In the middle of winter, Iowa is known to have some cold conditions. As a lifelong resident, I remember when high temperatures did not exceed the negatives and low temperatures reached the negative twenties and thirties. And do not even get me started on the wind chill.
This winter has been surprisingly warm and snowless up until this past week. This has made for very little conflict with presidential campaigns and weather in Iowa. This changed last week before the caucuses as two winter storms blew through Iowa, dropping double-digit snow totals across the state. The snowstorm on Tuesday caused many cancellations in campaign events for some candidates. Due to the major storms, Nikki Haley canceled events on Jan. 9th and Jan. 12th. Donald Trump canceled his event on the 9th featuring both Mike Huckabee and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
While others cancel their events, Vivek Ramaswamy doubles his commitment to his stops. On Friday, Vivek posted a Tweet where he traveled through the blowing snow to meet with Iowans. “Iowans are still showing up in the middle of a blizzard,” he stated.
Snow is not the only weather campaign Iowans are embracing in the final days before the caucuses; record-low temperatures are also expected in the coming days. This cold brings the question of whether Iowans will venture out on Monday evening to caucus for their preferred candidate.
Throughout the many months that the campaigns have ventured across Iowa, I have seen many Iowans who strongly believe in their candidate, and they will show up come Monday. Because of this, I do not see a very low turnout, but it may be lower than in 2016 when there was a contested Republican caucus. Iowans are used to this type of weather and are often politically engaged, and because of this, I think they will venture out to schools, churches, and community spaces to voice their support for candidates.
However, the Iowa caucuses are hard to predict, so there may be an unexpected turnout. Weather will play into whether people get out to caucus, and in the more urban areas, roads may be better suited for people to make it to their caucus site. Because of this urban and rural divide, seeing who will perform better in the cities and suburbs will be interesting.