For months, Edwards has been rounding up support in the state's rural precincts where the front runners have paid less attention. While Obama and Clinton have drawn crowds in the thousands in places like Des Moines and Ames, Edwards has been winning over people in tiny towns like Sac City (population: 2,189). That's important, the strategists say, because under Iowa's arcane caucus rules, a precinct where 25 people show up to vote gets the same number of delegates as a place that packs in 2,500. In other words, even if he loses to Obama and Clinton in the state's bigger cities, he can still win by wrapping up smaller, far-flung precincts that other candidates have ignored. "The bulk of our support is in small and medium counties," says Jennifer O'Malley, Edwards's Iowa state director. O'Malley says Edwards has visited all 99 counties in the state; the campaign has so far trained captains covering 90 percent of all 1,781 precincts.
Tonight I participated in a conference call with Edwards supporters across the state of Texas; Fred Baron, David Bonior, Chris Bell and others gave updates and asked for (and volunteered to) help. Perhaps the most revealing thing to me is that the campaign is so encouraged by the momentum building in the Hawkeye State that their foremost request was for volunteers to spend any available time in New Hampshire.
Edwards is going to win the Iowa caucuses. Mark it.