No remedies have yet been put in place to heal the Iowa GOP’s black eye from the vote-count embarrassment that unfolded after the 2012 Iowa presidential caucuses. Two years ago today, Rick Santorum was announced as the official winner based on a certified vote, reversing Mitt Romney’s eight-vote win announced after 1 a.m. on caucus night. Both Republican and Democratic leaders say Iowa’s leadoff spot in presidential voting is assured for the 2016 cycle, but beyond then, its privileged position remains precarious. The 2012 GOP debacle escalated ever-present criticism, and other states constantly maneuver in an attempt to grab the leadoff voting prize. Iowa Republican Party officials say changes in caucus procedures will be made this spring. They’ve been carefully weighing options, working in concert with the national party, Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker said.
Another reason for the wait: Changes to the party constitution can happen only at the state convention, which happens every two years in June. And there will be some turnover in party board members and delegates by then, Spiker said.
“We didn’t want any whiplash changes … and sometimes that means you’re a little slower,” he said. “There are benefits to getting plenty of buy-in.”
Party ideology plays role in criticism of caucuses
Meanwhile, the national reputation of the Iowa caucuses remains a mixed bag. Negative opinions tend to be based more on ideology or concerns about polarization, but there’s also some distrust of the vote-counting process, strategists told The Des Moines Register.