CLINTON — Clinton County voters met for the 2018 Iowa Caucus on Monday night as they gear up for the upcoming primary and mid-term elections.
County Democrats and Republicans met despite the winter weather advisory, as there is neither a state nor federal policy allowing the postponement of caucuses due to weather. This year – an "off year" rather than a presidential election year – votes were cast for party committee members and delegates.
The precincts, eight in Clinton, are meant to elect two people to serve on the County Central Committee, choose delegates for the Clinton County conventions in March and propose platforms and party resolutions to be decided at the conventions.
In mid-term caucuses, candidates are not chosen until the primary election.
Despite the weather, both parties' officials were pleased with the turnout.
"(It) really tells us how important the upcoming primary and election will be," said Eric Van Lancker, Clinton County auditor and commissioner of elections.
The caucus serves as the beginning steps for the parties rallying behind candidates for local, state and federal leadership. The Clinton County Democrats talked about taking back the Iowa Legislature and laid out steps to "kick off an unprecedented election cycle," said Bill Jacobs, Democratic Party chairman.
Dan Smicker, Clinton County Republican chairman, said that despite the weather, there was more participation than ever before. Through electronic communication, he said, more than he has seen, people are wishing to be delegates and committee members.
On Tuesday, a group of Republican Party members organized the platform and nomination paperwork to be compiled and submitted at the district level.
The Republican Party is looking for as many candidates as it can find. The bigger the reach, the "better the debate," said Mark Reiland, Central Committee member and chairman of the Republican Communication Committee.
Steve Wehling, a member of the Clinton County Democrats, echoed the importance of community involvement in any election.
"This is how we do it, by participating," he said.