Iowa gears up for this week's caucus calendar fight
The fate of Iowa's first-in-the-nation Democratic caucuses hinges largely on a vote this week from a panel of the national party.
- Some of its members have voiced support in upending its calendar system.
Why it matters: Iowa's 50-year reign of going first — a significant influence in the presidential nominating process — may come to an end.
- State delegates told Axios they will argue that the change would harm both Iowa and the national party.
Catch up fast: Iowa's role as a presidential testing ground began as "an accident of history" thanks to state legislation that set a May deadline for them.
- Decades of challenges questioning whether Iowa is representative of the nation heightened after the 2020 caucuses when technological glitches and internet trolls delayed results for days.
State of play: The Democratic National Committee (DNC) in March circulated a proposal that would set the 2024 nominating calendar based on factors that would likely exclude Iowa, the Washington Post reported.
- Diversity, competitiveness in the general election and the ability to administer a fair process are the criteria.
- The DNC delayed calendar decisions expected last summer to focus on midterm elections, Politico reported.
Of note: Democrats this month lost all of Iowa Congressional seats and all but one statewide office.
- The losses include longtime Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.
What's happening: The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meets this week in Washington, D.C.
- The full DNC is expected to finalize calendar decisions in early 2023.
What they're saying: A specific proposal and the committee's process to decide caucus calendar recommendations remains "wildly unclear," Scott Brennan, a former Iowa Party Chairman and a member of the panel told Axios Sunday.
- This month's election losses are not favorable to Iowa's caucus pitch, Brennan said.
The other side: Republicans have already made Iowa first in the 2024 process, where campaigning for president is already underway.
- Democrats would be at a disadvantage if Iowa’s role is minimized, state Democratic Chairperson Ross Wilburn told Axios last week
The intrigue: Republicans will hold their Iowa caucus as early as Halloween 2023 if the DNC pushes another caucus ahead of Iowa's, state party chairperson Jeff Kaufmann told NBC News this month.
- "I'm telling you right now, they don't want to play chicken with me," warned Kaufmann, the head of a national GOP committee that oversees its presidential calendar.
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