Greetings From Caucus Land!

Ford. Carter. Reagan. Bush. Clinton. Bush. Obama. Trump. Sound familiar? These presidents have taken office since Iowa became first in the presidential nominating process. Not all of these presidents came in first in the Iowa caucuses, but how they performed in Iowa in many cases helped propel them into the Oval Office. Tsongas. Keyes. Clark. Bradley. Babbitt. Hatch. Alexander. Any of those names ring a bell? They ran for president too, but they didn’t cut it in Iowa, and many of them dropped out in the wake of the caucuses.

The Iowa caucuses can make or break a candidate’s campaign. It’s an important responsibility, and Iowans take it seriously. From diners to coffee shops, living rooms to the state fair, candidates crisscross Iowa for a year trying to convince voters they should be the next President of the United States. Iowans get to bring their issues directly to the candidates; how presidential hopefuls respond to their hopes and fears could determine whether they get to New Hampshire, or they go home. The candidates listen and respond. Then, Iowans caucus – and what an experience it is!

Since the first candidate dropped into Iowa in January, Iowa Public Radio reporters have been gathering information, stories and context, and we’re ready to share our knowledge and insights with you. Join IPR hosts Clay Masters and Kate Payne to get a view into Iowa – into Caucus Land – and learn about the importance of the Iowa Caucuses, how they define a candidate’s campaign in other states and how Iowans shape the national political conversation.

So who will it be? Biden? Booker? Buttigieg? Gabbard? Gillibrand? Harris? Klobuchar? O’Rourke? Sanders? Warren? Someone else? 2020 starts here – whether you live in Iowa or want an insiders’ view into the candidates soon headed your way, subscribe to Caucus Land today!

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Caucus Land is sponsored by Cornell College and Gravitate Coworking.

The Iowa caucuses are not known to be particularly inclusive or diverse. But in the 2008 cycle, the state became the jumping off point for a candidate who would become the nation’s first black president. On the second episode of Caucus Land, Barack Obama’s road to the White House.


Presidential candidates are seemingly everywhere in Iowa: showing up at picnics, union halls and coffee shops, even running in to each other at the farmer's market. Skipping out on the state that's the first to weigh in on the presidential primary process has become politically unthinkable. But that wasn't always the case. In the first episode of Caucus Land, we're going back to the 1960s to see how it all got started.

Iowa Public Radio

Every four years, national media outlets converge on Iowa to follow politicians as they adventure through the state ahead of the Iowa caucuses. 

Candidates and their handlers drop into diners, coffee shops, Casey's General Stores, and Pizza Ranches as they shake hands and meet caucus-goers. Wannabe presidential hopefuls can be seen eating food on a stick and sipping beer at the Iowa State Fair, turning their visits to Iowa into a competition for votes, a contest in Caucus Land.

Welcome to Caucus Land! As the first in the nation voting state, Iowa is where all presidential candidates begin - and many end - their campaign to the White House. Join IPR reporters Clay Masters and Kate Payne as they delve into Iowa's role in shaping the nominating field - from Iowa's caucus history to the candidates, the moments and people that shape the 2020 presidential cycle.