Thursday, January 03, 2008


DES MOINES -- The activity is picking up at Merrill Middle School, site of at least three precinct caucuses tonight. Volunteers in Precinct 70 have set up chairs in the gym ("Home of the Mustangs"). A CNN camera stands ready in the corner. A handful of Clinton supporters have staked out turf in the bleachers, marking it with a tall 'Hillary' signboard.

The action starts in a little less than 90 minutes. In 2004, this precinct had 360 caucus goers, second highest in the state, according to Sally Troxell, whose husband is the caucus chair. This time she's betting -- literally -- on even more.

"I'm guessing 650," she says in the hallway, where registration tables are being set up.

She's in a pool with a few other volunteers. So far the highest estimate is 735.

Riding on the outcome? A dime prize.

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