The race for the White House really picks up Thursday night as Iowa holds its caucus. It's the first major electoral event and the place many say where "it all begins." Early polls show a close race for the democratic candidates. The latest poll shows Barack Obama a little ahead with Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards both closely behind. On the republican side, Mike Huckabee is still in the lead with 32 percent, and Mitt Romney and John McCain in second and third. Fred Thompson and Ron Paul have only nine percent, and a staggering five percent for Rudy Guiliani.
From Hillary Clinton, to Mike Huckabee, to John Edwards, presidential candidates are pouring money, time, and lots of handshakes into Iowa.
"It sort of sets the momentum. But many a president has lost Iowa and gone on to be president of the United States and likewise, people have won Iowa and not become president so we'll see," says Smith County Republican Party Chairman Marcia Daughtrey.
Candidates have always focused on states like Iowa and New Hampshire, but what about Texas? with our primary two months away, will we even have a say?
"I really feel like the outcome is really going to hinge on our election if we get through South Carolina and Florida without a clear frontrunner, we could have Texas coming into play, and making the decision for who is going to be the Republican candidate for the United States," Daughtrey continues.
"The Texas primary could have a major impact on both parties. March 4 is close by, and there will have been a lot of decisions, and by then the single digit candidates will have dropped out," says Smith County Democratic Party Chairman David Henderson.
Both parties say the race is so unusual this year, anything can happen.
"This is the most confused political race in my lifetime," Henderson adds.
But East Texas say the they're not sure if the results in Iowa will influence their decision..
"I'll pay attention, I'm not sure it will make a difference into the way I vote, but I will be listening," says Linda Calverley from Palestine.
Ginger Cardwell from Tyler says, "I'm just going to research for myself and form my own opinion."
"It will not have much influence on my opinion," says Tylerite Kurt Olsson.
Either way, the race is heating up and soon enough, we may just be seeing some of the big name candidates here in the lone star state.
Daughtrey adds Iowans tend to politically align similarly to East Texas...that is conservatively.