It all comes down to this. Tonight Iowans will cast their votes for the Republican candidate of choice. Who will the barrage of ads, baby kissing and stumping pay off for? Will it be the business-like Mitt Romney, the surging Ron Paul, the dark horse Rick Santorum, the veteran politico Newt Gingrich or trailing Michele Bachmann?
MTV News is on the ground in Iowa and will be covering the caucus and live-blogging all the details. Keep refreshing for up-to-the-minute political drama here!
7:55 Caucus adjourned!
7:49 Most of the caucus goers leave (that wasn’t so bad fussy baby, now was it?) and Pritchard asks for a motion to adjourn.
7:41 Booya! The official results are in and the results are being read! Ron Paul won Precinct 45 in a squeaker while Romney won pretty handily in Precinct 46. Final tally in that precinct: Romney 33, Paul and Santorum 19, Gingrich 10, Perry and Bachmann 3 and one lone vote for Huntsman.
7:40 I don’t care what the OWS people say, THIS is what democracy looks like! Neighbors and students talking to each other about their passions, babies crying, people volunteering for their civic duty and, yeah, bored boys in Adidas texting while they wait for their moms.
7:38 There’s a row of 6 teenage boys behind me furiously texting on their iPhones. There’s no way they’re liveblogging this too, is there?
7:31 The ballots are collected and nominations begin for the delegates to the county convention. Nobody knows the date, but the good people of precinct 45 vote 5 times for Karen and Cijo and 10 times for Ben Levine. Oh, okay, the county convention is March 10 and it’ll cost the lucky delegates $40 for the honor.
7:28 And just like that, it’s already time to vote. Some murmuring runs through the room as baskets are sent around to collect the little pieces of paper that caucusers wrote their votes on and that baby just keeps crying! Relax baby, this is as painless as democracy gets. “Looks like somebody else wants to make a speech too,” jokes caucus chair and Romney supporter Sam Pritchard.
7:25 Just a minute! A Santorum speaker who looks like KFC’s Col. Sanders ticks off a long list of Santorum policies, including clearing the way for the Keystone XL pipeline. Polite applause.
7:24 The speeches are almost cut off without even asking for a Rick Santorum speaker, a telling oversight for the former Senator who was left for dead just a month ago before surging into third place in the final Iowa poll.
7:21 Nobody stands up for Texas Governor Rick Perry, but two people take the podium for Mitt Romney, speaking to his long experience in the private sector.
7:16 A sophomore at Drake speaking on behalf of Rep. Paul makes it clear he’s speaking for himself, not the ROTC, of which he is a member. He has to raise his voice a bit to be heard over a crying baby. “If you want someone who can beat Obama you need someone who is the opposite of Obama.”
7:15 Nobody stands up for John Huntsman, the former Obama administration ambassador to China who basically threw in the towel on Iowa to concentrate on next week’s contest in New Hampshire.
7:13 There are more than 200 people in the room, which has a parquet floor and almost as much space devoted to the media as voters.
7:11 “He created 11 million jobs during his time in Congress,” the Gingrich speaker says.
7:08 The speaker calls for a representative to speak on behalf of Rep. Bachmann… Nothing. So it’s on to the person speaking on behalf of Newt Gingrich. He apologizes for his lack of eye contact, but he’s reading a letter from former Speaker Gingrich.
7:04 We just said the Pledge of Allegiance and now an organizer is sending around the “Money Bags” to help fill the precinct’s coffers.
6:55 Caucus goers are rushing into an auditorium in Olmstead Hall. They have to hurry because the doors close promptly at 7!
6:51 We just arrived on the campus of Drake University for the on-campus caucus meeting.
MTV is on the scene in Iowa! Head to Iowa.MTV.com for all our Iowa caucus coverage , and stick with PowerOf12.org throughout the presidential election season to follow Andrew Jenks on the campaign trail.