The Iowa Caucuses, the first statewide contest to select the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, are less that two months away.
Former President Donald Trump, former Govs. Nikki Haley (SC), Chris Christie (NJ) and Asa Hutchinson (AK); Govs. Ron DeSantis (FL) and Doug Burgum (ND) and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are all vying for the 40 delegates up for grabs at this year’s Iowa Caucuses.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is a Caucus?
A Caucus is a meeting of members of a political party for the purpose of choosing delegates who are then “pledged” to vote for a particular candidate at the party’s national convention.
Though, they ultimately decide which presidential candidate the state supports, a caucus is very different from a primary election:
- Caucuses are private meetings run by political parties while primaries are run by state and local governments.
- Caucuses allow participants to openly show support for candidates while in primaries voters cast secret ballots for the candidates of their choosing.
- Most often, only registered voters of a party can participate in a caucus, while depending on the state a primary might be open–not limited to voters party affiliation– or closed, where only registered members of the party can vote.
When are the 2024 Iowa Caucuses?
The Republican Iowa presidential primary caucuses are scheduled for Monday January 15, 2024. They will begin at 7 p.m. in each of the state’s 1,678 voting precincts.
Democrats removed Iowa from its first-in-the-nation status earlier this year and replace it with South Carolina. For Iowa Democrats, the 2024 caucuses will be done entirely by mail and results will be announced on Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.
How will the Republican Iowa caucuses work?
Unlike the past Democratic caucuses where voters stand in groups based on which candidate they’re supporting and if they do not receive 15% viability then there’s a realignment, Republicans select their candidate via a simple secret ballot. The delegates are nominated based on the candidates receiving the most votes and confirmed by all caucus participants.
Who can participate in the Iowa caucuses?
Voters must be eligible to vote in the state of Iowa and must be at least 18-years-old by Election Day, November 5, 2024. Voters must be registered with the appropriate party; same-day registration is available at precinct caucus locations.
How accurate are Iowa Caucuses at selecting the GOP nominee.
Because of their status as first-in-the-nation contests, the Iowa caucuses are seen as indicators of how a candidate would perform in later contests.
Since 1972, there have been 10 contested Democratic caucuses; in six of them the declared winner of the Iowa caucuses was ultimately nominated. But, on the Republican side, only three times the winner of caucuses ended up as the nominee, out of eight contested caucuses.