The Iowa Caucus is this Thursday, January 3rd.  The national media has descended upon us and at least one of my restaurant clients I talked with recently is extremely thankful.  Yesterday, I featured the Democratic candidates and today it’s the Republican candidates.  Again, my intent is not to endorse any particular candidate but rather provide a little bit of commentary based upon my observations in the neighborhood. 

Rudy Giuliani – battle tested and has demonstrated his leadership abilities after the terrorist attacks in New York City.  Believes in low taxes and small government.  His stance on abortion and gay rights is opposite the typical Republican.  Personal life is messy.  The fact he campaigned less in Iowa than other candidates will likely hurt his chances for a caucus victory.  See video here.

Mike Huckabee – I first learned about him when he participated in the Little Rock marathon with Iowa’s former Governor, Tom Vilsack.  And he hasn’t stopped running since.  The time he has spent in Iowa has been worthwhile as he has thrust himself toward the top of the polls.  His down home fits well with Iowa voters.  His race with Mitt Romney has turned ugly at times but Huckabee has done more to help himself than any other candidate in Iowa.  See video here.

John McCain – Des Moines Register endorsement was a big shot in the arm for a campaign that seemed on life support a few months ago.  Iowa and McCain have never truly loved one another perhaps in part because his opposition against ethanol subsidies.  (I doubt he liked our indoor rain forest either).  McCain appeals to Independents and Democrats and could be a tough contender if he were actually to get the nomination.  His experience and public service are second to none.  See video here.

Ron Paul – Probably has the most vocal and ardent supporters of any candidate.  He is not just in favor of smaller government – he is anti-government.  One supporter I know has decided to caucus for the first time to support Ron Paul.  Paul opposed the Iraq war from the start and wants to end the IRS.  Has enjoyed an incredible fund raising effort over the Internet.  See video here.

Mitt Romney –  Earned front runner status in Iowa early.  Incredibly successful in business and managed to turn around the Olympics.  Recently has been dogged by changing positions on social issues.  His speech on his religion did not seem to be particuarly helpful.  Has spent a ton of time in Iowa and second place finish to Huckabee could spell trouble for his campaign.  See video here.

Fred Thompson – entered race later than other contenders.  Conservative and a former actor.  (Sound like anyone else?)  Believes in limited federal government, strong local government and low taxes.  Just doesn’t seem to have picked up steam in Iowa.  See video here