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Future of Iowa's caucus could change depending on upcoming Democrat decision

The future of Iowa's caucus status is still up in the air. Local 5 talked to both sides of the aisle about why this could make the nominating season even longer.

DES MOINES COUNTY, Iowa — "The question, of course, is what's going to happen to the Democrats," said Tim Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa. 

Starting Dec.1, the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet to vote on a new nominating calendar which could strip Iowa of its first-in-the-nation title.

According to Hagle, that presents two options: keep Iowa's first-in-the-nation status, or allow another midwestern state to take the title Iowa's held since 1972. 

"If Iowa is no longer first, then there's a question about what the Democrats are going to do in terms of either holding a caucus or some other alternative," Hagle said. "And we just don't know. And the reason we don't know is because we aren't sure what the Democrats are going to do." 

Local 5 reached out to the Iowa Democratic Party about the upcoming decision. They responded with a statement in which Chair Ross Wilburn said it's important Iowa voters have proper national representation while picking candidates. 

The statement reads in part: 

"Small rural states like Iowa must have a voice in our presidential nominating process. In fact, it is more clear than ever that dc democrats cannot forget about entire groups of voters in the heart of the Midwest without doing significant damage to the party for a generation."

Hagle said Iowa's position as first in the nation has helped Democrats in the past. 

And, despite claims of Iowa not being diverse enough to go first, the first in the nation status was a large reason for the victory of the nations first Black president, Democrat Barack Obama. 

"One of the knocks on Iowa is that it's insufficiently diverse, it's too white, basically," Hagle said. "But on the other hand, we're also a state that's picked Barack Obama as the nominee. And Hillary Clinton was the nominee."

No matter what Democrats decide in upcoming days, Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party said that Republican's have their decision set in stone.

"I will do whatever it takes, in order for Iowa Republicans to go first. It makes it a little simpler, for me. I've already established our calendar through the Republican side," Kaufmann said. 

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