Seventeen Iowa Republicans have agreed to serve on a task force that will consider improvements in the way the Iowa GOP conducts its caucuses. (See the list of 17 task force members here.)
The results of the 2012 Iowa Republican Party Caucuses were muddled when, on Caucus Night, Mitt Romney was declared the winner by eight votes, but Rick Santorum later was determined to be the winner by 34 votes when the “certified” results were announced on January 19.
Bill Schickel, the party’s co-chairman, will lead the task force.
“We plan to conduct a full audit and review of the Iowa Caucuses,” Schickel says. “The goal is to ensure that the Iowa Caucuses are the most open, transparent and honest testing ground for presidential candidates.”
Schickel says the state party already had a “very good system” in place, but improvements can always be made.
“We had fast reporting on Caucus night. We were very well organized within the precincts,” Schickel says. “But we had some problems as well and our plan is to fix those things that went wrong and promote those things that went right.”
Eight precincts failed to submit the proper documents to state party headquarters to “certify” Caucus night results in those precincts. Just over 121,500 people turned out for the Iowa GOP’s Caucuses on January 3, 2012, far surpassing turn-out in all but one other state that has held presidential caucuses this year. Officials estimate 125,000 people participated in Utah’s Caucuses last week. The results from this past Saturday’s caucuses in Missouri have not been announced.
Schickel says the Iowa GOP’s task force also will consult with top officials in the Iowa Democratic Party to compare notes on the conduct of the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
“The Caucuses, obviously, are important not just to Republicans, but to all Iowans,” Schickel says.
Democrats held Caucuses on January 3, but there was little drama as President Obama is seeking reelection and no Democrat emerged to challenge him. Schickel is a former state legislator who is also the former mayor of Mason City. In February Schickel ran for the job of party chairman, but lost to a Story County Republican A.J. Spiker who had worked on Ron Paul’s 2012 Iowa campaign.