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All Eyes on Iowa

Alicia Rose

The US presidential election isn't until November but a key part of the campaign is ramping up.

On Monday, individual states will begin picking their Democratic and Republican candidates for president, starting with Iowa.

They're called either primaries or caucuses according to the selection style.

The Democratic Party's front runner is Hillary Clinton. She served as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State for over 20 years. She again occupies center stage in the race for the White House.

"I believe that I have the experience and understanding to be able to chart a course that will not only keep us safe at home but keep our world more secure and prosperous and peaceful," Clinton said on a recent campaign stop.

Her experience is both a blessing and a curse, as many voters are now seeking a candidate who will bring change, rather than business as usual on Capitol Hill.

Senator Bernie Sanders is proving a worthy opponent. He's vowed to confront income inequality and Wall Street. He attracts young voters and is gaining support in key states.

The race is expected to be deadlocked in the early-voting states for the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican side, the field remains crowded with 12 candidates.

Business and real estate mogul Donald Trump remains on top. Despite making controversial comments on a range of issues, his bold style is popular among Republicans who are tired of Washington politics.

Conservative hardliner, Senator Ted Cruz, is challenging Trump's lead in Iowa, the nation's first battleground state.

"The election to be President of the United States to lead the mightiest country on the face of the Earth begins, and much of it is decided in Pizza Ranches and junior high gymnasiums and church fellowship halls in Iowa," Cruz said.

Presenting themselves as mainstream conservatives, Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush are striving for the support of moderate Republican voters. Both hope to change the tide of a race that so far has been dominated by anti-establishment sentiment.

And last weekend, reports surfaced that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering a potential third-party run for the White House. As the founder of a global financial information firm, his net worth is even higher than Donald Trump.

Whoever wins the White House next year has a grueling 10 months of campaigning ahead of them. But for now, all eyes are on the state of Iowa, where the country's first caucus will take place on Feb 1.

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