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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Iowa’s off-year party caucuses set for Feb. 5

2018 elections include races for governor, Congress, Legislature
By James Q. Lynch, The Gazette | Sep 26, 2017

Although they won’t create the excitement of presidential election-year caucuses, Iowa’s Democratic and Republican 2018 precinct caucuses will be Feb. 5.

The state parties announced Monday that, as usual, they will kick off their caucus-to-convention process with precinct caucuses at the same time.

“The Iowa caucuses represent the very best of American democracy,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said. “As we head into 2018, Iowa Republicans and Democrats are glad to renew our continued commitment to a fair, open and honest caucus to convention process.”

“One of the most important jobs our two parties have is to ensure that our caucuses are open, honest, and transparent — both for our candidates and our voters,” added Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price. “We are committed to constantly innovating and improving the caucuses so each year is better than the last. We look forward to a competitive primary season and a spirited debate about the issues that matter most to Iowa next fall.”

In addition to the caucuses, both parties will have their district and state conventions on the same dates: April 28 and June 16, respectively. County conventions will be two weeks apart with the GOP going first March 10 and Democrats following March 28.

As in presidential election years, off-year caucuses are about building local party infrastructure, said Iowa Democratic Party spokeswoman Tess Seger.

“For Democrats, this is their opportunity to get involved at the most local level of party building,” she said. “For observers, it’s a good way to see how the Democratic Party is building and organizing in every precinct.”

Generally speaking, both parties elect county central committee members and begin the process of electing delegates to the county convention. They also will begin drafting planks for the party platform.

The 2018 elections will be highlighted by the race for governor. Also on the ballot will be four U.S. House races, 100 Iowa House seats and 25 Iowa Senate seats, as well as county offices and statewide constitutional offices.

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