Iowa Democrats appealed to the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday to let the state keep its early spot in the party's presidential nominating process, citing a need to have nominees pay attention to rural issues.

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee voted last month to reopen the contest for which four states would be allowed to hold caucuses or primaries before the first Tuesday in March. The decision, spurred by concerns that the two early voting states in particular — Iowa and New Hampshire — don't adequately represent the party’s diversity, puts all of them at risk of losing their spots on the calendar. 

The Iowa Democratic Party wrote a letter to the DNC, urging the national party to grant Iowa one of its four available waivers for the state's caucuses. the letter argued that Iowa, which has a state law requiring it to hold a caucus no later than the fourth Monday in February, is an important gateway into rural America for Democratic presidential nominees.

“It is crucial that potential Democratic nominees hear the voices of rural Democrats and learn firsthand about the economic, social, and cultural issues that are impacting their lives,” wrote Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn. “... If, as Democrats, we wish to protect and expand our electoral map, presidential candidates must continue to hear these voices.”

As the first major event in the Presidential election cycle, the Iowa caucus has historically had a great influence on candidates’ prospects in the race for Presidential nominee. Nearly all of the major nominees since Jimmy Carter have campaigned heavily in the state and as a result, have given regional policy issues like biofuels considerable national power.

The 2020 iteration of the event, however, was a disappointment to national Democrats, many of whom saw low turnout, logistical problems and delays in counting the results as a sign that the state should lose its spot as first in the nation.

In the letter, Wilburn promised to reform how the state’s Democratic party conducts the caucuses and offer more options for participation. He also argued that the state’s primary is the key way for Democrats to garner the attention of voters in rural Republican districts during a press call.

“It's no secret that the party’s been losing seats across the country because of a weakened appeal to rural working class Americans and to maintain the white house and make gains in Congress,” Wilburn said. “We can't afford to ignore this group of Americans and Iowans. If we win Iowa, we win across the country.”

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