Obama takes the nation, but Romney takes Warren County

by Sylvia Koss and Grant Rodgers

After a win for President Obama in 2008, voters in Warren County – considered to be one of Iowa’s swing counties – narrowly supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

The Warren County Auditor’s Office released the unofficial results showing Romney and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan winning with 50.08 percent of the vote. 510 votes separated the two candidates.

While votes from Simpson College students aren’t likely to make a significant difference overall in the county, they certainly can affect individual precincts, said Kedron Bardwell, associate professor of political science. Individual precinct data was not available as of press time.

Though Warren County went to Romney, by 10:30 p.m., many major news organizations had declared Obama the winner of the election. Obama also won Iowa’s six electoral votes.

Sitting in the Kent Center’s Principal Black Box Theatre, several students viewed election coverage that was played throughout the day – with some calling the unfolding election “nerve-racking.”

Even before the election was called, senior and student body president JoAnna Freeland predicted the election would go to Obama. Romney, she said, ultimately did not have the power to unify the Republican Party.

“It’s extremely difficult to beat an incumbent and Romney was too wishy-washy on some things to pull in independent voters,” she said. “He also wasn’t conservative enough on some issues to get the radical Republicans to vote for him.”

From his experiences in the classroom at Simpson, Bardwell said on Monday night that the Obama campaign had a better organization and did a better job targeting Simpson students. Volunteers for the campaign had a stronger presence on campus – through early voting events, including a meet-and-greet with actor Justin Long – than the Romney campaign.

But still, Bardwell says he believes there was a greater diversity in the youth vote this time around than in 2008. Many first-time voters, who witnessed the decline of the economy in their teenage years, may have been swayed to vote for Romney, he said.

“I still think it is true that the Obama campaign has the better overall operation, but not as solid as it did in ’08,” he said. “Most people agree it’s a little bit smaller in ’08 in terms of the youth vote.”

Watching the election results at the Iowa Democratic Party’s event at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, Simpson Students for Obama leader Annie Olson said the atmosphere was ecstatic as the results came in.

“Everyone got super excited and were crowded around the TV monitors and screaming,” she said.