Who attended their Democratic or Republican precinct caucuses tonight? I was at Indian Hills Junior High School, where Democrats and Republicans from Windsor Heights, Clive, and some parts of West Des Moines gathered. Not surprisingly, turnout was low on the Democratic side, with light snow and temperatures in the teens shortly before 7 pm. Approximately 60 people total showed up from the eight or nine precincts at our location. A representative from Staci Appel’s campaign addressed Democrats at our caucus, as did a gubernatorial candidate I’d never heard of: Zachary Newbrough of West Des Moines. His key issues include improving education, mental health reform, embracing diversity in Iowa, and smokers’ rights (although he didn’t mention the last one at the caucus).
I didn’t sit in on the Republican caucuses, but I walked by their rooms after they broke into precincts from Windsor Heights and Clive. By my count, each precinct had approximately 15-20 participants. Although the weather was bad today, I expected more Republicans to come out tonight, given that Governor Terry Branstad’s campaign and several GOP candidates were said to be mobilizing supporters. Branstad’s team wants to make sure the state convention backs Kim Reynolds for lieutenant governor, and the Republican nominations for IA-03 and U.S. Senate may be decided at conventions if no candidate wins at least 35 percent of the vote.
Any comments about the off-year caucuses are welcome in this thread. I’d particularly like to hear from Bleeding Heartland readers on caucus turnout in the first Congressional district, where the Democratic and Republican nominations could conceivably go to conventions.