For all their flaws, the Iowa caucuses are a good filter for the presidential field, an Illinois politician says. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Democrat who worked Iowa for her father, U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, 24 years ago, says one of the benefits of the Iowa process is you can do well without a ton of money, and it’s still true today.
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“I think there’s something, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, to be optimistic about, that a candidate who is one of the top two finishers is one who spent very little money there, but spent a lot of time and made a lot of contact. I think there’s value to a system where money is not the only thing that talks in that campaign,” Simon said, speaking of Rick Santorum, who finished eight votes behind Mitt Romney. Simon says money matters more now that Iowa is over, and candidates who cannot compete with money will “fall by the wayside,” but she says Iowa is a good filter because it doesn’t depend on money. Already Michele Bachmann has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for president, and Rick Perry is reconsidering. Simon says she and her husband spent their honeymoon campaigning in Iowa in 1988. In the Democratic Iowa caucuses in 1988, Richard Gephardt of Missouri won. Paul Simon finished second. The eventual Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, finished third in Iowa.