According to Jeff Link, a Democratic consultant in Iowa, the current argument is one-sided and Republican candidates are not taking advantage of voter registration.
Democrats have been attempting to take control of Iowa for years, and this change gained momentum after the unsuccessful caucuses in 2020. The state was removed from its first place in the primary list by the national party, which means that Biden has little motivation to visit the state as there is no serious primary challenger currently running for president.
Some Iowans are worried and feeling excluded due to the combination of hard feelings and the challenging political climate facing Democrats in the state. Others fear that the party may lose momentum and focus on reclaiming lost seats, further diminishing the Democratic footprint in some parts of the Midwest.
Rita Hart, the chair of the state Democratic Party, noted that Democrats feel uncomfortable being left out in the background and want attention.
The state has not been completely overlooked by the White House. In April of this year, Biden traveled to the state to discuss his economic agenda, while Vice President Kamala Harris visited the region on two occasions.
Harris was greeted with gratitude from Democratic State Rep. Jennifer Konfrst when she told her that she would be coming back to the state, just hours before the Lincoln Dinner and an Iowa GOP rally were set to take place.
Konfrst stressed that the legislature’s work on extreme legislation, such as school vouchers and abortion, is not in line with the values of Iowans. He added that it was crucial for people to rally Democrats around these issues.
Democrats had a stronger foothold in the state before this time. Obama won Iowa twice, winning both 2008 and 2012, while Tom Vilsack served as the Democratic governor until 2007.
Joe Biden, the former vice presidential nominee, was a regular attendee of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday, August 8, 2019, as part of his participation in the 2020 campaign.
Today, Iowa has Republican representatives in every congressional district, and Auditor Rob Sand is the sole Democratic representative holding office in that state. Following the technical downfall of the 2020 caucus, Democrats began debating whether or not it was appropriate to leave the state, as well as other midwestern states that have seen Democratic victories in recent years.
In February, Biden and the Democratic Party made a move by selecting South Carolina to give voters of color broader say in the presidential process. Although New Hampshire party leaders have not been vocal about the decision, the state party is planning to hold its caucuses on the same day as Iowa Republicans, though determining whether or not to call them on their preferred date has not yet been decided.
According to Ken Martin, chair of the Association of State Democratic Parties and a member of their Rules and Bylaws Committee, losing in these states is painful. However, he pointed out that caucuses and primaries do not necessarily result in success for Democrats in those states.
The state is concerned that Iowa’s political reach has waned and may become a self-fulfilling prophecy, where voters will have to invest their money to rebuild their voting stock.
As of now, the Democratic National Committee is investing $12,500 per month in the Iowa Democratic Party, which is a 25 percent rise over 2020. Additionally, it is contributing $2,500 annually to Iowa as part of implementing statewide infrastructure improvements in traditionally Republican states.
In Iowa, where the DNC is working with Democrats and state campaigns to provide message guidance, there is a press embed as well.
Martin acknowledged the Iowa Democrats’ efforts to rebuild, but they are not being completely forgotten. Their pain is real because they have moved from a state that has received significant attention to one that isn’t receiving much attention at the moment, according to Martin.
Despite the passage of unpopular legislation by GOP state legislators, Sand and other Democrats believe that Iowa could still move in their direction.
According to Sand, more Iowa residents voted for the Democratic party in their state than any other state except Vermont. Additionally, the 2020 congressional race was one of the tightest in U.S. history, with Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks winning by only six votes over Hart.
According to Sands, the state is not a “competitive” state. He pointed out that there are teams in this state that have better win-loss records than their overall or team-level counterparts every year, and some teams that look better than what their winless records appear. The Iowa Democrats seem to be superior to their wins-lose-record opponents.