Mar 29, 2022 - Politics

Iowa's caucus future gets murkier

Axios illustration of a donkey atop a weathervane
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Members of the Democratic National Committee voiced support Monday for 2024 presidential nominating procedures under review that could dislodge Iowa from its five-decades status as the caucus starting point.

Why it matters: The road to the presidency may be rerouted. The drafted criteria would put Iowa's financial advantage and political influence in jeopardy.

Driving the news: The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee met for the first time Monday since the draft was circulated last week.

State of play: Under the proposal, the party would set the 2024 presidential nominating calendar based on factors such as diversity, competitiveness in the general election and the ability to administer a fair process.

  • The outcome is months away, but members made clear Monday that changes are in sight to better represent voters and improve the party's chances of winning.

What they're saying: RBC member Leah Daughtry, the former CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said that changing electorate necessitates the review because Democrats "cannot be stuck in a 50-year-old calendar" when trying to win modern elections.

Yes, but: The goal must be to produce the strongest presidential nominee, Scott Brennan, a former Iowa Democratic Party chairperson and RBC member said in Monday's meeting.

  • The proposal could front-load the process with larger states and create a gate that only well-established candidates could pass, warned RBC member David McDonald, of Washington state.

The other side: Iowa Republicans are backing state Democrats in their caucus retention efforts.

  • Iowa GOP chairperson Jeff Kaufmann told Fox News last week that if the DNC "gives up on Iowa, this is literally the middle finger at rural America."

What's next: The RBC is expected to vote on the proposal at its next meeting in mid-April.

  • If approved, states that wish to go first in the presidential nominating process will present to the committee.
  • The full DNC would likely make a calendar determination in August or September.

Of note: Former Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price told Axios last year that Iowa's first-caucus status was a target for those who have wanted to butt ahead in the process long before the state's botched 2020 event.

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