Iowa Caucus Comedown, Andrew Jenks Counts The Votes

'If I convinced a few of those ... girls I met the other night at Mullets to vote, maybe I could have swayed' the outcome, Andrew Jenks says from Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Up all night. It’s 2 a.m. and I just got back from the Rick Santorum speech , followed by a Mitt Romney speech in which neither declared victory in the Iowa caucus.

Who ever, ever, ever thought this would happen? Romney, who a month ago never thought he could actually win in Iowa, one-on-one with Santorum, who two weeks ago nobody thought could win anything.

And the results we just got … Romney by 8 votes . Eight votes! The closest Iowa caucus in history, it was declared on Wednesday (January 4). What?

If I convinced a few of those loud, beer-drinking girls I met the other night at Mullets to vote, maybe I could have swayed the election. If I’d pushed harder with that undecided couple … things might have gone a different way.

But as I leave Iowa , I think about all those young people I’ve spoken with. I think about those eight that said they weren’t going to vote. But it must be a proud day for them. They have a unique system: When it comes down to voting time, you go to a local school, firehouse, sometimes even a house, and talk it through with everyone — then you cast your ballot.

But I will also think about their lives in Iowa. Starting today, all of the cameras and worldwide press move on. On Thursday, Iowa will be a completely different state. And that is what makes this place so surreal. Within the last few weeks, I have gotten to know the locals, members of the media — I shook hands with nearly every candidate. But I don’t know the name of a single person that lives on my floor in NYC.

When I saw Rick Santorum a few weeks back he smiled and said, “Oh, it’s you guys again!” When I was at Drake, I saw a few students I met a month ago, and we talked for quite awhile. Leaving Iowa is strange, because it doesn’t take long to really get to know everyone.

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.