One of the Democrats running for governor is urging his supporters to turn the 2006 Iowa Democratic Party Caucuses into something similar to what happened in the 2004 Caucuses. The other Democrats who’re running for governor are not encouraging their Democratic party backers to break into “candidate preference groups” which would show which candidate has the most backers at the Caucuses.

Ed Fallon, a Democrat from Des Moines who’s running for governor, says if 15 percent of the people at a Caucus want to break into candidate preference groups, the rules say it must happen. “I have trouble with the notion that they want to discourage people from doing preference groups. That’s what makes Caucuses exciting. That’s why we have, in part, such great turn-out in presidential years,” Fallon says.

Fallon says showing support for the candidate of one’s choice is the focal point of the Iowa Caucuses, and off-year Caucuses like the 2006 edition are usually “duds” because there’s no real focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates who’re running for governor. But Erin Seidler, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Democratic Party, says party officials believe it’s “premature” to break Democrats into “preference groups.” “Preference groups are allowable…and candidates are free to organize as they choose but the vast majority of Iowans are still deciding on candidates and the filing deadline for the 2006 races isn’t until March 17th,” she says.

Seidler says caucus-goers haven’t yet had “a lot of exposure” to the Democrats who’re running for governor and she says it’s “highly unlikely” caucus-goers will want to break up into preference groups. The Democratic and Republican Parties of Iowa will hold Caucuses on January 16th.