Caucus results mirror forecasts: Gore outshines Bradley by 2-to-1 margin

by Megan Boldt

DES MOINES, Iowa — In a predicted win, Vice President Al Gore beat former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., after Iowans cast their votes in the nation’s first 2000 presidential caucus Monday night.
Gore ended the night with about 63 percent of the vote, while Bradley had about 35 percent, a 2-to-1 split. A Des Moines Register poll several days before the caucuses predicted 56 percent for Gore and 28 percent for Bradley.
“Thank you for the biggest victory in the history of the contested (Iowa) caucuses,” Gore said in his victory speech. “We’ve just begun to fight.”
Both candidates spent the day trying to woo voters all over the state, with Bradley making a stop at Iowa State University and Gore speaking at the Des Moines airport before retiring to their respective caucus tabulation centers.
In the first real test of their campaigns, Gore and Bradley both faired well. A Bradley spokesman, Matthew Sage, said the Bradley campaign did not have a set target percentage.
“Bill (Bradley) has made great visits throughout the state,” Sage said. “We will be happy with whatever percentage we come out with.”
He also noted that Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy got 31 percent in the Iowa caucuses in 1980 when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. That percentage has been somewhat of a target for insurgent candidates like Kennedy and Bradley.
Drawing from different pools
Experts say Gore appealed to voters unwilling to change the Democratic Party, which was a majority of the Democratic voters. Bradley, on the other hand, appealed to voters who want change, many of whom were Independents.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the Democratic Party is lucky to have two candidates who are so passionate about the country. But, Gore has made changes with the Clinton administration that outshine Bradley’s accomplishments, he said.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have created conditions that have changed lives, Kerry said.
Cliff Carlson of Urbandale, a Bradley supporter, said he was a Republican but switched to the Democratic Party when Bradley decided to run. He disliked Gore because of his political similarities to Clinton, Carlson said.
However, Alexis M. Herman, U.S. Secretary of Labor, said Gore is the best candidate to lead the country and lauded Gore’s plan to expand health care as real and doable.
“(Clinton and I) are from the same place on the ideological spectrum. We’ve both tried to reshape the Democratic Party to combine fiscal responsibility with progressive goals and values, and in that sense some of the objectives and proposals would be similar,” Gore said in a December Des Moines Register article.
Both candidates have touted their health care and education plans throughout the week, stumping around the state in anticipation of Monday night.
Jumping from the platform and accomplishments of the Clinton administration, Gore advocated universal health care and preschool, rehabilitation of dying schools, the expansion of Medicare programs and a balanced budget each year he is president.
Bradley announced he would continue on to New Hampshire despite his Iowa loss. Gore’s win propels him into the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 1. Gore left for New Hampshire at midnight Monday.

Erin Ghere and Megan Boldt welcome comments at [email protected] and [email protected]