Iowa caucuses' first-in-nation status at risk
Iowa is again fighting to retain its first-in-nation Democratic caucuses.
- But this year's argument is a harder sell thanks to the hiccups of 2020, longtime caucus advisor Jeff Link and former Iowa Democratic Party chairperson Scott Brennan told Axios Wednesday.
Why it matters: Hosting the first caucuses leverages political influence and is an economic boon for the state.
- The 2020 caucuses generated more than $11 million for the metro, according to estimates from Catch Des Moines.
Driving the news: National Democratic Party officials this week circulated a draft proposal that would set the 2024 nominating calendar based on factors that would likely exclude Iowa, the Washington Post reports.
- Diversity, competitiveness in the general election and the ability to administer a fair process are the criteria.
By the numbers: Iowa is the sixth-least diverse state in the nation, according to 2020 census data.
- It leans more Republican, with GOP voters holding the plurality of active voter registrations, according to data from the Iowa Secretary of State.
Flashback: Iowa's caucus status has always had a questionable legitimacy that it has successfully defended for decades.
- Iowa caucus debacles have occurred in both parties: Republicans in 2012 and Democrats in 2020, when an app failed, initial results contained errors and the winner wasn't announced until days later.
What they're saying: There's more consensus among other states this year on which ones should be in the early window, Link said.
- And, unlike Barack Obama, President Biden didn't win Iowa and has not advocated for the state to continue going first, he added.
Yes but: Don't count Iowa out just yet, warned Brennan, who represents Iowa on the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC).
- There's a strong argument that the state's long track record and first status is worth salvaging, he said.
What's next: The draft proposal is expected to be discussed during an RBC virtual meeting Monday.
Of note: Iowa's Republican caucus status appears to be safe for 2024.
- Jeff Kaufmann, who leads Iowa's GOP, chairs the party's Presidential Nominating Commission.
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