The 2020 Iowa Caucuses are 399 days away, but the leaders of Iowa’s two major political parties say it’s already “Caucus season” in Iowa.
The next Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for February 3, 2020, but a couple of dozen potential Democratic presidential candidates and two declared candidates have made their way through Iowa already. On the Republican side, Donald Trump has held three campaign-style rallies here since he was elected president in 2016.
The priority for the party leaders who are hosting the 2020 Caucuses? Make sure the voting goes smoothly on both sides.
“This is the one, strong bipartisan part of the job that, quite frankly, I rather enjoy,” says Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann.
Kaufmann was the party’s chairman during the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. That’s when Microsoft developed the reporting system for Caucus results from both parties. Troy Price has been the Iowa Democratic Party’s chairman since July of 2017 and he was just reelected to another two-year term in the job.
“Whatever system we end up using, we always do a lot of testing around it and we always have back-ups in case it doesn’t work,” Price says.
The Iowa Caucuses are party events, so the two parties have to raise money privately for all the expenses. Iowa Democrats will have new expenses this time around, as national party leaders have imposed new requirements, like allowing absentee participation.
‘As well as some of the other mandates, too, in terms of like making sure we can re-canvas, recreate what happened on Caucus Night, so we know there is going to be additional expense,” Price says. “We just don’t know the final tally of that, but we are planning it’s going to cost more than what it has in the past and we are prepared to raise the resources to make sure we run a caucus that’s going to be accessible to everyone.”
In 2019, Iowa Democrats will host their presidential candidates at two annual party fundraisers — one in the summer and one in the fall. Kaufmann says the Iowa GOP’s leadership hasn’t yet decided when Republican party fundraisers will be held in 2019.
“I will tell you that I’m not going to provide a platform by which people, on our dime, can beat up on our Republican president,” Kaufmann says.
He says “legitimate” Republican challengers to Trump may emerge in 2019 and Kaufmann says they’ll be welcome at GOP events if they avoid “mud-slinging” and focus on their policy differences with the president.