Iowa Democrats and Republicans will kick off the 2014 election season tonight with hundreds of precinct caucuses statewide. With Congress on recess this week for the Martin Luther King Junior holiday, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he’ll be joining the Republican throng in Cedar Rapids. “I’m going to be in Linn County tonight to speak but obviously, I’m not a resident of Linn County so I won’t be voting in that caucus,” Grassley says. “My own caucus, here in Butler County, I won’t be able to go to because it’ll be over by the time I get back to the farm.”
Grassley says he looks at this evening’s caucuses as an opportunity to zero in on a unified message at all levels of government. Grassley says, “I will be participating in a way of trying to tell people what I’m going to do, to help get a Republican majority in the state senate, to hopefully get more Republican congressmen elected, a Republican colleague for myself and then the governor to be reelected.”
Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, is seeking his sixth term as Iowa’s top elected leader and Grassley says he’ll support Branstad. “I think the governor’s in pretty good shape but you can’t take anything for granted,” Grassley says. “It’ll be a case of the senior senator trying to tell the people how important this coming election is.”
Caucus turnout is expected to be light as this is not a presidential election year and bitter cold is in the forecast, with lows statewide tonight likely in the single digits and teens. Still, Grassley says he expects enthusiastic participation, whatever the wind chill. “The governor as leader of the state has worked real hard over the last six months to raise interest in the caucuses,” Grassley says. “You can’t believe the amount of mailings that have come out from him and other leaders of the party on the importance of the caucuses.”
Both parties start caucus events at 7 o’clock tonight.