Three days until the Iowa Republican caucuses

Welcome to the Friday, January 12, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Iowa to hold first Republican presidential nominating event on Monday
  2. Update on this year’s ballot measure certifications
  3. #FridayTrivia: How many members of Congress have announced they’re not running for re-election in 2024?

Iowa to hold first Republican presidential nominating event on Monday

On Jan. 15, Iowa Republican voters will decide the country’s first presidential nominating contest of the 2024 cycle. The caucuses are set to begin at 7 p.m. local time. 

Candidates do not typically need to file to be eligible to participate in the caucus. We expect the following six noteworthy presidential candidates to be in the running on Monday—DeSantis, Haley, Trump, Ramaswamy, businessman Ryan Binkley, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Iowa will have an estimated 40 delegates up for grabs, and they will be allocated proportionally. To win the Republican nomination, a candidate must receive support from a majority of delegates—around 1,235.

Learn more about the Iowa caucuses here.

On Jan. 10, Republicans held their fifth presidential debate at Drake University, in Des Moines. Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participated in the debate. Former President Donald Trump was the only other candidate who qualified, but he participated in a Fox News town hall held at the same time instead.

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderated the event. Click here to read summaries of what each candidate discussed.

The seventh and eighth Republican presidential primary debates are both scheduled in the days before the New Hampshire Republican primary on Jan. 23. ABC News is hosting a debate on January 18 and CNN is hosting another debate on Jan. 21.

The last debate was held Dec. 6, 2023, and featured DeSantis, Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie suspended his campaign hours before the Jan. 10 debate.

Iowa Democrats will also hold a caucus on Jan. 15 to conduct party business like electing delegates to the national convention. However, this year presidential preference voting will be conducted by mail, with the results of the mail-in election set to be released on March 5. 

These changes are the result of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) new early presidential primary schedule, which moved Iowa out of the early primary window and put South Carolina first, on Feb. 3. In 2020, the Iowa Democratic Party delayed releasing the caucus results due to inconsistencies and reporting issues. 

Despite the DNC’s primary schedule, New Hampshire will hold both Republican and Democratic primaries on Jan. 23. State election officials cited a state law requiring their primary to occur at least a week before similar elections. Consequently, President Joe Biden’s (D) name will not appear on ballots in New Hampshire (though supporters could vote for him as a write-in candidate). Click here for a list of candidates who will be on the ballot. 

Following New Hampshire’s Republican and Democratic primaries, here’s what the schedule looks in February:

  • South Carolina Democratic primary (Feb. 3)
  • Nevada Democratic primary (Feb. 6)
  • Nevada and U.S. Virgin Islands Republican caucuses (Feb. 8)
  • South Carolina Republican primary (Feb. 24)
  • Michigan Republican and Democratic primaries (Feb. 27)

In 2020, the first four states to hold primaries were Iowa on Feb. 3, New Hampshire on Feb. 11, Nevada on Feb. 22, then South Carolina on Feb. 29. 

Click below to stay up to date on the 2024 presidential election.
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Update on this year’s ballot measure certifications 

Over the next year, we’ll bring you regular updates on the latest statewide ballot measure certifications. Let’s see how things look as of January’s second week.

So far this year, 55 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the ballot in 25 states. That certification rate matches the average for this point in the election cycle from 2012 to 2022. During this period, an average of 157 statewide measures were certified in even-numbered years. Since 2011, an average of 34 measures were certified in odd-numbered years. 

Here’s a rundown of the latest activity:

No new measures were certified for the ballot during the previous two weeks. One certified measure—the California Fast Food Restaurant Minimum Wage and Labor Regulations Referendum—was withdrawn. This was the first veto referendum withdrawn in the state under a law passed in September 2023. 

Signatures have been submitted and are pending verification or another pre-certification action for four initiatives in Alaska, Michigan, and Florida:

In Massachusetts and Washington, enough signatures were verified for 12 indirect ballot initiatives for them to appear before their respective state legislatures: 

In Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington, initiated state statutes are indirect, meaning the initiative is first presented to the legislature. Legislators then have a certain number of days, depending on the state, to adopt the initiative into law. In Michigan and Washington, when legislators take no action or reject the initiative, it’s put on the ballot for voters to decide. In Massachusetts, petitioners collect a second round of signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

In Florida, the process is direct—the initiative goes to the ballot after signature verification.

The next signature deadline for citizen initiatives is Jan. 16, in Alaska, where signatures could be filed for an initiative to repeal the state’s system of top-four primaries and ranked-choice voting (RCV), in addition to a minimum wage initiative.

Click below to read more about 2024 ballot measures.  

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#FridayTrivia: How many members of Congress have announced they’re not running for re-election in 2024?

In the Thursday Brew, we wrote about our most recent episode of On the Ballot, our weekly politics podcast, which dives deep into congressional retirements in 2024. Staff writer (and Brew scribbler!) Juan Garcia de Paredes discusses the recent surge in retirement announcements and shares some of the reasons incumbents have given for why they’ve decided not to run.

Here’s some historical context: in the 2022 cycle, 41 members—six Senators and 35 House members—had announced at this point they would not seek re-election. Thirty-eight members had done so at this point in 2020, and 40 had done so in 2018. 

As of this writing, how many members of Congress have announced they’re not running for re-election in 2024?

  1. 41 
  2. 28 
  3. 45 
  4. 52