Just three days before the national spotlight reaches full intensity, Iowa’s Democratic and Republican Party chairs sit down with River to River host Ben Kieffer to discuss the unique process of each party’s caucus, their turnout expectations, and their take on the surprise populist candidates on each side.
Jeff Kaufmann, Chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, says he expects turnout to exceed that of 2012, when around 120,000 Iowans voted in the Republican caucuses.
“I would be very surprised if we did not break that watermark of 120,000,” he says, listing several factors that could influence attendance. “One is the weather, of course. It’s going to take some pretty significant weather to be a deterrent, a major ice storm or something like that.”
Kaufmann also mentions the idea that supporters of Donald Trump may bring new voters to the Republican side.
“Will those voters actually show up at 7 o’clock on that Monday night to vote? You might think that’s a guaranteed yes, but there’s a big difference between showing passion, talking about passion, even calling up the party headquarters and getting directions … and actually showing up.”
On the other side, Dr. Andy McGuire, Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, comments on how the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders has invigorated the process and created healthy competition within the party.
“A lot of people thought we wouldn’t have a competitive caucus,” she says. “I have always said it would be competitive, and it certainly is. That helps drive turnout that helps drive our message, and so I’m just really excited about this kind of energy in our party.”
For more caucus coverage including analysis, interviews, and candidate speeches, visit Iowa Public Radio’s caucus site.