Nov. 29 absentee ballot for overseas voters

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strong Dem Strong Dem (253)
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PW logo Gingrich Holds Lead in Iowa, Romney Slips Reconsidering Perry and Huntsman
Headline of the Day Cain Suspends Campaign But Vows to Keep Fighting
Bonus Quote of the Day Cain Likely to Drop Out of Race

News from the Votemaster

Woman Accuses Cain of Long-Running Affair     Permalink

An Atlanta woman, Ginger White, has accused Herman Cain of having an affair with her that lasted for 13 years, ending only a year ago. She backed up her assertions to Fox News in Atlanta with cell phone records showing dozens of calls and text messages from what she claimed was his private cell phone. When the station sent a text messaage to that number, Cain called back. Cain has admitted knowing White but denies a sexual relationship with her.

When this is added to the four women who have accused Cain of sexual harrassment, Cain's image (especially with women) is bound to suffer. With 60% of the typical Iowa Republican caucus goers being evangelicals, his appeal to them is certainly going to be diminished. The question is where do those votes go? The obvious beneficiaries are Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, each of whom has at least a small chance of getting the nomination. If enough go to Gingrich, he might be able to win the caucuses. A win in Iowa, coupled with this week's endorsement by New Hampshire's leading conservative voice, the Manchester Union Leader, might propel Gingrich to a win in the New Hampshire primary, which could start a real horse race between Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

The caucus system in Iowa is somewhat bizarre and the Democrats and Republicans do it differently. With the Democrats, attendees at each of the 1,781 precinct caucuses go to different rooms based on their presidential preferences. They talk about their candidates strengths and weaknesses and elect a chairperson to represent them throughout the evening. When the group sizes are tallied, any candidates falling below the threshold of viability (15%) are eliminated. Then another round of preferences is held, with everyone free to join the group of any remaining candidate. This process is repeated until all candidates are considered viable. The delegates to the 99 county conventions are allocated in proportion to the sizes of the preference groups. At that point individual attendees can stand for election as actual delegates. At the county conventions, the whole process is repeated and delegates are sent to the congressional district conventions. At these conventions, delegates are selected for the state convention. It is at the state convention that delegates to the Democratic National Convention are elected. While the process is lengthy, it is definitely democracy in action and tends to produce thousands of activists who will later go out and campaign for the nominee.

The Republicans don't do this. Instead, at the precinct-level caucuses, short speeches are given in support of each candidate. Then each attendee is given a blank sheet of paper and asked to write down the name of one of the candidates. These are tallied and sent to state party headquarters. There are no presidential preference groups--and most important for Cain--no threshold for viability. The same process is followed at the Republican county, district, and state levels.

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