The head of the Iowa GOP is pushing back against the idea that his state could lose its spot at the front of the line in the presidential nomination process.
Responding to a report in Politico that Democrats are considering having South Carolina and Nevada leadoff the primary schedule, Jeff Kaufmann, chair of the Iowa Republican Party, said it is a foolish idea embraced by the likes of former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and “coastal elites who think they know better than everybody else.”
“I continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with my First In The Nation states counterparts and will do everything in my power to protect the Iowa Caucuses,” Mr. Kaufmann said in a statement.
Iowa has traditionally kicked off the presidential nomination race with the caucuses, followed by New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
The states have been fierce defenders of their starting positions. They have faced scrutiny every four years from other states jockeying to have more influence over the nomination process.
Democrats also have raised questions about the diversity of the opening states.
President Biden provided additional fodder for the debate when his struggles in Iowa and New Hampshire proved inconsequential after he revived his bid with a victory in South Carolina.
Iowa is under additional scrutiny following the botched 2020 Democratic caucuses where the final results were not known for days because of technical glitches related to vote counting.
Politico reported that Mr. Reid and Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina — both allies of Mr. Biden — have discussed the prospect of shaking things up.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to have those two states to set the tone,” Mr. Reid told Politico. “It’s really a false premise that if you do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, you’re going to do well across the country.”
“That was proven wrong with Joe Biden,” he said. “There’s no diversity in Iowa. There’s certainly no diversity in New Hampshire.”
Mr. Kaufmann said Iowa must keep its starting spot.
“The simple fact of the matter is, if we want to look children in the eye and say, ‘You too can be President of the United States,’ we must start in Iowa,” he said. “ It’s never been about your name ID or how many zeros are in your campaign bank account.
“No matter which party you belong to, Iowa is the place where the echelons of power must meet and discuss important issues face-to-face with voters,” he said.