The Slatest

DNC Chair Says Party Will Review Iowa’s First-in-Nation Status After Chaotic Caucuses

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez speaks prior to the Democratic presidential primary debate in the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College on February 7, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez speaks prior to the Democratic presidential primary debate in the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College on February 7, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Iowa messed up the caucuses so bad this year that it may lose its long-held privilege of hosting the first presidential nominating contest. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the party will “absolutely” have that conversation after this election cycle is over.

“Is Iowa about to lose their first-in-the-nation caucus status?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Perez Sunday. “It’s not difficult to imagine South Carolina, New Hampshire, other states that are out of the process—Illinois for example, the governor there is making a big pitch saying, ‘Iowa, you lost your chance, you screwed up, it’s time for another state to take over.’ Is that possibly going to happen?” Perez replied: “That’s the conversation that will absolutely happen after this election cycle.” He went on to note that after the last election “we had a conversation about two really important things—superdelegate reform and the primary caucus issue that we’re discussing now and that’s going to happen again. I have no doubt about it because it’s very necessary.”

Facing criticism from some within the party for the chaotic caucuses, Perez said he has no intention of stepping down. “Absolutely not,” Perez said when he was asked whether he had considered resigning as some, including Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, have demanded. “Look at the last three years, my job when I came in was to rebuild our infrastructure, to win elections. And when you do that, sometimes you have to make tough decisions.” Perez insisted it is the Iowa Democratic Party that “runs the actual election” although he did acknowledge that “anytime something goes wrong, whether it’s something that’s run by the state party or not, we’re all in this together.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also called on Perez to step down Sunday. “Ultimately, this is a failure of leadership, and I think the DNC chair, Tom Perez, should resign,” the Hawaii congresswoman, 38, told WMUR on Sunday. The issues with Perez go beyond Iowa, the presidential hopeful told the Manchester, New Hampshire station. “It’s both because of what we’ve seen happen in Iowa, but also over the last several months, the growing skepticism that I hear from Democrat voters that this primary will actually be carried out in a fair way where voters can get the information that they need to make the best choice in who should be our Democratic nominee, and ultimately who should be our next president and commander in chief,” Gabbard said.