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HAYWORTH: Kaufmann sees Iowa caucus race breaking late

HAYWORTH: Kaufmann sees Iowa caucus race breaking late

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Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said the 15-candidate race to win the Iowa caucus contest will break late, as a wide number of people likely to caucus still haven't come to a conclusion.

"Iowa is wide open," Kaufmann told the Journal on Friday, as part of three days in Northwest Iowa to check in at the Sioux City state party office and to handle fundraising.

In the late September Public Policy Polling result, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson were the only three polling above 10 percent in Iowa. The other 12 candidates were in single digits and, while some seem to have adopted an Iowa-bypass or Iowa-lite plan, many are working the state with frequent stops. In the week ahead, Republicans Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will speak in Sioux City.

People after candidate events regularly tell the Journal they are still picking from two to four Republicans. The caucuses, which are the first contest in the presidential nominee selection system, will take place Feb. 1.

Kaufmann said it made sense for the Iowa Republican Party to create the first satellite office outside Des Moines in Sioux City.

"Sioux City will play a pivotal role in Iowa going red in the presidential race," he said.

But Kaufmann admitted surprise that no Republican candidates have opened an office in the city. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders have offices in Sioux City. Kaufmann figured some Republicans will make the office-opening move, which he said makes it easier to reach people in Siouxland.

"I don't think you can overestimate the major urban area (Sioux City) in all of Northwest Iowa," he said.

Kaufmann said he's heard that Republicans in Iowa like the outsiders (Trump, Fiorina and Carson have never won elective office) but also say they place value on executive office experience that some of the governors have. Kaufmann said the outsider ethic might trump everything as 2015 moves to decision time in 2016.

"Even if you are a part of Washington, you better darn well be a part of Washington that is advocating for change and rocking the boat," Kaufmann said.

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