Washington — The first presidential nominating contest is set to begin Monday with the, as the Republican White House hopefuls eye a boost to kickstart the election year ahead and await the results of their campaigning so far.
Just 40 Republican delegates will be up for grabs in the Hawkeye State in 2024 for the national convention. But since the state is the first in the nation, it offers candidates a unique chance to build momentum at the outset of the contest. Accordingly, candidates have invested heavily in the first nominating contest. But how they perform in Iowa alone won’t necessarily dictate the party’s nominee.
How do delegates work?
The delegates are allocated proportionally to each candidate. Those delegates will go on to the county convention, where delegates are elected to the district convention before the process continues for the state convention and finally the national convention, where they will join delegates from other states to select the party’s nominee for the November election at thethis summer in Milwaukee.
“So at the beginning of the process, it’s a little chaotic,” says Rachel Paine Caufield, professor and co-chair of the political science department at Drake University in Des Moines. “By the end of the process, of course, we know generally who the nominee will be, and oftentimes the state party organization at the state convention will direct our delegates to support whoever it is that’s going to get the nomination.”
How many delegates does a candidate need to win the nomination?
A candidate must receive the majority of their party’s delegates to win the nomination. For Republicans, there are nearly 2,500 delegates, and a candidate needs 1,215 delegates to win the nomination. For Democrats, there are around 3,900 delegates, and 1,969 are needed to win.
How will the caucus impact 2024 presidential nominations?
What Iowa lacks in sheer number of delegates, it’s historically made up for in outsized influence.
The first-in-the-nation contest generally offers bragging rights and a boost to the winners, while a disappointing performance often sifts out trailing candidates.
While for Democrats, who are set to meet only to conduct party business on Monday, the caucuses will have little impact on their nominee, Iowa’s caucuses pose a major test for the Republican presidential hopefuls.
Though former President Donald Trump is favored to walk away with the most support in Iowa, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley are in a heated race for second place in the state. DeSantis in particular has bet big on Iowa, while Haley’s focus has been more on the New Hampshire primary to come on Jan. 23.