers expected, filled the building and its basement.

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