The 52 Iowans who are delegates to the Democratic National Convention are scheduled to hold an online meeting early this evening, their first scheduled gathering for the party’s “virtual” convention this week.
At previous conventions, the Iowa delegates would have been invited to a pre-convention party hosted by the convention city and a morning breakfast where candidates of the future might pop by, as was the case in 2016 when Cory Booker and Julian Castro spoke to the Iowa delegates in Philadelphia.
The Iowa Democratic Party’s state, district and county conventions were all virtual this spring and party chairman Mark Smith said these are the right decisions in the midst of a pandemic.
“We were able to have quorums in all 99 counties and conduct our business that way,” Smith said, “and so Democrats have been very active in this and very safe.”
In 2016, it cost nearly a thousand dollars a night to stay at the Iowa Delegation’s hotel for the convention in Philadelphia, forcing some delegates to hold fundraisers to pay for their travel. This year’s delegates have saved money, for sure, but Smith said the key elements of a traditional convention in a big city with big crowds may be revived in 2024.
“We don’t know what the future holds in that regard and what things will change and how we do all kinds of business,” he said during a recent appearance on Iowa PBS.
One piece of business that’s been debated in the run-up to previous conventions is the fate of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. On July 30, the DNC’s Rules Committee overwhelmingly rejected a proposal which would have required all state contests in the 2024 presidential nominating process to be government-run elections. Iowa’s Caucuses are run by the two major political parties.
Smith said in July the review of why the results for the 2020 Iowa Caucuses were delayed would be released soon, but no word on when that may occur.