Iowa GOP chairman predicts high turnout, unpredictable finish

CLIVE, Iowa — Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn predicted a high turnout at Tuesday’s caucuses and said an unusually high number of undecided voters were heading to the polls.

Strawn has been hitting many candidates’ events in recent days, and saw Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) on Monday. 

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“I get the sense that there are going to be a lot of Iowans at about 7:30 p.m. tomorrow night,” he said at Mitt Romney’s final event of the day in Clive, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines. “It is unusual, and that emphasizes the importance of organization, because it’s the organized campaign that’s going to have somebody in each precinct that’s probably a local leader making that close.”

That could benefit Santorum, who has a strong organization in the state and has benefited from the collapse of other candidates, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). Santorum’s recent surge in the polls has been due to the backing of socially conservative voters who have been looking for an alternative to national front-runner Romney. 

Earlier in the day, Strawn predicted a high turnout, pointing to a growing number Republican-registered voters and the high turnout at August’s Iowa Straw Poll in Ames.

“I’ve said all along I expect a very strong turnout,” he told The Hill earlier in the day at the Paul event.