DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Republicans will keep their First in the Nation status leading off the Republican presidential nominee selection process with the Iowa Caucus.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann announced that the Republican National Committee unanimously voted to leave the process alone, including four carve-out states. Iowa leads off as the First in the Nation Caucus, followed by New Hampshire as the First in the Nation Primary, then South Carolina and Nevada.
Kaufmann was named the chair of the presidential selection committee. The proposed rules that the committee submitted were approved by the RNC rules committee on Wednesday and then the entire committee during their meeting in Memphis, Tenn., on Thursday.
“This was not a situation where we did not open up the discussion,” he explained. “We reviewed all the options from the mid-70s to the present and still came to the same conclusion that if we want geographic diversity if we want to make sure that we have the process by which all parts of the country are included, that this was the route to go.”
Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said the Iowa Caucus is a “time-honored tradition.”
“I think it showcases our great state, and it starts, I think, we think, the presidential process off right,” she said. “We truly have perfected the art of retail politics with townhall meetings where farmers and families and Main Street business owners get to drive the conversation.”
Reynolds said Iowa has an informed electorate that is engaged with the issues.
“Because of that it’s a tremendous opportunity for candidates to hone their message and hear the tough questions and to have a conversation about what is happening not only in the country today, but what their expectations are moving forward,” she explained.
Reynolds added that candidates are on a level playing field when they come to Iowa, and they can run ads without spending millions of dollars.
Kaufmann added that starting the selection process in a large state does not make sense.
“IF you want to look people in the eye, if you want to look at the elementary student in the eye and tell them that they can become president someday, you cannot start in a large state. And we all know that it’s common sense 101,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee voted to strip Iowa of its First in the Nation status in their presidential nominee process, requiring the state party to apply for that status.
The Iowa Democratic caucuses in 2020 suffered technical glitches with a new app that caused a delay in announcing the winner for several days.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn committed to applying to regain first in the nation status.
Kaufmann said he wasn’t ready to cede that Iowa Democrats won’t go first.
“From what I understand of the waiver process, they have a chance to make their case,” he said.
“I stand beside my Democratic colleagues, my Iowa Democratic colleagues. This resistance isn’t coming from Iowa Democrats. This resistance is coming from the national Democrats that don’t quite get that Iowa isn’t flyover country,” Kaufmann said. ” So I think Iowa Democrats have a chance to still pull this out. I don’t think that the National Party wants to send the message that this would say. I really don’t. I mean, why in the world would you give up on an entire section of the country when that entire section is exactly where you have issues and where you have problems?”
“Iowa Republicans are going to go first. I want Iowa Democrats to go first,” he stated.