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National Democrats reconsider Iowa's status as first state for caucuses

Scott Brennan, the only Iowan on the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, is concerned about Iowa's placement for the 2024 season after Saturday's meeting.

IOWA, USA — Iowa's future as the first state to hold presidential caucuses is at stake after a Democratic National Committee (DNC) meeting Saturday.

Scott Brennan is the only Iowan on the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, and he recognizes there's a lot of work to do to hold the state's place.

As some committee members expressed skepticism over whether Iowa should remain first in the nation, Brennan believes changing the schedule would get rid of retail politics, which have a history of making strong candidates.

"That's the beauty of Iowa... Barrack Obama was able to come to Iowa. The little known senator from Illinois and ultimately become the nominee," Brennan said.

Brennan also referenced Pete Buttigieg's strong showing in the state in 2020. 

"He was a little known Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. So, folks like that have chances to really shine," Brennan said. "If Iowa is not first in the process, I think that goes away."

He said if Iowa loses its spot, presidential politics become about money. He fears the attention will move to the big states and the already-known candidates. 

Iowa Democratic Party chair Ross Wilburn, echoed those concerns in a statement to Local 5 which read:

"I was concerned by some of the comments made at Saturday’s DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting and disappointed that the unique nature and nuances of the Iowa Caucus were not given adequate attention in the conversations. It’s clear we have some work to do to educate the [Rules and Bylaws Committee] about the many compelling reasons Iowa should remain first."

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Iowa State University political science professor Karen Kedrowski said there are two main reasons some democrats are opposed to retaining Iowa's first-in-the-nation status and the caucus system more generally.

"There is concern that caucuses, by their nature, they need to be a certain time of the day for several hours," Kedrowski said. "In the evening, it requires people to leave their homes and what might be cold and nasty weather."

She said this leads to concerns that the process is exclusionary.

"Another concern is that Iowa as a state is not as diverse as the nation," Kedrowski said.

RELATED: Iowa Democrats propose $300 million increase in funding for public schools

Saturday's meeting was not the deciding factor for the fate of Iowa's caucus position. The DNC will hold another meeting in March, followed by monthly meetings until their convention in August.

Once the committee sets the caucus schedule, the full DNC can either adopt or reject it.

The Republican Party of Iowa released the following statement:

"Chairman Kaufmann has been working with leaders from across the country on keeping Iowa first in the nation. He continues to stand arm-in-arm with Iowa Democrats and Chairman Ross Wilburn to preserve our caucus status. The Iowa Caucuses are a long standing tradition that ensures anyone in this country can be president. It will take all of us working together to protect them.” 

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