Iowa Republicans to hold 2024 caucus on Martin Luther King Jr holiday

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Iowa Republicans announced on Saturday that their presidential caucuses will be held on 15 January – the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The move puts the first votes of the 2024 election a little more than six months away, as Republicans try to reclaim the White House.

Candidates have campaigned in Iowa since last winter but there was uncertainty about the date for the caucuses that traditionally kick off the Republican selection process. After a chaotic event in 2020, the Democratic National Committee has dropped Iowa as its first contest.

The Iowa Republican party’s central committee voted unanimously for the third Monday in January, earlier by several weeks than the past three caucuses, though not as early as 2008, when they were held three days into the new year.

The state GOP chair, Jeff Kaufmann, told reporters the vote was unanimous and he “never sensed that there was anyone even thinking about voting no”.

“As Republicans, we can, I, we see this as honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King in terms of having a caucus here,” Kaufmann said, saying committee members hadn’t considered the possibility of the contest falling on the federal holiday.

Caucuses, unlike primaries, are planned, financed and carried out by parties, not state election officials. The Iowa announcement allows New Hampshire, which has not confirmed a primary date but has indicated 23 January as its preference, to protect its first-in-the-nation status, which is codified in state law.

Iowa Democrats had been waiting for Republicans to set a date, as they try to adjust to new DNC rules on their primary order.

Democrats have proposed holding a caucus on the same day as Republicans and allowing participants to vote via mail-in ballot. But Iowa Democrats have said they may not immediately release the results.

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That could allow the state party to hold a first-in-the-nation caucus without defying a new election-year calendar endorsed by Joe Biden and approved by the DNC that calls for South Carolina to replace Iowa and kick off primary voting on 3 February.

Last month, South Carolina Republicans confirmed 24 February for their traditional first southern primary, leaving time for Nevada to schedule its caucuses without crowding New Hampshire.

This post was originally published on this site

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