Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses will be held on Jan. 15, state Republicans voted on Saturday, kicking off the 2024 presidential nomination process.
The vote by the Iowa Republican Party’s state central committee, which scheduled the contest on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday, comes after top Democrats pushed to redraw the influential calendar and drop Iowa from its leading spot.
The Republican Party of Iowa’s chairman, Jeff Kaufmann, said in a statement Saturday that party members were “proud to affirm that Iowa will continue to honor our half-century-old promises to the other carveout states.” The three other states that have historically gone first in the nominating contests are New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
The Iowa caucuses, which are planned and funded by the parties, will be roughly three weeks earlier than in recent years. New Hampshire will probably hold its primary later in January, with the other states to follow.
The early-voting states traditionally benefit from heightened media attention and millions of dollars in candidate spending, and they could help set the tenor for the competition among the hopefuls.
GOP candidates have already spent recent months at campaign stops across the state, including former president Donald Trump’s event on Friday in Council Bluffs.
President Biden and Democratic leaders had worked to shake up their party’s calendar, seeking to elevate more demographically diverse states, such as South Carolina and Michigan, that contributed to Biden’s victory in the 2020 race.
But the move is not sitting well with other states. The Republican governor and secretary of state in New Hampshire have indicated that they will not abide by DNC rules that require that state to hold the second Democratic primary in the nation, vowing to ensure that New Hampshire holds its primary before the Democratic South Carolina primary, which is planned for early February.
The Iowa Democratic Party has said it intended to hold its caucuses on the same day as the Republicans. State party officials presided over a debacle in 2020 when a heavily promoted vote-recording app triggered statewide technical failures and delays.
If Iowa Democrats hold caucuses before early March, national Democratic officials have said that they will lose representation at the party’s nominating convention.
Michael Scherer contributed to this report.