The freezing temperatures are expected to push some potential voters to stay home rather than risk the dangerous journey to polling locations.
Campaign events have continued to decline as quickly as snow in Iowa, as winter weather hampers the state’s leading GOP caucus, with Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump shuffling their schedules ahead of the Presidential votes on Monday.
Sustained freezing temperatures, combined with strong winds, foreshadow potentially life-threatening conditions on the night when Republican voters gather to choose their 2024 nominee.
Iowans are used to the cold, though the latest blast of winter, combined with temperatures threatening to dip further into negative territory in the coming days, could mean unprecedented conditions on the night of the caucus itself.
By early next week, temperatures are likely to break cold records and keep potential voters at home.
Nikki Haley canceled three events that had been scheduled for Friday in the central and eastern areas of the state, moving them instead to teletown halls where, unlike her in-person events held earlier this week, Haley answered questions from caucus-goers .
Volunteers from AFP Action, the political arm of the powerful Koch network that supports Haley, were out meeting caucusgoers in the storm on Friday. Senior Advisor Tyler Raygor noted that “knocking on doors in the snow takes longer,” but that also made it more likely that people were home.
DeSantis postponed four events Friday that had been planned for cities farther from Des Moines, citing unsafe weather conditions. He campaigned north of the capital with Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday, saying he was impressed by those who were there.
Less than an hour before DeSantis’ event with Reynolds, the Iowa State Patrol posted a weather warning on social media. “Please do not put yourself or others in danger,” it reads, adding that road conditions are “extremely dangerous!”
The Des Moines office of the National Weather Service, meanwhile, posted white-out conditions of lifted truck trailers littering interstates as much of the state was under a blizzard warning.
Trump — who has not wavered in Iowa over the past week, choosing instead to appear in court in Washington and New York — on Friday moved a handful of rally events planned for the weekend in central and western Iowa to televised rallies, with his campaign posting the modified schedule “out of an abundance of caution amid severe weather warnings.”
“Wear a coat,” joked Trump senior adviser Chris LaCivita when asked about concerns about the weather in the coming days. He also noted that the campaign has “contingencies” in place, including drivers to take people to caucus sites.
With the storm approaching and the almost otherworldly cold expected to arrive later, Iowa Republicans said Friday there were no plans to change the timing of this year’s caucuses.
Iowa GOP spokesman Kush Desai said the party has held caucuses before “during all types of weather events.” Desai said state Republicans are keeping an eye on the situation but “have not yet entertained anything drastic” in terms of postponing any votes.