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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.

Go deeper

Updated Feb 18, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on post-election recovery in Des Moines

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Axios hosted a conversation on the impact of local stimulus in Des Moines and the fallout of the 2020 Iowa caucuses, featuring Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Iowa Democratic Party chair and state Rep. Ross Wilburn.

Sen. Chuck Grassley discussed the Iowa caucuses in advance of the 2024 election, as well as the economic stimulus following the pandemic.

  • His response to some House members' calls to have a more diverse state caucus come first in the 2024 election: "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."
  • On wanting a more focused COVID-19 stimulus package: "We should target any checks that go out from the federal government to people like we have done twice already... that really have need."

Rep. Ross Wilburn similarly discussed Iowa's place in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, as well decisions in the Iowa state legislature around the allocation of economic recovery funds.

  • On his view of why it's important for Iowa to be the first state to caucus: "Iowa plays a critical piece in terms of preparing our Democratic candidates for the national stage."
  • On focusing on small businesses in economic recovery: One of the things that we're trying to do in the House is to get access to a business recovery grant program that we're going to invest funds into, I believe, 5,000 small businesses."

Axios Vice President Mia Vallo hosted a View from the Top segment with East Village Spa owner Cassie Sampson and discussed how the small business community in Des Moines has come together in a period of crisis.

  • "I think the most important thing for me with the small business community here is to stay in touch with each other...So really reach out, lift each other up. We need each other and share ideas."

Thank you Facebook for sponsoring this event.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.