The Iowa Republican Party has selected a date for the state’s presidential nominating caucuses, which will officially kick off the 2024 presidential primary slate. The GOP’s Iowa caucuses will be held on January 15, which is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.
Iowa and New Hampshire have long held the opening primaries in presidential election cycles, though the Biden Administration has urged the Democratic National Committee to change the schedule. As a result, South Carolina will now serve as the opening primary for the Democratic Party, which, according to the Biden Administration, is a more “diverse” state.
Some DNC officials were reportedly surprised by the decision while Biden loyalists have endorsed the plan. Biden is ready to forfeit the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries if any issues arise with the schedule change.
The GOP will stick with Iowa for the opening presidential primary, however. Candidates had already been campaigning in Iowa for months, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who held several speaking events in the state before he had formally announced his campaign.
Iowa’s primary process differs from most states — which hold winner-take-all elections — with the caucus process. Instead of casting ballots, Iowans gather at local caucus meetings to debate candidates and decide who to nominate.
In 2016, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) carried the state while then-candidate Trump went on to pick up his first primary victory in New Hampshire.
The most recent GOP primary poll for the state — which was conducted by American Greatness — has former President Trump leading DeSantis by 23 percentage points. DeSantis on the other hand has gained support from the state’s popular governor, Kim Reynolds, however.
Trump endorsed Reynolds in 2020, though he has since criticized her as the primary campaign heats up.