Grassley said on a Wednesday call with reporters per the Des Moines Register that Iowa Democrats should “definitely” move forward with holding a presidential contest regardless of changes made to the national Democrats’ calendar.
“Iowa is a unique place where people with little money can campaign for president and get to be president,” Grassley said. “I think two Democrats were made president because of Iowa.”
The two Democrats Grassley referenced are Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, who won the Iowa caucuses in 1976 and 2008, respectively. Their wins, despite being lesser-known candidates, propelled them to victory.
Every four years, the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee formulates the rule that sets the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating calendar, specifying which state’s primary or caucus is granted “early” status and in which order these early states can vote.
The previous primary calendar began with Iowa’s caucus, followed by New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
Iowa has started the presidential nominating process for 50 years, but it is in danger of losing its status to other states over past problems with tallying results, concerns about the state’s lack of diversity, and its GOP voting streak.
However, Grassley said Obama’s victory proves a Black candidate can do well among Iowa voters, even if the state is not diverse, which he hopes Democrats will take into consideration when making their calendar.
“I hope the Democrats aren’t stupid enough to move first-in-the-nation out of Iowa,” Grassley said.
Democrats are being urged to instead turn their focus toward Michigan and Minnesota, two states that achieved significant Democratic gains in the midterm elections.
In Michigan, the Republican-led state Senate voted 34-1 on Tuesday to move the 2024 presidential primary up a month earlier, moving it from the second Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February. The state House must approve the bill before it goes to the desk of recently reelected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).
After the 2022 midterm elections, Michigan Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes said she felt “very good” about Michigan’s chances of changing its status in the presidential primary calendar.
“The outcome on Tuesday had to wake them up to the fact that we’ve got something here that would be good for a presidential candidate to be a part of,” Barnes told the Detroit News.
Minnesota has not yet voted to move up their primary date, but the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party presented the state as “Democracy’s North Star” to the national Democratic Party, per the Duluth News Tribune.
DFL Chairman Ken Martin said in a news release that Minnesota’s high voter turnout and strong tradition of civic engagement “makes us a top contender to be one of those four early states.”
“Plus, presidential primary candidates who can win Minnesota will be well-positioned to win their general elections, too,” Martin said. “After all, to be successful in Minnesota, candidates need to win over voters in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and they will need to appeal to an electorate that is rapidly diversifying.”
The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee plans to meet to vote on a flurry of 2024 voting rules, including the presidential primary calendar, on Thursday.