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Iowa Democratic Party sends letter of intent to DNC to keep state's caucus as first in the nation

Wednesday's letter begins the formal process of Iowa Democrats' fight to remain first in the nation.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Democrats' first in the nation caucus status is at stake this year. The Democratic National Committee opened up the presidential nominating calendar and asked states to apply to make their case for why they should go first. 

The Iowa Democratic Party sent a letter of intent to the DNC Wednesday to begin the state's formal application process and its fight to remain first in the nation. 

The new criteria for selecting early states could make it difficult for Iowa to win. Priority is placed on diversity, competitiveness and feasibility — whether the event can be pulled off seamlessly.

"We will demonstrate that Iowa can and will meet the diversity, competitiveness, and feasibility criteria," the letter reads.

Iowa is more than 90% white and hasn't been competitive for Democrats in recent years. The feasibility of its caucus process also has been called into question since the 2020 Democratic caucus ended in chaos, with no winner declared on caucus night because of problems tabulating results.

"We've got a lot of work to do ahead of us in the next few weeks," said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn. "But I'm going to fight like hell for Iowa. And I'm going to look forward to making our case before the rules and bylaws committee." 

In June, the IDP will submit its formal application to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Toward the end of June, Iowa will present its case to the committee. 

"In our letter, we make the point that the four current pre-window states were very intentionally chosen back in 2007," said Scott Brennan, Iowa's member on the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. "To be taken together as representing geographic racial and ethnic diversity, as well as ease of retail politics. But at the same time, we recognize the changes must be made in order to make the caucuses more straightforward and accessible. And we indicated in the letter that we are willing to make significant procedural changes as well as expand ways to participate."

Republicans, who control the Legislature and most statewide offices in Iowa, have already committed to allowing the state's caucus to remain first in their presidential contest.

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann issued a statement in support of Iowa staying first in the nation on the Democrat side:

"I have done it before and I will reiterate again, the Republican Party of Iowa stands arm and arm with the Iowa Democratic Party to save their first in the nation status. America is stronger when Iowa goes first and together. It's time for all Iowans to stand up and fight for our status."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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