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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the Iowa Caucuses

Well, it’s finally here. After months of polls, sniping criticism among contenders, thousands of stops in all of the Hawkeye State’s 99 counties, three town halls on Fox News, and one final debate, Iowa Republicans will put the first numbers on the board in the 2024 presidential primary on Monday night.

As Iowa proudly continues its tradition of kicking off the nominating process that will culminate in July’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, the result of Monday’s caucuses is expected to again have a significant effect on the rest of the 2024 cycle — and already served a winnowing effect on the GOP field before a single caucus site opened its doors.

Despite participating in debates earlier in the cycle, former Vice President Mike Pence, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, U.S. Senator Tim Scott, and former Governor Chris Christie are no longer competing, leaving former Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former President Donald Trump, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy fighting each other and the worst of Iowa winter — Monday is set to be the coldest caucus on record with below-zero windchills — to prevail.

The Republican caucuses set to take place on Monday evening are essentially an in-person-only, local primary. Only registered Republicans can participate in the caucuses taking place at more than 1,600 schools, churches, community centers, American Legion halls, and small businesses in each precinct across the state.

Doors at caucus locations will begin opening as early as 5:00 p.m. CT, and the caucuses themselves will get underway at 7:00 p.m. CT. The term “caucus” is believed to be Algonquin in origin and was used to describe “a gathering of the ruling tribal chiefs,” according to the Republican Party of Iowa.

To participate in their local caucus, an Iowan must be at least 18 years old by Election Day 2024 and registered as a Republican. Unregistered voters or registered Democrats can participate if they’re otherwise eligible and register as a Republican at their caucus location by providing the required ID and proof of address.

After any party business is handled at the caucuses, representatives for the presidential campaigns have a chance to make a brief pitch for why their candidate is the one to pick. The candidates themselves will attend some of the larger caucus locations and make their final case to Iowa Republicans while cameras roll to capture any reaction — positive or negative — to the candidates, making their choice of location a key decision to perceptions on caucus night.

Once candidate pitches have been made, voters at each location write down the name of their preferred candidate on a slip of paper. Once the secret ballots are collected and hand-counted by local GOP officials at each caucus, the final tally is reported to the Republican Party of Iowa and then made public.

In Iowa, 40 RNC delegates are up for grabs this cycle and will be allocated proportionally based on Monday’s result. The more votes a candidate gets on those slips of paper, the more delegates they’ll have at July’s convention.

According to the RealClearPolitics polling average for Iowa covering January 1 to January 14, former President Donald Trump leads with 52.8 percent, 33.6 percent more than second-place Nikki Haley who has 19.2 percent. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is in third place with 15.4 percent, followed by Vivek Ramaswamy with 6.8 percent.

Election watchers are anticipating — based on a range of factors including frigid weather and Trump’s significant lead — fewer Republicans will participate in Monday’s caucuses compared to the 2016 Republican caucuses in which some 185,000 Republican voters turned out.

The last Democrat caucuses in 2020 were a mess, with no clear winner being crowned due to issues with data reporting and vote counting by the state party. Both Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders claimed the win, but neither could turn the claimed momentum into a nomination. In 2024, due to the DNC’s mucking about with its primary schedule while refusing to entertain a challenger to Biden, conducted its “caucus” by mail. The results of the Democrat vote will be announced on Super Tuesday, March 5.

While there’s plenty of activity and money poured into Iowa, the caucuses have not proven to be a great predictor of presidential victories. As of the last presidential cycle, roughly 55 percent of caucus winners clinched their party’s nomination and less than 17 percent of caucus winners ended up winning in the general election.

Before then, however, all eyes will turn to New Hampshire where the first-in-the-nation primary will be held on January 23.

READ 1 COMMENT
  • Tamirose170 says:

    I participated in the NV caucus for the first time in my lifetime, in 2008 after we moved there Jan 2007. What an absolute chaotic experience. Obama & Hillary had Headquarters, of course, down on the Las Vegas Strip as that is where all the Union Hospitality workers are 24/7. Hillary won for the Dems at 50% over Obama at 45% even with his organization ACORN blatantly cheating.

    To think 16 yrs have gone by and yet the fraud and cheating has only gotten worse – how tragic.

    The GOP candidates were Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and John McCain.

    The GOP caucus apparently ran out of paper and they were taking any name written on any scrap of paper that people had in their wallet, their pocket, the back of gas receipt, etc. It was utter mayhem then. I can remember over-hearing people talking among themselves as to where they had already “voted” and where they were going next – I was shocked at how WILD and carefree it was run.

    ACORN was paying “people” $10 per name to register voters that year. Finally a massive investigation was held and ACORN was disbanded and you can “Google” it and read how that organization cheated for 50+ years. We knew something was amiss when the entire Dallas Cowboy Football team was signed up by a worker, amazingly in the exact order as they are listed in the NFL Football Roster. Imagine that, all of the Dallas Cowboys lived in Las Vegas and voila – they all signed up in order – LOL. THAT is how bold the fraud, cheating and grassroot organizations have destroyed the integrity of our Voting process – for 2 decades now.

    When does it change? To read “Unregistered voters or registered Democrats can participate if they’re otherwise eligible and register as a Republican at their caucus location by providing the required ID and proof of address.” up above ~ gee, what could go wrong with permitting UNregistered voters or Democrats that SWITCH teams for a month? When will we learn??

    There is only ONE candidate for 2024, one last hope to restore this Nation – – Donald J. Trump!

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