POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah’s LG calls for Iowa caucus to be scrapped, replaced with rotating primaries

Feb 5, 2020, 12:50 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY – Should the Iowa caucus be done away with?  One high-level election official in Utah says since so many things went wrong in Iowa this week, the current system of selecting a candidate needs to be tossed out.

Party leaders in Utah haven’t forgotten the problems that happened in 2016 when they tried to hold caucuses.  People had to wait for hours and many claimed they weren’t allowed to participate, at all.

(Democrats waiting in line for their caucus at Ensign Elementary School in 2016. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Democrat leaders tell The Deseret News the caucus system seems antiquated, while Republican leaders say they’re happy they state is running primaries.

Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox oversees all elections in Utah.  He’s hoping the issues of this year’s Iowa caucus will act as a springboard for changing how parties pick their candidates without relying on Iowa and New Hampshire.

Cox says, “I’m not sure there’s any real, logical reason to have states like that be making a decision that big.  Let’s have a bigger region of the country be able to weigh in.”

He’s calling for rotating primaries, where the country would be divided up into sections and those regions would rotate as to which primaries were held first.  Cox believes switching to this system would benefit everyone.

“We would get rid of flyover states because at least every 16 years, as we rotate around, your group would be first,” he says.

Cox knows lawmakers in Iowa will do everything in their power to ensure their caucus is the first thing on the election calendar.

“There are two things with that.  One, they’re very much outnumbered, and, two, I don’t really care,” Cox says.  “If they’re set on being first, maybe they shouldn’t screw it up.”

He believes the major political parties could threaten penalties against those two states if they don’t follow a different system.

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