Iowa Democratic Party chair steps down after caucus move

Ross Wilburn has announced he will not run for re-election as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party.
Published: Dec. 18, 2022 at 9:38 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The head of the Iowa Democratic Party plans to step down in the wake of a vote by the national party to put the South Carolina primary ahead of Iowa’s caucuses, which have long been the first presidential nominating contest in the country.

Ross Wilburn announced Saturday that he won’t run for reelection as party chairman in January.

“No one can predict the future. But I have the utmost faith that whoever takes up the mantle next will guide our party with grace through the challenges ahead, as we all continue to work on growing our party and electing Democrats who will fight for the ideas we know are supported by a strong majority of Iowans,” Wilburn said in a statement.

In addition to losing their first-in-the-nation status, Democrats lost several key races in the state last month as Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley cruised to reelection and two longtime Democratic office holders lost their positions.

The next chairman will lead Iowa Democrats as they decide whether to comply with the national party’s decision or follow a state law that requires the caucuses to be held at least eight days before any other presidential nominating contest.

If the state party doesn’t go along with the national party’s decision, Iowa Democrats will run the risk that its delegates will not count toward the national nominating total.

Wilburn, who was the party’s first Black chairman, will remain a state representative.