WHO’s Dave Price Talks Caucuses, Importance of Ground Game
JOHNSTON, Iowa – The first 2020 meeting of the Capitol Region Republican Women was held on Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Cozy Cafe in Johnston. The meeting started with a question: “How many people came for the first time tonight?” More than half of the room of forty raised their hand.
Guest Speaker Dave Price, author, and anchor on WHO-TV was on deck to speak about his extensive career covering the Iowa caucuses. Price is accredited with creating the Iowa State Fair tradition of “Cast Your Kernel.” This contest is watched closely for predicting races in Iowa, and in 2019, sixty thousand fair goers cast their kernel of corn for the upcoming presidential race.
Price spoke on his experiences interviewing President Obama, President Trump, and numerous candidates on their trek across the state of Iowa. “Some candidates are made for the caucuses.” Price says.
Price recalled Rudy Giuliani’s failed attempt to win over caucus-goers in Iowa. “I remember Giuliani came to Indianola. He showed up late, gave his speech, and left,” he said. The group gasped at the fact Giuliani showed up late and one person commented, “Too New York, not enough Iowa.”
Price continued with the story after the gasps subsided. “It was in a packed deli over the lunch hour and the crowd blocked the counter, no one could order. So the business owners weren’t happy. It just left an impression.”
It’s no secret that presidential candidates need serious ground game and a knack for retail politics to win in Iowa. But what are the consequences if they don’t? The repercussions of a failed attempt in Iowa can put candidates on track for slim media coverage and a bad reputation in the key early state.
The group had questions about the current front runners competing for the Democratic nomination. Price commented on the energy levels at events and how it can give insight for results down the road. “Even though Biden is a two-term vice president, you go to an event and the energy isn’t there,” he says. “With Trump, we knew he was it in August of 2016, you could just feel it.”
Price wrapped up with a series of questions on topics from the era of Trump to caucus predictions, the group transitioned to a mock caucus led by the group’s acting president, Gloria Mazza. “We want you to be ready for the caucuses, and excited about them too!” Mazza says.
Iowans take their role in the caucuses seriously, not only are they the first people to cast their vote but they’re also the first to vet candidates for the rest of the nation.
Across the state, you can find events just like this, on both sides, that remind you no matter how cold the weather is, Iowans will still be out in full force on Feb. 3 to caucus.