Tri States Public Radio Staff
More Process than Prestige
Wed January 22, 2014
Caucus Night in Keokuk
Sparse crowds did not stop the Democratic process from happening in Keokuk Tuesday night.
The Iowa Caucuses draw global attention during presidential elections as people meet in living rooms, school cafeterias and gymnasiums to vote for their candidate.
It is a much different scene, though, during an off-year caucus as the focus shifts from presidential politics to party leadership and structure.
State Representative Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk) chaired the Democratic Caucus in Keokuk.
He says off-year events are about the base and the process.
"I think the party likes to keep everybody active," says Rep. Kearns. "We try to get as much into these as we can with the stallwarts and then bring in new people if we can."
Turnout was low as roughly 20 Democrats participated in the event at the Keokuk Middle School.
Turnout was much higher on the Republican side as nearly 60 people caucused at Keokuk High School.
Republican Site Chairwoman Sandra Johnson says this is true "grass-roots politics" because policy starts at the county level.
The tasks for the night, for both parties, included listening to candidates (or their proxies), electing county delegates and developing party platforms.
One such platform from the Democrat caucus called for the party to support the restoration of county services in both county seats.
Kearns says that will be voted on in the coming days by the party's platform committee.