Saturday, October 5, 2019

Iowa GOP Carries Over 2016 Delegate Allocation Rules to 2020

Unlike a couple of other carve-out states -- Nevada and South Carolina -- Iowa Republicans have long maintained that they will, in fact, hold a presidential preference vote during their 2020 caucuses next February and not cancel the contest.

But that does leave at least somewhat unanswered just what the party may do with its delegate selection process in 2020. In truth, there is little for Iowa Republicans to do. In 2016, the party ostensibly felt compelled to follow the letter of the law (or rule anyway) from Republican National Committee with respect to delegate allocation in an effort to protect the Hawkeye state's first-in-the-nation position. The Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) adopted in 2015 a straight proportional plan with no qualifying threshold (other than the percentage of the vote necessary to round up to one delegate).

And that plan has carried over to the 2020 cycle. The language of Article VIII of the rules of the Republican Party of Iowa remains the exact same for 2020 as it was in 2016.1 And that means that delegates will be allocated proportionally to the candidates who make the caucus list based on the statewide results of the caucuses. There again is no official qualifying threshold.

However, the key carry over component from 2016 is one related to the conduct of Iowa delegates at the national convention. Should only one candidate reach the requirements of Rule 40(b) of the RNC rules to be placed in nomination at the convention, then the entire Iowa delegation is to vote for that candidate. That is part of the reason why Iowa delegates ended up casting their votes for Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention despite Ted Cruz having carried the caucuses.

That, too, carries over to 2020. The big difference this cycle is that the dynamics of the caucuses are far different with a much smaller field of candidates, one of whom -- the president -- has only token opposition. But the allocation rules look the same in Iowa.

1 Article VIII of the RPI bylaws:

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