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Iowa Caucus 2024: Everything You Need to Know and Why

Iowa Republicans will caucus to select the party's 2024 presidential nominee. Trump is expected to win, but second place is up for grabs.

The Iowa Caucus is a crucial event in the Republican presidential nomination process. While Iowa only provides 1.6% of the delegates to be awarded at the Republican National Convention, it holds significant influence in separating the contenders from the pretenders. The caucus differs from primary elections in that voters gather in local caucuses across the state to select a nominee. The meetings involve a binding vote for the Republican presidential nominee and the election of delegates to attend county Republican conventions, which is the first step in electing delegates to the national GOP convention.

To participate in the caucus, voters must be at least 18 years old by the November general election, and only registered Republicans can participate. However, Iowa permits voters to register or change their party affiliation on caucus night. The public nature of the caucus presents a unique logistical challenge for presidential campaigns, as they must recruit volunteer caucus captains to ensure their supporters attend the meetings. The Republican caucuses convene statewide at 7 p.m. local time.

Iowa became the first state to hold a leadoff contest in the modern campaign era, with the 1972 Democratic caucus marking the beginning of the state's prominence in the nomination process. Since then, Iowa has awarded delegates through precinct caucuses, district and county conventions, and a statewide convention. The state has a history of producing winners who go on to obtain the nomination, including former President Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump.

In the upcoming 2024 Iowa Caucus, former President Trump is expected to come out on top, with the battle for second place between former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The forecast for frigid temperatures on caucus night is expected to complicate matters for candidates and caucus-goers. Despite calls to switch to a primary election, Iowa voters have shown no inclination to scrap the caucus system, citing its historical significance.

Following the Iowa Caucus, Republican presidential hopefuls will head to New Hampshire for the first-in-the-nation primary. Additionally, there are more than a dozen caucus competitions on the 2024 itinerary for Republicans across several states and territories. Iowa has 40 delegates up for grabs out of the 2,469 to be awarded by the Republican National Committee, which will be doled out proportionally.

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