Why They Voted

Five Iowa Republicans explain why they showed up on Tuesday night.
Martha Fullerton

On Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock sharp, more than 120,000 Iowa Republicans took their seats at caucus sites across the state to cast the first meaningful votes of the 2012 presidential race. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney edged former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes—the closest caucus in the state's history, and one whose result was decided at the last minute, by voters persuading other voters, through on-stage endorsement speeches and friendly conversations. It was hardly a perfect snapshot of the state's electorate—the inflexible caucus schedule meant voters had to choose between casting their votes and attending their son's wrestling meet or showing up on time for the night shift. But it didn't stop more than 300 voters from showing up at an evangelical church in the Des Moines suburb of Johnston, polling site for Polk County's 481st precinct. Five of them explain why they voted.