White House

Iowa GOP leaders sign pledge to stay neutral in ‘16 caucuses

Iowa’s Republican Party leaders have signed a pledge to stay neutral in the 2016 Iowa presidential caucuses, an attempt to convince potential candidates that the party will welcome all contenders.

The Iowa Republican Party in recent years has been torn between supporters of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a 2012 presidential contender and father of possible 2016 hopeful Rand Paul, and those more loyal to longtime Gov. Terry Branstad.

Some potential candidates have considered skipping the caucus, traditionally the nation’s first major test of presidential electoral strength. The caucus in recent election years has been held in early January.

In a statement Wednesday, the party said that the pledge, which it called unprecedented, is “intended to send a clear signal to potential presidential candidates: all are welcome in Iowa, and the caucus process will be a fair and impartial one.”

Among those signing were Chairman Jeff Kaufman, Co-Chairman Cody Hoefert and the members of the State Central Committee.

The pledge says: “No member of the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee, its Officers, or its Staff shall publicly endorse a U.S. Presidential Candidate during the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.”