DNC committee to decide on Iowa’s ‘first in nation’ status

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:23 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa will remain the first state to hold a nominating contest in the race for U.S. President for the Republicans, but whether or not that remains true for Democrats could be decided this week.

Scott Brennan represents Iowa on the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, which will start a meeting Thursday.

“The committee hasn’t received an agenda, which is very unusual. Usually we get it a week out. So we haven’t heard a thing,” said Brennan. “The assumption has always been that we were going to talk about the presidential nominating calendar.”

“The problem now is that the DNC sort of opened the entire process up, and in my view, has lost control of the process,” he added.

Iowa has held its first in the nation status since the 1970s. In the spring, the DNC passed a resolution announcing that it wanted states that went early in the nominating process to meet three standards:

a. DIVERSITY; as required by Article 8 Section 3 of the Charter: including, but not limited to, racial and ethnic diversity, geographic diversity (including a mix of rural and urban voters, and including but not limited to one state from each region of the four regions as defined by the DNC), union representation, economic diversity; and

b. COMPETITIVENESS: contributes to the party’s ability to win in the general election; and

c. FEASIBILITY; comprised of three components: (1) the feasibility of scheduling a pre-window contest; (2) the ability to run a fair, transparent and inclusive nominating process; and (3) the cost and logistical requirements of campaigning in-state...

Resolution on the Principles and Framework of a Transparent and Fair Review of the Presidential Nominating Calendar

Iowa came under scrutiny in 2020 for chaos during Democratic caucuses that year and delayed results.

Many Democrats believe that Iowa should not lead the nominating process because it does not meet the three standards. However, Brennan thinks Iowans offer a unique perspective.

“If they don’t leave a state like Iowa, in the process, in that pre-window process, then what—you’re giving up on those rural and working, those small-town working folks—you’re giving up on those voices,” said Brennan.

Earlier this month, the mid-term election delivered a red wave of GOP victories across Iowa. The question posed by the DNC: why should Democrats focus on a state that seems less and less focused on them?

“The first, second and third congressional districts in Iowa—the registration numbers are such that those are completely flippable,” said Brennan.

Brennan believes if Iowa doesn’t get the attention that comes with going first, we likely won’t get a lot of attention at all. “We’re not a big state, we’re not going to get the attention or the concentration on our issues that we do— that comes out of the presidential process,” said Brennan.

Brennan said he’s entering Thursday’s meeting with no clear picture of what will happen, and added that uncertainty will hurt the Democratic Party.

“If we can’t give them a calendar that’s set in stone, they can’t create a campaign and, you know, shame on us if we’ve hamstrung our own nominee,” said Brennan.

The Rules Committee is to meet Thursday through Saturday. Its recommendations are to go to the full DNC body. Sometime in February or March, the full DNC will decide the 2024 Democratic nomination calendar and where Iowa will fall in it.