The Big Story Blog

MN Caucuses: First impressions from the field

Posted at 7:30 PM on February 7, 2012 by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Politics

My phone has been buzzing with calls from MPR's reporters who are all over the state at caucus sites.

So far, it appears turnout is pretty good.

Mark Steil, who is at the Nobles County Republican Caucus in Worthington, Minn., says that roughly 100 people have shown up so far.

Paul Langseth, who is the Minnesota GOP's county chair, said he expects more given the number of phone calls he received about the event earlier today.

"It's going to be a good night," Langseth said. voterid.JPG

Meanwhile, Tim Pugmire is at Rutherford Elementary School in Stillwater, where eight precincts in Senate District 52 are meeting.

But caucus attendees aren't just there to back a candidate. Many are interested in seeing a voter photo identification demonstration sponsored by Republican activists, Tim tells me. (See photo to the right.)

Caucus goers will scan their drivers licenses as they arrive. That information will go electronically to the Secretary of State's website," he said.

So far, the technology is working reasonably well, Tim reports. But it's caused a back-up in the line to get in, he added.

This legislative session, lawmakers are weighing a constitutional amendment that would require photo identification to vote. The demonstration is meant to bolster support for the idea.

Here's another picture from the voter ID demonstration that I dug up on Twitter, courtesy of @melissamartz

Mark Zdechlik is staked out at a middle school in Coon Rapids, where turnout seemed steady but not packed.

Voters there told Mark that they came out because this race is particularly competitive. Several voters were able to meet Ron Paul, who made a brief appearance there earlier in the evening.



About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.