- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) Before we put Iowa in our rearview mirror, let’s pause to consider what the caucus results might mean for Republicans across the country: Trouble.

Already worried about November’s elections, Republican operatives found more reason for alarm in Thursday night’s turnout figures in a bellwether state.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois tapped into a hunger for institutional change and helped produce a record-shattering turnout for Democrats an estimated 239,000, compared with the previous high of 124,000. Republicans didn’t do half as well, drawing about 115,000 people to its caucuses.

“November could be dark,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed.

The reason for concern is that political strategists don’t view elections in a vacuum. They realize that what happened Thursday in Iowa could be part of a national phenomenon favoring change, which scares the party now holding the White House.

Iowa’s results also could reflect widespread GOP voter discontent, which could portend disastrously low turnout in November elections.

And this didn’t just happen anywhere. It took place in Iowa, the quintessential swing state that Democrat Al Gore won in 2000 by 4,144 votes and Republican George W. Bush won four years later by 10,059 votes.

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