I just returned form my first caucus experience. It was quite an operation.
The caucus was held at the Community Rec Center, which is indicative of the kind of event that it turned out to be. When we arrived, there were organizers at the doors in their campaign gear directing traffic. The gymnasium was sectioned off into areas for the candidates, but most people signed in and took seats in the rows of chairs at the middle of the room. One of the organizers called everyone to attention and read letters from the democratic committees soliciting money, then she asked for nominations to select the chair of the caucus. Someone suggested that she do it, someone else yelled “second!” and then everyone said “I” and she was the chairperson. Then the same thing happened when they needed a secretary. It was fast and easy, though maybe not pragmatic.
The actual counting began at 7:00 when all of the folks had found a corner and were getting restless. I found the Obama corner and made some friends, then took a look at who my fellow supporters were. The college kids came out. The families were pretty exclusively for Barack, though that could very well have had something to do with the fact that there were laptops with cartoons playing and extra hands for the “child care” areas surrounding them. Pretty smart move, really. The crowd was pretty diverse.
The candidates had to have 49 supporters to be viable for a delegate, and it was clear early on that Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson were not going to make it. The Chris Dodd folks headed for the Hillary camp in droves (well, in two’s, actually). The Joe Biden corner held out to see if they were going to pick up any stragglers, but it was clear that they were not, so the Richardson camp joined them to see if they could get enough supporters together for a delegate between them. Ultimately that failed and most of them joined Obama.
I didn’t get exact numbers in the end, but Hillary had 56 the last I checked and Edwards trailed with about 52. Obama ended up with over 200.
Looking at preliminary statewide numbers, I think it went like that a lot.