Candidates make final pleas before start of Iowa caucus

IOWA -- GOP presidential candidates are criss-crossing the state of Iowa, getting ready for the Iowa caucus that begins Tuesday. UW-Milwaukee Governmental Affairs professor Mordecai Lee says the outcome of the Iowa caucus could impact Wisconsin voters due to Wisconsin's open primary law.

GOP front runner Mitt Romney criss-crossed the state of Iowa in the furious final hours of the Iowa campaign, before the Iowa caucus begins Tuesday. "I need you tomorrow night. I need every single vote in this room and I need you to get other voters from your neighborhood. I need you to get to the caucus. I need a great showing here in Cedar Rapids to become your nominee," Romney said Monday. Romney was joined in frantic campaigning by all of the candidates, with the exception of John Huntsman, who is skipping Iowa and focusing on New Hampshire, much to the disdain of Iowa voters.

While Iowa is grabbing the headlines in advance of the caucus, it's Wisconsin that's quietly shaping the debate, if you ask potential caucus-goers, like Kathy Dzado. "I've been watching carefully what Governor Walker did, and the demonstrations they had in the Capitol, and it's a difficult situation because you have people's rights. That's why the have a union. It's why they want top be well represented, but in the same breath you have the public employee unions that have just gone overboard," Dzado said.

Other Republican voters say Walker's bold moves won't play on the national stage. "I don't think you're going to see a national candidate go against unions the way you did in Wisconsin. Wisconsin was hard core on the hunt for them and it's just not going to happen here," Iowa voter Ted Nelson said.

Potential caucus-goers say they're focusing on electability. Not so much the candidate who mirrors their ideology, but the one who can actually win. "One of the things Iowa does is we call out the candidates that aren't going to make it," Iowa voter Taylor Nelson said.

FOX6's Mike Lowe will have complete coverage from the Iowa caucus all day tomorrow. We welcome you to "Like" him on Facebook, and "Follow" him on Twitter for all the latest updates.

UW-Milwaukee Governmental Affairs professor Mordecai Lee said Monday the outcome of the Iowa caucus could impact Wisconsin voters due to Wisconsin's open primary law.

About 100,000 people will do the first sifting Tuedsay of the presidential candidates who could take on Obama this year for the top spot in American politics. The January 3rd caucus is a long way from an April Wisconsin primary, but Lee says you can look at it as Iowa is doing the elimination round in terms of candidate selection, while Wisconsin will do the final round. "If the race isn't over by the time it comes to Wisconsin in April, we have to remember that we might be deciding the state. It could well be that the race is down to two or three candidates, and we in Wisconsin will really determine who the Republican nominee for president is," Lee said.

Lee says Wisconsinites should be concerned with the early race, even though it will be months before it really reaches our state, because based on Wisconsin law, every Republican candidate from the beginning of the process will be listed on the primary ballot, including whoever may get eliminated in Iowa.

"What's good for Wisconsin voters is that they sort of get a chance to say 'hey, we disagree with Iowa. We don't like that Iowa eliminated so and so. We're going to vote for so and so. We're going to revive the candidacy of so and so. The Wisconsin open primary tradition has the benefit of giving candidates who are thought to be about to fade, one last chance to show that they have popular appeal," Lee said.