Iowa Takes First Crack at Picking Presidential Nominees

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HAPPENING NOW: LIVE RESULTS COMING IN FROM IOWA CAUCUS

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  It’s going down in the DM. Nope, not rapper Yo Gotti’s hit song.

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The other DM — Des Moines. Yep, Iowa’s taking the first crack tonight at picking the nation’s presidential nominees.

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Here are five things to watch:

  • Ice, Ice Baby!

After celebrating (or crying, depending on the results), the presidential candidates and their crews in Iowa for the caucuses need to get the heck out of Dodge. A major winter storm will wallop the state tonight.

  • Sanders Goes to College

Two counties where Sanders must run up a huge delegate advantage are Johnson, where the University of Iowa is located, and Story, the home of Iowa State University.

If he loses either — or Clinton even comes particularly close — Sanders won’t win Iowa.

  • Will Trump’s Troops Turn Out?

The Republican front-runner’s appeal to disaffected conservatives — and some independents and “Reagan Democrats,” too — will be tested immediately. If he succeeds in drawing a huge turnout, it’s a positive sign for Trump long past Iowa.

  • Expectations Game

There’s what Twitter users are calling #Marcomentum: The sense that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is surging late. Polls show him consistently running third behind Trump and Cruz, and if he manages to come close to those two, it would be a boon among establishment Republicans who are still searching for a candidate with a real path to the nomination.

  • Dropout Watch

Early-state results won’t just identify front-runners — they’ll winnow what’s an especially packed field of contenders on the Republican side.