More than 6,500 people poured into Qwest Arena for the Ada County Democratic Caucus, making it the largest single caucus anywhere. Nearly 8,300 votes were counted, so nearly 2,000 people could not get in and cards were collected outside along a line that stretched several blocks.
In the end Barak Obama pitched a shutout. Here’s the second ballot results:
SECOND BALLOT: First CD only:
Clinton - 399 votes - 13%
Edwards - 14 votes - 0.5%
Obama - 2,584 votes - 84%
Uncommitted 78votes - 2.5%
56 delegates all go to Obama from the 1st Congressional District
Clinton 533 votes - 10.2%
Edwards 34 votes - .07%
Obama 4,553 - 87.3%
Uncommitted 95 votes - 1.8%
65 delegates all go to Obama from the 2nd Congressional District
Those delegate numbers above are for the state convention. For the national convention the Idaho split is 15 Obama and 3 Clinton. I read a comment from an Idahoan on the Washington Post website that I think makes a great point how to put the Idaho results into perspective:
“Admittedly, Idaho is small potatoes in the grand scheme of things. But consider this: everybody considered New Jersey a big prize. By wining that contest, Hillary Clnton won 13 more delegates than did Obama. However, by so thoroughly trouncing her in Idaho, Obama gained 12 delegates over her. So, in effect, Obama’s victory in “tiny and irrelevant” Idaho wiped out the benefit of Clinton’s victory in “delegate rich” New Jersey.”
I’ve been to every Ada County caucus since 1980 except for 1996 when there was no contest. Obviously tonight’s attendance exceeded all previous ones put together. The energy in the area as well as the line leading into it was palpable and made the chill outside seem largely unnoticable.
I joined the line at the front door to Gold’s Gym, which lies on the east side of the Grove Hotel/Qwest Arena. But the direction of the line was north, away from the Grove and along Capitol Blvd., then west on Main Street two blocks, south on 9th Street before a zig zag through the Center on the Grove. The ruler on Google Earth measures out at 2,150 feet. After I joined the line at 6:10 within 5 minutes it was another half a block long behind me. That’s nearly 1/2 mile long! But it seemed to move pretty well considering.
The ballots came out about 15 minutes later and we were asked to fill them out so the line could move a little quicker. We got within about 500 feet of the front enterance around 7:00 p.m. and the Qwest Arena was full. No one else was allowed in. Ballots were being collected in a box by one of our state senators.
I wanted in anyway so I could keep my attendance streak alive. So I wandered up to the front doors as the line was quickly melting away as people dispersed after turning in their ballots. No way to get in.
As a veteran Qwest Arena denizen I knew another door to the sports pub so I went there. A third deck view of the arena! And only about 30 people in there at that time. I hung there for about an hour and watched the proceedings from the pub and also caught the returns from other state primary elections and caucuses on the bar televisions tuned to CNN and Fox. There was one still on ESPN but the game was a runaway, much like some of the primary contests. At one point I slipped over to the western end of the press box next to the pub and took the picture above with my cell phone camera. Frankly it’s the best photo of the event that I’ve seen because it shows about 4,000 people.
Bethine Church gave a great speech, though one rude Obama fan interrupted her when she was saying, “She [Sen. Clinton] has faced many challenges” and the kid shouted “LIKE OBAMA!” Which was kind of funny too.
Mayor Bieter gave a rather rousing if somewhat unprepared speech for Sen. Obama that got the place rocking. Then we had to sit and wait for the results. That took too long. And my only other complaint was there was no beer served, even in the pub from where I was watching. A great night! Go Obama!