TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - For the first time ever, the Iowa Caucuses will also be held in Arizona.
The Iowa Democratic Party has named 99 locations, including three international sites, to hold caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020, the same day as the state holds its caucuses.
Four of those sites will be in Arizona.
“This will give folks that otherwise wouldn’t be part of our precinct caucuses the chance to have their voices heard,” said Troy Price, the Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. “I think it will be a great way to increase the enthusiasm, that will get people fired up for the election in November.”
If the enthusiasm in Arizona is any indication, it shows Price is right.
“I thought there would be 20 to 30 people,” said Joan Koenigs, who volunteered her Johnson Ranch home near Coolidge, as the site for one of the satellites. “That’s a manageable group.”
Voters who want to participate for the satellite caucus have until Jan. 17 to register.
When Koenigs called to find out how many had registered to come to her home - shock.
“I called this morning,” she said. “It’s now 101.”
She was planning to rent folding chairs and turning here backyard into the satellite site which she thought could manage up to 60 if that’s how many registered.
But following the phone call “that’s when I began to think this is more than I can handle here,” she said.
So she’s off finding a bigger venue now.
The local Harkin’s Theater seems to top the list but there are still details to be worked out.
“This is a historic event,” she said. “It’s incredible, it’s wonderful, I’m really excited about it.”
Koenigs and her husband began wintering in Arizona 20 years ago so she’s missed every caucus since.
She comes from a political family, her father was a supervisor for 27 years and her husband a state lawmaker, so missing them was a loss.
“I wanted to participate,” she says. “And it bothers me when I can’t.”
She feels one reason so many people want to participate is because 2020 is a pretty important election for the Democrats with one over riding goal.
“To win the presidency of the United States,” she said. “That’s our main goal.”
Caucuses are different than primaries because ballots are not cast and counted. People discuss the candidates and try to persuade others to join them. So it must be done in person, which is where the satellites come in to play. To the untrained, it can seem chaotic and confusing.
“It isn’t complicated if you’ve been doing it all your life,” Koenigs said.
And finally in 2020, she’ll be back in the game.