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Libertarian Party of Iowa announces it will hold caucuses Jan. 15

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Libertarian Party of Iowa announces it will hold caucuses Jan. 15

Sep 22, 2023 | 4:42 pm ET
By Robin Opsahl
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Libertarian Party of Iowa announces it will hold caucuses Jan. 15
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Libertarian presidential candidate Chase Oliver spoke at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox Aug. 19, 2023. (Photo by Robin Opsahl/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

The Libertarian Party of Iowa announced Friday it plans to hold its presidential caucuses Jan. 15, 2024 alongside the state’s Republican and Democratic caucuses.

Jules Cutler, chair of the Libertarian Party of Iowa, said in a statement that the party plans to hold events that reflect Libertarians’ “commitment to genuine representation and a bottom-up approach to politics.” The Jan. 15 caucus will host both a presidential straw poll for caucusgoers to choose a presidential candidate, as well as a meeting on party business.

Holding it the same day as Iowa Republicans and Democrats will allow “Iowans of all political affiliations to actively participate in the presidential selection process,” according to party news release.

“This is an exciting moment for liberty enthusiasts in Iowa,” Cutler said. “By holding our caucus on the same day as the other two major parties, we are not only respecting the tradition of the Iowa Caucus but also amplifying the importance of individual voices in our political process.”

The Libertarian Party qualified to become an officially recognized state party during the 2022 midterm elections, when Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Rick Stewart won more than 2% of the vote. Meeting that threshold allowed the party to hold state-run primary elections as well as appear as an option on Iowa’s voter registration forms.

That designation is not permanent. The Libertarian Party presidential nominee must also meet the 2% threshold i the 2024 general election for the state party to keep its status. The party had previously won official recognition in 2016 when Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson won 3.8% of the Iowa vote, but lost it during the 2018 midterms when Iowa candidate Jake Porter failed to meet the 2% mark in the governor’s race in Iowa.

There are at least eight candidates running to become the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2024, according to LPedia, a website run by the national Libertarian Party.

One of the candidates, Chase Oliver of Georgia, spoke at the Iowa State Fair in August. Oliver gained national attention in 2022 when his candidacy for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat was considered a factor in forcing a runoff between Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate Herschel Walker. Oliver asked Iowans to reject the “false political binary.”

Cutler said the Iowa Libertarians hope to show there is an appetite for a third-party option among voters while holding the first-in-the-nation contest.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to kick off the presidential nomination process for the Libertarian Party,” Cutler said. “As the party of liberty, it’s fitting that Iowa should lead the way in giving voice to the millions of Americans who are frustrated with the two-party duopoly.”