The Iowa Caucuses provide a boost for many businesses every four years as presidential candidates and media members flock to the state. One Des Moines restaurant, Centro, has reported a 10% increase in revenue during caucus years.
Chris Diebel is marketing director for Orchestrate Hospitality, which runs about a dozen restaurants and hotels in central Iowa. “The caucuses have a great impact on our businesses, specifically in the downtown (Des Moines) restaurant core,” Diebel said.
“This is a huge spot for people coming in, not only for the press covering the Caucuses, but also for star gazers who want to see the press.”
Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson doesn’t believe this election cycle will pack the same punch as 2008 since only one party’s nomination is in play. He said the spending around the competitive 2008 caucuses added up to just about 1/100th of the state’s GDP — or about 230 jobs.
“It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t drive our economy,” Swenson said. “But what it does do is provide a lot of exposure for the state of Iowa. To a certain degree, it covers our issues that people think are important.” That’s why many candidates make promises to support federal policies that benefit agriculture. Dave Miller is with the Iowa Farm Bureau.
“We care a lot about biofuels policy. The Caucuses allow us an opportunity to have interaction and debate with regard to that type of policy,” Miller said. According to Miller, favorable federal policies have helped grow Iowa’s agriculture sector at a time when other sectors of the economy are struggling.