DES MOINES, IA — On Thursday morning, leaders of the Iowa Democratic party made their pitch to keep the first in the nation spot in the caucuses.
Iowa Democrats laid out why the state should keep its status: they have been first in the nation since 1972, there is a great mix of urban and rural areas and they proposed a couple of new ways to report results to prevent the shortcomings of the application used in 2020 from happening again.
“We still are in the best position to be first in the nation caucus, and that is our case,” said Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, (D) from Windsor Heights. “By talking about how we have evolved, why we are the best test for presidential candidates who need to learn how to organize, who need to learn how to do retail politics, and how important it is for Democrats to continue to fight in states like Iowa, instead of walking away.”
While the party is confident about its history in running the first in the nation caucus, there are some political experts in the state who think that their time is up.
“This is a guesstimate, but it is relatively informed. I think that Iowa has a close to zero chance being first in the nation. I think that is over and done,” said Dr. Mack Shelly, a political science professor at Iowa State University. Dr. Shelly has participated in both party caucuses over the last couple of decades.
Recent years have shined a light on several issues. As previously mentioned, the Iowa Democrat caucus caught the national spotlight in 2020 when an error in the reporting application delayed results for a week.
Iowa has traditionally been a “purple” state, or not leaning towards one party every election. But in recent years, the state has been leaning red from the federal to the state level. The chair of Iowa State’s Political Science Department said that this change could impact the National Democratic Committee’s decision.
“Another thing that the DNC has been insistent on is the states that go at the top of the list would have to be competitive. In which, the Democratic presidential candidate could actually win,” said Dr. Shelly. “Well Obama carried Iowa twice, so you can check that box, but that was a while ago and more recently the state has become more red one could argue.”
Dr. Shelly did say that where Iowa Democrats have the best shot at being the first caucus is when it comes to rural areas. He said other states can make the pitch of having a mix of rural and urban communities, but when it comes to the rural side specifically Iowa would beat most.
The DNC’s decision on who will be first in the nation for the 2024 presidential election will be announced in August.