While Other Parties Ditch Their Primaries, Iowa Republicans Will Caucus

Sep 6, 2019

Several states are reportedly ditching their Republican primary next year, paving the way for the president’s re-nomination. But Iowa Republicans will still caucus this February.

Politico reported Friday that the Republican parties of South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are calling off their primaries and caucuses, due to widespread support for the President Donald Trump's re-election.

There is a history of both parties not going through with a primary contest during an incumbent's re-election, as Iowa Republicans did in 1992 for George H. W. Bush.

While many Iowa Republicans are solidly in Trump's corner,  Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann says his organization will go forward with its caucus.

“And that’s what we’re talking about, are you going to have a vote? And that’s the $100 question from the Republican side. And very early on I said we were going to have a vote. I’m guessing there’s probably some people would rather we did not," Kaufmann said. "But the reason we’re going to have a vote is because every single solitary cycle we have to be practiced.”

Trump does face challengers in Iowa, including former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh. Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford also seems to be flirting with a run but has not formally declared. 

While Kaufmann does not expect a serious threat from these challengers. He says it's good for the RPI as an organization to go through the motions of holding a caucus, expensive as it may be.

“Maybe a bigger question is why in the world Kaufmann are you spending that much money to have a caucus where we all know the results? I mean the only drama here is are there gonna be others who get any kind of votes," Kaufmann said. "And what it is, is because we’re practicing for 2024. We’re practicing for 2028.”

Part of maintaining the state’s first in the nation status, Kaufmann says, is using that status.