Iowa Governor Chet Culver says the state Democratic Party will not wait to see what New Hampshire does with its primary before setting a new caucus date. The state Republican Party Tuesday voted to move their caucuses up to January 3rd.
Iowa Democrats have traditionally held their caucuses on the same night as the G-O-P, but will need permission from the national Democratic Party to jump ahead. Culver says he expects to get the national party blessing soon. Culver says, "I’ve been assured that that will be the case, that Iowa will have a choice in terms of what the best date is for us." Culver says Iowa has earned that right by playing within the party rules.
Culver says linking the Democratic caucuses with the Republican caucuses has been the norm. He says historically they’ve been the same going back to 1972, so that would be the Democrat’s preference. While the parties in Iowa have cooperated in holding their events together, Culver says the national situation is different.
Culver says setting the calendar has been like no other year, in part because the national parties have separate rules, so two calendars have evolved. Culver says he expects Iowa Democrats to announce a new caucus date within a few days.
Another Iowa Democrat spoke up about the caucuses today. Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the state Republican party jumped the gun in moving up its caucus date from January 14th to January 3rd.
"Quite frankly I would have preferred that they would have been patient and allowed this process to play out," Braley says, "Because one of the things we know is that every Democratic presidential candidate, with the exception of Senator Clinton, has decided to withdrawn their name from the Michigan primary ballot." Braley says he’s been working to get Democrat candidates to stay away from the states that tried to jump ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Braley says one of the things they were hoping was that Iowa and New Hampshire would be able to exert pressure to be sure the original rules for the caucuses and primaries were followed. Braley says they still don’t know what New Hampshire is doing. Braley says moving the caucuses now is too early.
Braley says there’s still talk that New Hampshire will move its primary into December, and he says until Iowa knows what New Hampshire is going to do, it’s premature for Iowa to do anything. Braley was asked if the Iowa Democrats should move their caucuses to match the Republicans. Braley says it depends on what turns out to be the best for Iowa, but he says it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen. Braley says he’ll continue to do what he can to see that Iowa retains its first in the nation status.