The turnout for this year’s frigid Iowa caucuses was the lowest in years, with nearly 80,000 fewer people showing up to vote compared to the state’s last contested Republican caucus in 2016.
The Iowa GOP announced this morning that 110,298 total votes were counted across the state’s 99 counties. That is down from 186,932 in 2016 and 121,503 in 2012, according to statistics from The Des Moines Register.
“We had a fabulous turnout, and the weather I don’t think affected this at all,” Gary Nystrom, the chair of the Boone County Republican Party, told The Washington Post, which also reported the turnout in 2008 to be 119,207. “People were excited to be out. Iowa people take this really serious.”
“People may think we’re crazy but we’re used to cold weather,” Nystrom added.
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People walk past a Nikki Haley sign near a caucus site to choose a Republican presidential candidate at Fellows Elementary School in Ames, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 15. (Reuters/Cheney Orr)
The National Weather Service said in a post on X Monday that “Today is turning out to be the coldest Iowa caucus day in history, dating back to 1972.
“Highs thus at Des Moines (+1°) & Waterloo (-1°) have been 15 & 16 degrees colder than the previous coldest caucus day,” it continued.
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People arrive to participate in the Republican presidential caucus at the home of Silver City Mayor Sharon McNutt and her husband Gary in Silver City, Iowa, on Monday. (Reuters/Scott Morgan)
On Monday, wind gusts topping 20 mph were forecast to create real feel temperatures near -20 degrees in Iowa, according to Fox Weather.
“When it’s that cold, and you’re also talking about things that happen at night, this is not a ‘go out the middle of the day type of thing,'” David Richards, an associate professor and political chair at the University of Lynchburg in Virginia, told Fox Weather. “It’ll tend to turn some people off. And I think if you are a more casual participant, you might be turned off by the elements.”
Signs in support of Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, Republican presidential candidate and former President Trump and Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis are displayed at a caucus site at Horizon Event Center in Clive, Iowa, on Monday. Ramaswamy later suspended his campaign following the caucus and endorsed Trump. (Reuters/Sergio Flores)
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“I just can’t help but think that -20 degrees is going to give some people pause, so it’s going to be a dangerous situation,” Richards also said. “I think it’s very different than, ‘Oh, it’s raining, and I don’t want to get wet.’”