Chairs of the Iowa caucuses, slated to take place throughout the Hawkeye State on Monday, are reportedly “very nervous” how the evening will go given changes made by the Democratic Party for this year’s contest.
“Caucus chairs are more concerned this cycle than I’ve ever seen them,” Sandy Dockendorff — who is running a caucus in the town of Danville in eastern Iowa — told The Atlantic.
“They’re very nervous,” she added.
One of their chief concerns is there will be no clear winner coming out of Iowa.
The sheer number of candidates running on the Democratic side, 11 in all, and the related challenge of the number of caucusgoers likely to show up to participate will make “2016 look like a cakewalk,” Reyma McCoy McDeid, who is running a satellite caucus for voters with disabilities, told The Atlantic.
There were just three candidates during the last presidential caucus four years ago, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton edged out Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont by just 0.25 percent.
Democratic Party rule changes for 2020 promise to add to the chaos.
As in past contests, voters show up at their assigned precincts and caucus for their candidate of choice.
If that candidate gets less than 15 percent of the vote, caucusgoers must choose a new person to back.
However, unlike previous years, voters will not be able to change candidates later in the evening, if the one they chose passed this first 15 percent threshold.
In other words, the rule change will work against the consolidation of support as the evening progresses, meaning a less-definitive outcome when the final results are reported.
“But the most crucial development this year is that each of Iowa’s 1,700 precincts is required to report two data points in addition to its final delegate count: the totals each candidate received in the first count and the totals they received after the first realignment,” The Atlantic’s Elaine Godfrey explained.
“Releasing these numbers is meant to add transparency to the process,” she continued. “But the new rules make it more likely that several Democratic candidates will claim victory on Monday.”
2020 Watch-On the reporting revisions for the #IACaucus – @iowademocrats chair @troymprice tells @foxnewspolitics
“candidates are going to do what candidates do” but emphasized “we don’t declare a winner at the Iowa Democratic Party. We just report the results.” #2020election pic.twitter.com/xZJRFlp2fI
— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) February 3, 2020
Dockendorff discussed a potential nightmare scenario in which caucusgoers experience longs lines getting into voting locations, followed by a lack of preference cards for people to record their first and perhaps only choice.
These same voters would then be incensed by the new caucus realignment rules preventing them from moving to more popular candidates.
But the biggest fear for some was that multiple candidates — including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — would come out of the contest claiming victory, thus imperiling Iowa’s status as the first in the nation bellwether of whom the Democratic nominee will be.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price told Fox News he was less concerned about this scenario.
“Candidates are going to do what candidates do,” he said, adding, “We don’t declare a winner at the Iowa Democratic Party. We just report the results.”
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