Blast Magazine Washington reporter Heidi Buchanan, a former congressional intern and 2004 alternate Vermont delegate at the Democratic National Convention, will be providing blog coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign starting next week.
Moving forward from their victory in Iowa, both Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee face the challenge of translating their early success into momentum which will sustain their candidacies through the remainder of the primaries.
Senator Obama won the Democratic Iowa Caucus’s on Thursday night with 38% of the vote. In second place, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards came out with 30% of the vote with Edwards having a slight edge over Senator Clinton in third place with 29%.
On the GOP side, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won with 34% of the vote with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney taking second place with 25% of the vote. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and Arizona Senator John McCain tied for third with 13% of the vote.
Both winners are widely seen as the "likable" candidates out of the wide playing field of presidential hopefuls. However, historically Iowa has not been a reliable predictor of the eventual nominees. In recent New Hampshire polls for instance, Governor Huckabee has been polling in the single digits behind Senator McCain
The next primary in New Hampshire will bring the candidates in front of a different electorate. Whereas in Iowa, Huckabee relied heavily on his Evangelical beliefs, religious values tend not to be as important to New Hampshire voters. It’s an open question whether Huckabee can broaden his appeal beyond the self described Evangelical and born again Christians responsible for his rise to the top tier in Iowa.
Ultimately, the most important factor that Iowa serves is to narrow down the field of candidates in the race — by the end of the night two Democrats, Delaware Senator Joe Biden and Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, ended their bids for the presidency, and no doubt several other may follow suit in the coming days.
Blast Magazine staff writer John Guilfoil contributed to this report.