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How Did Iowa Become The First Caucus State?

By Staff | Feb 17, 2020

I went to my first caucus on Monday, Feb. 3 at the Emmetsburg Campus of Iowa Lakes Community College.

I was both nervous and excited at the same time since I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

So what I am really curious about is: How did Iowa become the first state to caucus? The following paragraphs are taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Political parties in Iowa have used caucuses to select party leaders and candidates for office since the 1800s. Before 1907, parties selected all candidates for political office through the caucus system. Iowa held a presidential primary in 1916, but returned to the caucus system in 1917 due to high costs and low participation.

After the 1968 Democratic National Convention protest activity, Democratic Party leaders decided to make changes to their presidential nomination process by spreading out the schedule in each state. Because Iowa had a complex process of precinct caucuses, county conventions, district conventions, and a state convention, they chose to start early. In 1972, Iowa was the first state to hold its Democratic caucus, and it had the first Republican caucus four years later.

Under Iowa law, political parties are required to hold caucuses every two years to select delegates to county conventions and party committees.

The Iowa caucuses are biennial electoral events for members of the Democratic and Republican Parties in the U.S. state of Iowa. Unlike primary elections in most other U.S. states, where registered voters go to polling places to cast ballots, Iowans instead gather at local caucus meetings to discuss and vote on the candidates. During both the presidential and midterm election seasons, registered Iowan voters vote in a per-precinct caucus for the party of which they are registered as a member. The caucuses are also held to select delegates to county conventions and party committees, among other party activities.

The Iowa caucuses are noteworthy as the first major contest of the United States presidential primary season. Although caucus-goers have been unrepresentative of the nation’s overall ethnic demographic, caucuses are still seen by some as a strong indicator of how a presidential candidate will do in later contests. This could be seen as a circular argument, however, as the Iowa caucus, being the first, likely strongly influences later races and can provide candidates with momentum going into the following contests. Further, candidates who do poorly in the Iowa caucus are likely to drop out in the following days. The 2020 Iowa Republican caucuses and the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses took place on February 3, 2020.

Even with the problems of the caucuses this year, Iowa should still be proud of being the first state to caucus.

I learned a lot and am looking forward to time.