Waterloo Times

Waterloo Times

Friday, February 28, 2020

Kaufmann defends state caucuses against diversity claims


By Kimberly James | Jan 27, 2020

GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann | Facebook

Iowa caucuses are catching some heat, and the state's political party chairmen are defending against critics who say the state's population isn't diverse enough.

Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said starting in Iowa gives candidates a fair shot, according to Radio Iowa. 

“If you really believe that anybody in this country can someday be president, you have to start in a place like Iowa,” Kaufmann said. “You start them in California or Texas or New York, where some of the criticism is coming from, then you have just blow out of the water  something far, far more important.”

Kaufmann said those failed candidates who criticize the Iowa caucuses either didn't connect with Iowa voters or didn't spend enough time campaigning in Iowa.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Tony Price said this criticism is par for the course and happens every four years.

“The reason why this caucus process stays first is because we provide a fair and level playing field for people to come and make their case to Iowans,” Price said. 

He said presidential candidates are sharper after hitting the campaign trail in Iowa and fielding questions from voters.

“Starting in a state like Iowa, they’re able to better talk to folks in the upper Midwest,” Price said. “What we saw in 2016 is the upper Midwest is very much a swing area of this country and so Iowa prepares them for that.”

Kaufmann said though Iowa may not be as diverse as other states, its voters are still discerning. As evidence, he cites that an African American won the 2008 Iowa Democratic Party caucuses and a Cuban American won the 2016 Iowa GOP caucuses.

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