The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Johnson County Republicans to continue caucus tradition

County Republican Chair Teresa Horton Bumgarner explains the unanswered questions of the Republican caucuses ahead of Jan. 15.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Attendees hold up their phones as former President Donald Trump enters the room during Trump’s Commit to Caucus Rally at Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. The Iowa caucuses take place on Jan. 15. Several hundred people attended the event to hear Trump speak.

Two months ahead of the Iowa caucuses, many Johnson County voters are preparing to cast their first vote of the 2024 presidential election.

The Daily Iowan sat down with Johnson County Republican Chair Teresa Horton Bumgarner to learn more about what the upcoming caucus will look like for GOP voters in the county.

Horton Bumgarner emphasized the importance of voting in the caucuses because of how close the Republican primary race could be. She also encouraged all first-time voters to take a chance and show up to their precinct’s event on Jan. 15.

To learn more about the Iowa caucuses and how to participate in the upcoming election, read the DI’s interview with Bumgarner below. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The Daily Iowan: How can voters best prepare for the caucuses?

Horton Bumgarner: Go hear the candidates, hear them all. And when you go, ask the tough questions. Ask the questions that are important to you, whatever that might be. This is your opportunity to sit down with potentially the next president of the United States and say, ‘This is my concern, and how are you going to handle this particular situation?’ We’re fortunate that we get the opportunity to do that.

The race is so far down the road that others don’t get that opportunity. We’re first, they start coming here first, and they come here longer. And a lot of times we can meet with these presidential candidates in a very small room with maybe 30 or 40 people. Sometimes it’s a huge crowd, and sometimes it’s a small crowd. I don’t know anywhere else that you get to do that.

What are the Johnson County Republicans doing to help prepare voters ahead of the caucuses?

We have hosted almost every presidential candidate. I can’t say we’ve had all of them in Johnson County, but we’ve had almost every presidential candidate, and we encourage them to come back.

My philosophy is that I want as many people as possible from the grassroots because every vote counts, every person is going to have their opinion and should experience and meet one-on-one with every candidate so that they can make an educated decision. The best way is to get them to sit down and talk one-on-one, and we can do that here.

Do you have any recommendations for first-time voters in the caucuses?

I’d say again, you want to take advantage of the opportunity to meet these people one-on-one if you can. Sometimes we must drive a lot — I had a friend who just drove to Dubuque because they wanted to hear a particular candidate that they hadn’t had an opportunity to hear before.

So do your research and try to meet them don’t just read what the basic news has to say, not that I want to knock the news people. Really take advantage of that one-on-one opportunity. I think that when we go out and meet them and ask them questions, it does two things for the candidate.

It helps secure our first-in-the-nation status because it shows the rest of the nation that Iowans are educated and interested. And secondly, I think it helps the candidates really hone their answers. People are really interested in that kind of thing.

I would also tell them to participate. Go. It doesn’t take very long for our caucuses. I can’t speak for other parties, but I know that ours are done in an hour. The basic vote is usually done within half an hour. It doesn’t take a huge amount of time; you’ll meet some great people out caucusing. And it’s important. Don’t be afraid to go.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Grace Katzer
Grace Katzer, Politics Reporter
Grace Katzer is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, Political Science, and a writing certificate. Previous to her position as a politics reporter, she has been a higher education news reporter at The Daily Iowan and interned with the Spencer Daily Reporter as a news reporter and Iowa Starting Line as a news media reporter.
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.