DES MOINES — Iowa GOP chairman Jeff Kaufmann says the Republican Party’s Caucuses next Monday will start at 7 p.m. — whatever weather Iowa is experiencing at that time.
“It’s going to go on, no matter what,” Kaufmann said. “…(I’m) putting the faith in people’s passion to get there.”
There are more than 1600 precincts in Iowa and each is hosting a Caucus. The Republican Party has reserved countless meeting sites around the state for next Monday night and it would be a scramble to rebook or final alternative sites for a different night. “Hundreds and hundreds of hours just to get to this place,” Kaufmann said.
The forecast for next Monday night indicates temperatures will be below zero. Kaufmann said subzero temperatures aren’t likely to dampen turnout as much as an ice storm would.
“I don’t think cold keeps people away — and I’m talking about a major, major ice storm that would almost load up transportation workers and it sounds like right now it’s going to be fine — so tentatively fine,” Kaufmann said. “I think it’s kind of cool that some of the national reporters like from Florida get a little below zero weather. I think it builds character.”
The Iowa Republican Party’s Caucuses in 2016 set a turn-out record, when about 186,000 Iowans participated. Kaufmann told reporters in Des Moines yesterday that he’ll get a sense at Iowa G-O-P headquarters next Monday — during the day — whether that record will be broken.
“If we start getting a bunch of calls of ‘I’ve never Caucuses before’ and ‘How do I go about doing this?’ ‘Where do I go?’ And just nerves: ‘Am I going to fit in?’ The amount of people who call who are Democrats or independents asking…how to re-register as Republicans — those kind of calls, just the volume (of them),” Kaufmann said. “In 2016, we couldn’t even handle the volume starting at nine in the morning.”
Kaufmann expects turn-out for the 2024 Iowa Caucuses to be “robust,” if not a record due to the precinct-level organizing he’s seeing from two leading campaigns. — which he’s declining to name.