Feb 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Iowa lawmakers say they'll "do whatever it takes" to stay first-in-nation caucus

Lawmakers who represent Iowa are already making the case to keep the state's first-in-the-nation caucus status ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Why it matters: The renewed examination of Iowa's early status stems from Democratic party members' calls to have a more diverse state caucus ahead of the state — given the make up of the party electorate — and after a disastrous Democratic caucus in 2020.

What he's saying: "Iowa will be first in the nation with the caucus, and I assure you that that's going to be the case because both the Democratic Party of Iowa and the Republican Party of Iowa want it there," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) said at an Axios event Thursday.

State lawmakers trumpeted Iowa as having a "critical" role in the presidential nomination process.

  • "Iowa plays a critical piece in terms of preparing our Democratic candidates for the national stage," State Representative Ross Wilburn, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, also said at an Axios event on Thursday.
  • "We are prepared to do whatever it takes to retain first in the nation status."

Background: Grassley and Wilburn's comments come after the former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez told The New York Times a diverse state needs to lead the nominating process and maintaining Iowa's status because it's been the status quo is "clearly unacceptable."

  • "The world has changed a lot since 1972 to 2020 and 2024," Perez told Times. "And so the notion that we need to do it because this is how we’ve always done it is a woefully insufficient justification for going first again."

Troy Price, Iowa's former Democratic Party chairman, rebutted Perez claims during an interview with Axios claiming the state's first-in-the-nation status has long been a target.

  • “Everything could have gone swimmingly in the 2020 caucuses and we’d still be having this fight," Price said.

Of note: Wilburn told Axios DNC Chair Jamie Harrison said committees aren't discussing the next presidential selection process until late summer, early fall.

Watch the full event here.

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