Al Gore gets out vote   Vice President Al Gore waves to the crowd of supporters at a campaign victory party at the Iowa State Fair Grounds in Des Moines, Monday. (AP Photo)

Bush, Gore wrap up Iowa

Forbes a strong 2d; race shifts to N.H.

By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff, and Curtis Wilkie, Globe Correspondent, 1/25/2000

ES MOINES - Republican George W. Bush held off a trio of social conservative challengers while Democrat Al Gore easily won his race over Bill Bradley in the Iowa caucuses last night. But the first vote of Campaign 2000 was barely concluded before the candidates set their sights on New Hampshire, where the contests are expected to be much tighter and the impact of the Iowa outcomes uncertain.

97% of precincts reporting
Bush 41%
Forbes 30%
Keyes 14%
Bauer 9%
McCain 5%
Hatch 1%
98% of precincts reporting
Gore 63%
Bradley 35%
Percentages will not necessarily add to 100.

Bush, Gore wrap up Iowa
The votes tell the contentment
Lesson of Iowa: Counterattack quickly
Candidates have one goal remaining: closing the deal
Tight-three way race in New Hampshire envisioned
Gore plays it cool and girds for battle
Hatch to announce he's quitting race
Small-town USA sees big time turnout at polls
On the road in N.H., McCain dismisses Iowa
Sharing quarters, but ever so briefly

Gore, Bush easy winners of Iowa caucuses
Voters say Bush best choice on moral values, can win in November
Democrats: Iowa picks fighter Gore over Bradley's fresh start
Republicans: Bush aims to use caucus victory to set up showdown with McCain
Fiery Keyes gets strong caucus support
Down-home politics shape Iowa
Iowa's only the first step in picking nominee
With a final flury, candidates focus on turnout
Former president waits nervously as son competes in Iowa caucuses
After Iowa: On to New Hampshire

How Iowa caucuses work
Why they are important

Population: 2.85 million.
Registered voters: 1.8 million -- 36 percent unaffiliated, 32 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat.
Percentage of voters attending GOP caucuses in 1996: 17 percent.
Race: 97 percent white. 2 percent black. 1 percent Asian. 2 percent Hispanic origin.
Median age: 36.3.
Median household income: $33,877.
Poverty rate: 9.4 percent.
Unemployment rate: 2.7 percent.
Abortions: 9.8 per 1,000 women in 1995, compared with the national average of 22.9 per 1,000.
1996 vote: 50 percent Clinton; 40 percent Dole; 9 percent Perot.
Average life span: 77 years, compared with the U.S. average of 75.
Housing: Just over 72 percent of Iowans own their own homes, national average 66.3 percent.
Crime rate: 3,816 victims per 100,000 people in 1997, vs. national average of 4,923.
Tax burden: On a per-person basis, Iowa paid $4,530 in federal taxes in 1997 and got back $4,661 in federal spending.

Bush, the front-runner here for many months, benefit ed from a large field in which social conservatives demonstrated their clout but split their vote. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Bush received 41 percent, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes had 30 percent, and talk show host Alan Keyes broke past his conservative peers for a striking third-place showing of 14 percent. Gary Bauer, a former aide to President Reagan, was in fourth place with 9 percent.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who had been tied for third in the most recent poll, was in fifth place with 5 percent, apparently the victim of his decision to bypass this state in favor of focusing most of his attention on New Hampshire.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah was in sixth place with 1 percent and is expected to drop out of the race shortly.

''We've had a record-shattering victory,'' Bush said, beaming to reporters in a hotel suite.

On the Democratic side,

with 85 percent of precincts reporting, Gore had 63 percent of the vote compared with 35 percent for Bradley.

Bradley, the former New Jersey senator who poured nearly $2 million into this state, quickly turned his attention to the Granite State, where he led Gore in some polls until recently.

''The longer the competition goes, the better chance that candidate is going to have,'' Bradley said earlier in the day.

McCain, who did not actively campaign here, leads Bush in some New Hampshire polls and yesterday conducted his 100th town meeting in the state, underscoring how much the Arizonan is basing his strategy on winning the first primary.

''People of New Hampshire don't pay a great deal of attention to what happens in Iowa,'' McCain said yesterday, hopeful that his risky decision to skip Iowa was the right strategy.

Forbes, who had barely stopped campaigning in Iowa since dropping out of the 1996 Republican contest, boldly predicted that his showing here would enable him and McCain to grab the top two spots in New Hampshire, with Bush coming in third place.

Gore, meanwhile, hoped to deliver a knockout blow to Bradley, who until recently has been leading in the New Hampshire polls. While presidential candidates often seek a ''bounce'' from Iowa, the reverse often occurs. Bradley, who poured substantial time and resources into Iowa in hopes of a strong showing here, has even higher stakes in New Hampshire.

Iowa officials said they expected 100,000 people each at the Republican and Democratic caucuses out of the state's 1.8 million registered voters. Caucus voters me t at more than 2,000 sites across the state.

Bush and Gore planned to wrap up their victory parties with overnight flights from Iowa to New Hampshire, planning to uphold a tradition of 3 a.m. rallies at the Manchester airport and bleary-eyed appearances on the early morning television shows. All of the campaigns readied for a solid week of campaigning in the Granite State, accompanied by hundreds of reporters and thousands of campaign workers.

With tight races in both parties, the week ahead promises to be another great adventure in American politics, in a state whose voters, from the Seacoast to the White Mountains, revel in their opportunity to second-guess the results from Iowa and putting their outsized imprint on the presidential contest.

While New Hampshire's on-and-off tendency to overturn the caucus outcome is often viewed as ''contrarian,'' the state is different in many fundamental ways from Iowa. In Iowa, the major issues are farm policy, abortion, and other social issues, with relatively few independents taking part in causes geared to party members. Only 10 percent to 25 percent of registered voters in Iowa were expected to participate in the caucuses. In New Hampshire, the major issues are taxation, education, and a libertarian outlook, with independents expected to participate heavily in a primary that is likely to have a 70 percent turnout.

In a decades-old tradition, Iowans yesterday assembled in high schools, church basements, and farmhouses across the state to meet in caucuses and declare their presidential preferences. In a process dominated by activists on the extremes of both parties, Iowans typically met for two hours with their neighbors, snacked on cookies or cake, and debated the issues and the candidates. More than 800 journalists, many of them on campaign buses or a caravan of satellite trucks, spread the news to a global audience.

In the hours before the evening caucuses, the candidates made one final dash across the state.

Gore, whose campaign was widely portrayed as being in disarray just a few months ago, held a consistent lead in the polls during the last several weeks. But he headed into caucus day insisting he was taking nothing for granted.

''I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched,'' he said yesterday morning in Davenport, where he shook hands with diners and ate fried chicken at the Iowa Machine Shed, a restaurant known for its pork.

In Cedar Rapids, Gore paid his third visit of his presidential campaign to George Washington Senior High, where he showed off his pair of new boots, decried cynicism in American politics, and challenged students to get involved. ''If you don't like the candidates who are running, run yourself,'' he said at one point.

Bradley spent the day looking as much toward New Hampshire as he did the caucuses. In his only campaign stop of the day, Bradley appeared at Iowa State University in Ames, with two of his top supporters, Senators Bob Kerrey of Nebraska and Paul D. Wellstone of Minnesota.

After struggling for several days to regain his stride amid the fallout from his disclosure last week that he had suffered four abnormal heart rhythms since he sought medical care for an irregularity in December, Bradley appeared reinvigorated.

He reaffirmed his belief that his showing in the caucuses would ''surprise some people,'' though he clearly had begun to focus on the next battle, in New Hampshire.

Bush, sounding tired but optimistic in light of his popularity in the polls, spent the day campaigning near Des Moines, driving to a restaurant for coffee in the morning before giving speeches in Ames and Perry.

In a speech at Iowa State University in Ames, he said the Iowa caucuses were not just ''the beginning of the decision of who ought to carry our message.''

''It's also the beginning of the end of the Clinton era in Washington, D.C.,'' Bush said, drawing enormous applause.

Forbes spent much of the day conducting more than 20 local radio and television interviews, as his campaign aides anticipated a strong showing that could give him momentum in New Hampshire, separate him from the crowded bottom of the Republican pack, and establish him as the conservative alternative to the more moderate Bush and McCain.

With his campaign manager predicting a showing in the ''mid-20s,'' the millionaire publisher also sought votes during a stop at Scruffy's Pizza&Deli in Des Moines.

On a street corner outside the restaurant Forbes told said he expected a strong showing last night, but boasted that he has already influenced the GOP debate. Forbes said his 17 percent flat-tax proposal had forced Bush to offer a bigger tax cut than planned.

''You never would have seen even the tax proposal he put on the table had it not been for my being in the race and hammering on the issue,'' Forbes said.

Keyes spent most of the morning doing what he is best known for - talking on the radio at one local station after another. He was scheduled to do it again later last night, this time on national TV, after stopping at several caucuses for a last push before the vote. Bauer hoped that his campaign organization, heavily based on church leaders, would result in a heavy turnout.

Last night's caucuses brought an end to a long, preliminary campaign in Iowa that began three years ago.

At one time, there were as many as a dozen candidates for the Republican nomination. The results of the 1996 presidential election had barely been tabulated when Lamar Alexander, who finished third in the last Iowa caucus, returned to the state to recruit several prominent Republicans and set up shop again. Other candidates made early exploratory visits.

But an elaborate straw poll conducted by the Iowa Republican Party last summer effectively chased half of the hopefuls from the race six months before the first formal votes could be cast.

Bolstered by a bulging bank account and the support of much of the party establishment, Bush took charge at the midsummer event. He won 30 percent of the 24,500 straw ballots, finishing well ahead of Forbes, who used his own personal wealth to finance an operation that wound up with 20 percent of the votes at the Ames gathering.

Daunted by Bush's strength and their own lack of money, a number of candidates quickly dropped out. Alexander, Representative John Kasich of Ohio, former vice president Dan Quayle, and Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire left the race. In the fall, Patrick Buchanan quit the GOP to pursue the Reform Party nomination. Elizabeth Dole eventually gave up her ambitions and endorsed Bush earlier this month.

Only Hatch, a candidate with more government experience than any of his rivals, seemed strangely detached from the debate among Christian conservatives. With defeat closing in on him, the Mormon senator from Utah had a mournful complaint.

''There are some in the Christian community who do not believe Mormons are Christians,'' he said. ''The name of my church is Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, so how in the world can that not be Christian?''

The following Globe reporters, traveling with candidates, contributed: Tina Cassidy, Ann Scales, Anne Kornblut, Bob Hohler, Lynda Gorov and Michael Crowley.