House bill would require in person participation in Iowa Caucuses

DES MOINES — Republicans in the Iowa House have passed a bill that would derail the Iowa Democratic Party’s plan to have mail-in presidential preference cards for the Iowa Caucuses.

“House File 716 is our Caucus integrity bill,” Kaufmann said during brief debate of the bill Monday. “…It requires the Caucuses be held in person.”

Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann — who is Representative Kaufmann’s father — has said New Hampshire officials consider the Democratic Party’s mail in plan akin to a primary and New Hampshire would move its primary ahead of Iowa’s Caucuses.

Democrats in the House voted against the bill. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst said the legislature should not be dictating how either party conducts its business and she questions why Representative Kaufmann — who is a paid staffer on Trump’s Iowa campaign — has taken the lead on the bill.

“It’s hard to imagine it’s not something like greasing the skids for Donald Trump,” Konfrst said.

The bill’s fate in the Iowa Senate is unclear. Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale was the first elected Republican official in Iowa to endorse Trump in 2015. Zaun said he’s wary of legislators telling either party how to run the Caucuses, but he wants to see the changes House Republicans made in the bill before making a final judgment.

The Republican National Committee voted last summer to keep the Iowa GOP’s Caucuses first in the nation, but the Democratic National Committee voted to exclude the Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucuses from the early grouping of five states allow to hold the first voting in the party’s 2024 presidential nominating process. Nearly a year ago, Iowa Democrats announced a plan to send presidential preference cards to Caucus participants, as a means of expanding participation to what has required attendance at a specific time on a specific night.