Iowa Republican Party Taking Steps to Check Dem Caucus Crashers

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s Republican Party is taking “aggressive” steps to keep “mean-spirited” Democrats from crashing next year’s GOP presidential caucuses, state Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Iowa Star.

Kaufmann, joining Iowa Star Bureau Chief M.D. Kittle last week on NewsTalk 1040 WHO, said the uncertainty surrounding the Democratic Party’s caucus future could open the door for mischief.

“We’re realistic here and we have to be prepared,” Kaufmann said. “People who are far, far left and militant, absolutely they would want to disrupt” the Republican caucuses.

Iowa Democrats have been told by the Democratic National Committee that the Hawkeye State isn’t diverse enough to continue to host the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Last month, the DNC overwhelmingly approved a 2024 primary calendar that kicks Iowa to the curb. South Carolina will now move up to the front of the line as the first nominating state, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire, then Georgia, then Michigan to finish out the February primary schedule.

The Republican Party isn’t messing with tradition. It’s keeping Iowa No.1, as it has done since 1976.

Should the Democratic Party of Iowa fall in line with the national party, Kaufmann said it’s “very realistic” that some disgruntled Dems could try to crash the Republican party next February. Some may try to participate to back Republican candidates they believe have a steeper chance of beating their candidate (at least at the moment), President Joe Biden.

Some may have even more nefarious plans, Kaufmann said.

“We’re not just talking about Democrats showing up and voting. We also have to open up the very legitimate and concerning prospect that they could try to hack, affect us in that way,”  he said, adding that hackers of all stripes could mess with the party-run election.

The GOP chair said Iowa Republican Party officials have reached out to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the GOP-controlled state Legislature for advice and assistance.

“We are actively pursuing all of this in a fairly aggressive way,” Kaufmann said. “As we speak, people are having these conversations and we’re taking it very seriously.”

Scott Brennan, a DNC member from Iowa, recently dismissed the likelihood Democrats would try to manipulate the GOP caucuses.

“We’ve never had an issue with members of either party trying to sabotage caucus processes,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

But there was one very high-profile episode of caucus tampering — to the extreme.

Liberal writer/perversion peddler columnist Dan Savage covered the 2000 caucuses for Salon magazine. The gay LGBT activist wrote a piece about volunteering for conservative candidate Gary Bauer’s campaign, claiming that he attempted to give Bauer and staff the influenza the reporter was sick with by licking campaign office doorknobs, office supplies and coffee cups. After taking heat from readers and Salon colleagues, Savage then said he exaggerated some of the details for “comedic effect.”

Savage also reported registering and participating in the Iowa Republican caucuses. That’s what got him in legal trouble. He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of fraudulent voting in a caucus. Savage was sentenced to a year of probation, 50 hours of community service and a $750 fine.

Kaufmann said there may be some people who have a “last-minute, born-again experience,” leaving the Democratic Party for the redder pastures of the Republican fold.

“My sense is that those folks who are claiming they’re Republican all of sudden that never have been, I’m telling you right now we’re going to be looking at that with a skeptical eye,” the Republican Party of Iowa chairman said. “We have to in order to preserve the integrity of this.”

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Jeff Kaufmann” by Jeff Kaufmann. Background Photo “Iowa Capitol” by Danksergeant15. CC BY-SA 4.0.


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