Couple travel to Iowa caucus

Published 8:09 pm Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jeff and Jodi Peacock volunteered for Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign during the Iowa caucus.

An Atmore couple is working hard this election year to ensure they have as big an impact as possible in the 2012 presidential race and their efforts to date include a trip across the country to take part in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus.

Jeff and Jodi Peacock packed up and headed for Des Moines earlier this month, and Jeff, who serves as the chairman of the Escambia County Republican Party, said he believes the trip had an actual impact on the caucus and illustrates why, in America, every vote truly does count.

“We went up Thursday before the caucuses and we volunteered,” Peacock said. “We did a lot of phone banking and we attended some rallies. This was one of the largest precincts in Iowa. It was really exciting.”

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This year’s caucus was a closer-than-average affair, with candidate Mitt Romney squeaking out an eight-vote victory. Peacock said he believes that the work of all the volunteers helped secure the close win.

“It was a very close three-way race between Mitt Romney, (Rick) Santorum and Ron Paul,” he said. “As the night wore on it stayed between 40 and 50 votes all night back and forth. Looking back, I would say over the weekend we made a thousand phone calls and I can guarantee that those thousand phone calls certainly made an eight-vote difference. I really feel like the effort we put in certainly impacted the race by eight votes so in a way we sort of feel like we definitely made an impact.”

Peacock said being personally involved in the Iowa caucus has reinforced his belief that all voters can make a significant impact on the presidential race.

“That race certainly demonstrates that every vote counts,” he said. “I think everybody needs to get involved in the political process. Get out there and do their part. We wanted to make an impact early. That’s why we decided to get involved in the first caucus in Iowa. “
As the race for the Republican nomination continues throughout the country, Peacock said his experience in Iowa has given him perspective into the details of the caucuses and primaries still to come.

“It was really exciting to be in the middle of all of that going on,” he said. “After the speeches people would vote on just a blank piece of paper. They were blank ballots and you would write out you choice that you wanted to vote for and then you would have people going around the room and collecting those ballots. They would go off into a completely open public area where you could watch the vote count and then they would count the votes by hand. All across Iowa there were 1,774 precincts, and each one of those precincts followed the exact same procedure. That night there was something like 122,000 votes cast and each one of those were counted by hand.”

Peacock, a Romney supporter, said the votes in Iowa were not tallied until early the next morning, leaving voters and volunteers on the edge of their seats.

“They finally announced that Romney had one at maybe 2:30 that morning,” he said. “ It was very long but exciting night.”

As the campaign trail moves on into other parts of the country, Peacock said it will be interesting to see how a race he considers to be one of the most important to date plays out across the country.

“It seems like every four years you hear the statement that this is the most important presidential election in our lifetime, but I think that really is the case this time. Right now we are looking at two diametrically opposed views of the direction of our country. The choice voters make in November will impact the direction of our country for decades to come.”

How much Alabama’s primary on March 13 will affect the Republican nomination remains to be seen, Peacock said.

“I think it really depends on how the next few caucuses go,” he said. “Governor Romney has a really strong lead right now and if he goes on to win South Carolina that sets him up really well to win Florida. Now if something were to happen and one of the other contenders outperformed expectations, the race could drag on for much longer. Alabama’s primary is March 13. If the race is decided at that point Alabama won’t have that big of an impact. But if there’s still a healthy competition going on, Alabama could have a significant impact.”