The chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa says his “number one priority, long term” is keeping Iowa’s Caucuses first-in-the-nation. Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann says the party’s leadership committee will likely meet in September to consider plans for the 2016 Iowa Republican Party Caucuses.
“Certainly we have been having these conversations within the Republican Party and we will continue to do that,” Kaufmann says.
Iowa Democrats this morning announced some ideas for expanding participation in their precinct Caucuses in 2016, but Kaufmann says he’s not ready to give a “thumbs up or thumbs down” to those ideas.
“Of course this is also in the context of New Hampshire and other states that also are looking at what we’re doing, so I’m not going to comment specifically on that proposal,” Kaufmann says.
Kaufmann, a former state legislator, was elected Iowa GOP chairman on June 28 and he had a “long (phone) conversation” on Thursday with the Iowa Democratic Party’s chairman.
“Both of us are very, very adamant about Iowa remaining first-in-the-nation in our caucus system and not doing anything that would jeopardize that,” Kaufmann says. “…Of course, the proof’s in the pudding, but you will find both of us setting aside partisan politics to maintain that goal and that objective.”
Kaufmann and Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan will meet face-to-face in August. Brennan has been in DC today, telling the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee about the Iowa Democratic Party’s ideas for expanding caucus participation. Kaufmann will attend a Republican National Committee meeting next week, but he says the Iowa GOP does not have a proposal to present national party leaders about the caucuses. That will come later.
“It is the number one priority of the Republican Party of Iowa to have as near of a flawless process as possible and to look at any way we can do to strengthen it without — underline that 20 times — without moving towards a primary system that would put our first-in-the-nation status in jeopardy,” Kaufmann says.
Iowa’s two major political parties have held the kick-off event of the presidential nominating season for the past four decades because it is a caucus. New Hampshire holds the nation’s first presidential primary.