DES MOINES, Iowa — Call Scott Brennan both an optimist and a realist. Brennan–a West Des Moines attorney and former Iowa Democratic Party Chairman–is a representative on the Democratic National Committee. He might feel more pressure than any other Iowan right now about whether the state’s caucuses will continue the first-in-the-nation privilege of beginning the presidential nominating process like it has since 1972. Brennan been making the case to Democratic representatives from other states that a new and improved version of the caucuses should go first in 2024.
Iowa Democrats acknowledged major changes should occur in the caucus format following problems in 2020, which delayed the reporting of final results, as well as calls from other states’ leaders to scrap the caucus format and also look for states with a more diverse population.
“Tired, tired of going to D.C.,” Brennan joked in his Des Moines office on Monday, “I have some optimism left.”
Brennan feels like the party has put together suggestions for substantial improvements to its 2024 caucuses, including letting participants make their selection by mail before caucus night and eliminating the complicated process of allowing participants to make a second or third choice if their candidate fails to earn at least 15% support in their caucus precinct. “We made a really good case,” Brennan said of the party’s presentation to DNC members over the past month.
That’s the optimistic part. The side of him that’s a realist, though, knows many DNC members want changes. He expects the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee (Brennan is a on this committee) to meet on August 5th and 6th. “My feeling is that August 5th and 6th, we are going to have very direct discussions of what the calendar looks like.”
And he feels like changes will happen when it comes to the presidential nominating calendar for Democrats in 2024. “I think if we walk away in August and there’s absolutely no changes to the process, people will absolutely lose their mind!”
Iowa faces competition from 17 others states and Puerto Rico for one of four or five waivers from the DNC to hold a state’s contest before Super Tuesday. Iowa’s stiffest competition could come from states including Michigan, Georgia, Nevada and Minnesota.
Brennan said the DNC could add a meeting later this month–likely remotely, rather than in person–for further discussion on the nominating calendar, delegate selection process and national convention. But he doesn’t expect a final decision on Iowa’s 2024 standing at this meeting.