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

Iowa Democrats regroup at unorthodox caucus

Despite freezing temperatures, Iowa Democrats navigated a new caucus format on Monday, gathering for the first time since the 2020 Iowa caucus meltdown.
Jordan Barry
City council member Mazahir Salih collects donations from caucusgoers during the Iowa Democratic caucuses at City High School in Iowa City on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.

Over 50 Democrats gathered inside the pocket of warmth in Iowa City High School, but unlike previous years, no caucus votes were cast. 

While winter winds bit at the skin of Iowans across the state Monday night, Iowa Democrats convened for the Iowa caucuses, albeit in an all-new format. Iowa Democrats will cast their votes for their preferred candidate by mail this year via a Presidential Preference Card due by Feb. 19. 

This year’s gathering was not intended for discussion about the Democratic presidential candidates, but instead to elect lower county officials and discuss party policy. 

Along with President Joe Biden, projected to win the party nomination, author Marianne Williamson and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minnesota, are on the Democrat’s ballot. The party will announce its results on March 5.

After the chaos of the 2020 Iowa caucuses, the Democratic National Party demoted Iowa from the first to the fifth state in the nation scheduled to vote in the Democratic primary.

President Donald Trump won the Iowa Republican caucuses on Monday, meaning a likely Biden-Trump face-off in 2024. 

Althea Downing-Sherman, 17, volunteered for the Democratic caucuses at City High Monday night and said another Biden-Trump showdown was not what she wanted. Regardless, Downing-Sherman said she will continue to support Biden as well as the Democratic party. 

“I don’t particularly like Biden, but it’s a lesser of two evils sort of thing,” Downing-Sherman said. 

While some Democrats are apprehensive for Biden to take office again, other Democrats expressed enthusiasm. City High volunteer, Jennifer Sherer, said she was excited about Biden having another four years. 

“For many of the things Biden has been able to accomplish in the last four years, I would be extremely excited to see that momentum continuing on issues like transitioning to a green economy,” Sherer said.

Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst said the mail in the voting process increases accessibility for people to participate in the Iowa caucus, especially when temperatures are below freezing. 

“If someone’s working tonight, if they can’t get child care, if it’s too cold for them to go out, they can still have their voices heard,” Konfrst said. 

Iowans at City High also expressed their praise of the mail in the voting process for its increasing accessibility. 

Mitch Lingo, Iowa City Community School District Board member at City High, said the mail-in process creates a more “equitable scenario for participation.”

Konfrst said the Democratic caucus has given Democrats the opportunity to come together and build support for the upcoming election.

“What I loved about the caucuses this year is that, for Democrats, it provided us with an opportunity to get together and coordinate to talk about how excited we are for the general election,” Konfrst said. 

Konfrst said there was disappointment when the Democratic National Committee removed Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus status. However, this was not the opinion shared by all Democrats in City High.

Margaret Brumm, 73, said she supported the loss of Iowa’s first-place status in the party’s presidential primary.

“Logistically, we really needed to do that,” Brumm said. “The Democrats seem to be concentrated in cities and we have difficulty finding large venues here.” 

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About the Contributor
Jack Moore, News Editor
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes."