Thousands of Iowa Republicans are expected to brave the bitter cold to attend meetings at 1,784 precincts around the state Tuesday night to show how seriously they take their first-in-the-nation caucuses.
The outcome could determine who stays in the nomination race — and who calls it quits. In Texas, all eyes are on Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. Recent polls indicate that Paul is in a three-way tie for first place with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. According ot the latest Des Moines Register poll, Perry is running in fifth place, just behind former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The Texas Tribune and its content partners at KUT News dispatched a team to Iowa to cover the caucuses. Ben Philpott has been part of Perry's traveling press corps since Dec. 9, when the governor kicked off a bus tour through the Hawkeye State. KUT's Matt Largey is covering Paul's aggressive ground campaign. The Tribune's Jay Root has been following Perry since he leapt into the presidential race in August. He's back in Iowa for this electoral milestone.
Below, we've produced an audio slideshow featuring analsysis of tonight's caucuses from Philpott, Largey and Root, accompanied by photographs from the campaign trail by Bob Daemmrich.