Snowstorm causes chaos for candidates in Iowa: Republicans cancel events and brace for coldest caucus in decades with lows of MINUS ELEVEN degrees set for votes on Monday

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The Iowa caucuses are a week away with a blizzard messing up candidates’ plans in the state – and extremely cold temps predicted for caucus night 
  • Winter storm Finn started dumping snow on western Iowa Monday, with Nikki Haley having to pull out of her Sioux City event 
  • Several of former President Donald Trump’s surrogates had to nix their Iowa events including Mike and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as Roseanne Barr 

A week to go until the Iowa caucuses and the January weather has wreaked havoc on the schedules of the Republican presidential campaigns. 

Winter storm Finn started dumping snow in western Iowa overnight Monday, with a planned morning meet-and-greet with Nikki Haley at the Horizon Restaurant in Sioux City the first major casualty of the day – a move rival Vivek Ramaswamy mocked.

With former President Donald Trump back in Florida – and then headed to D.C. to appear in court Tuesday – his campaign had planned to blanket the state with surrogate appearances Monday and Tuesday.  

But thanks to inclement weather, the father and daughter team of Mike Huckabee and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders pulled out of Team Trump events Monday, while sitcom star Roseanne Barr, who was supposed to campaign for Trump Tuesday, got stuck in Hawaii.

In addition to the blizzard, which is supposed to drop between six and 12 inches of snow on some parts of the Hawkeye State, the forecast for Monday’s caucuses could be the coldest on record. 

Winter storm Finn started dumping snow on western Iowa overnight Monday, with 2024 Republican hopeful Nikki Haley’s a.m. event in Sioux City, Iowa cancelled due to the weather 

A volunteer for Nikki Haley's presidential campaign pulls up signs after her event at the Horizon Family Restaurant was cancelled amid a snowstorm, that is wreaking havoc on the Republican candidates' plans

A volunteer for Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign pulls up signs after her event at the Horizon Family Restaurant was cancelled amid a snowstorm, that is wreaking havoc on the Republican candidates’ plans 

A man shovels snow in front of the Horizon Family Restaurant, where Nikki Haley was supposed to have a Monday morning event in Sioux City, Iowa, which is located in the western part of the state

A man shovels snow in front of the Horizon Family Restaurant, where Nikki Haley was supposed to have a Monday morning event in Sioux City, Iowa, which is located in the western part of the state 

In Des Moines, a high of 5 degrees is expected, with the low currently predicted to reach negative 11. 

Caucuses are physical gatherings in which voters must be in line at their caucus sites by 7 p.m. sharp to participate. 

That means that caucus turnout can truly be impacted by bad weather. 

‘The usual caucus concern – other than cars not starting due to the frigid temps or the babysitter not showing up for the same reason – is what we have projected for this afternoon through tomorrow morning: a blizzard,’ Drake University Political Science Prof. Dennis Goldford told DailyMail.com. 

Goldford noted that the snow is expected to clear by caucus time Monday ‘but with Iowa weather anything can happen.’  

Goldford and fellow Drake University Prof. Hugh Winebrenner co-authored, The Iowa Precinct Caucuses: The Making of a Media Event, which chronicled how on caucus night in 1972, ‘Iowa was under siege by a fierce winter storm.’ 

The January 24, 1972 Democratic caucus was the first of the modern era, in which it became the first primary contest in the country.

A note sent out to reporters Monday said that Roseanne Barr, a Trump surrogate and former sitcom star, would not be able to attend an event on behalf of the ex-president in Iowa Tuesday due to 'inclement weather'

A note sent out to reporters Monday said that Roseanne Barr, a Trump surrogate and former sitcom star, would not be able to attend an event on behalf of the ex-president in Iowa Tuesday due to ‘inclement weather’ 

That year, at the Des Moines International Airport, the temperature got down to minus 4 degrees.  

That was the lowest recorded temperature for caucus night, according to numbers given to DailyMail.com by Justin Glisan, the State Climatologist of Iowa. 

In about a quarter of Iowa’s 99 counties, the 1972 caucuses were postponed by a day, with it postponed by two days in some cases, the book said. 

There was also snow in 1992 for the caucuses and cold temperatures in 2004. The low in 2004 got down to 2 degrees, the second lowest. 

In 2008, the low was 4 degrees. 

In 2016 and 2020 – when the caucuses were held in early February instead of January – the weather behaved. 

Already, candidates and surrogates have predicted that the frigid weather will actually benefit their cause. 

Former President Donald Trump told his crowd in Clinton, Iowa Saturday night that he was told the cold temps should help his cause. 'Why is that good? Because the other side will never vote, because they don't have any enthusiasm,' Trump said

Former President Donald Trump told his crowd in Clinton, Iowa Saturday night that he was told the cold temps should help his cause. ‘Why is that good? Because the other side will never vote, because they don’t have any enthusiasm,’ Trump said

Rep. Thomas Massie (left) told DailyMail.com that the frigid caucus-night temperatures would help Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (right), who joked Sunday at McDivot's Indoor Sports Pub that he didn't bring warm enough clothing for Monday's weather

Rep. Thomas Massie (left) told DailyMail.com that the frigid caucus-night temperatures would help Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (right), who joked Sunday at McDivot’s Indoor Sports Pub that he didn’t bring warm enough clothing for Monday’s weather 

During his campaign rally in Clinton, Iowa on Saturday night, Trump said he had bumped into Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann backstage, who told the ex-president it was going to be ‘good’ for him that it’s expected to be cold. 

‘Why is that good? Because the other side will never vote, because they don’t have any enthusiasm,’ Trump said. 

‘We won’t lose one vote beacuse our people, they use the term, will walk on glass. They’re not going to stay away. They’re going to walk on glass,’ he added to cheers from the crowd. 

At a campaign event Sunday afternoon for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his surrogate Rep. Thomas Massie predicted the cold would do DeSantis good.

‘I think the weather works in our advantage,’ Massie told DailyMail.com. ‘I think our supporters are more dedicated and I think that the other candidates have sort of a little bit of astroturf support that will get killed off or frosted by zero degree weather.’ 

DeSantis opened Sunday’s Grimes, Iowa event at McDivot’s Indoor Sports Pub by joking that he, personally, wasn’t prepared.  

‘I started bragging a little bit because I was like, you know, 35 degrees, honestly, I can deal with that, no big deal, I can do – and then it got a little colder today. And then I looked at the weather forecast for caucus night,’ DeSantis said to laughs. 

‘I’m going to have to go shopping and get some extra layers. I don’t have that stuff,’ the Florida governor said. 

Despite Monday’s snowfall, Ramaswamy said he planned to still do his Iowa campaign stops, including in Sioux City, where several inches of snow were already sticking to the ground. 

About 40 to 50 potential supporters ended up attending, a campaign spokesperson said. 

‘You know campaigns are cancelling events today, not us. We have multiple events planned across northwest Iowa, we’re keeping them intact. If you can’t handle the snow, you can’t handle Xi Jinping,’ Ramaswamy said in a video taken on his campaign bus en route to western Iowa. 

‘I know that Nikki Haley and others couldn’t handle it. Well let them do it their way, we’re doing it our way,’ he continued. 

‘Let’s man up a little bit,’ Ramaswamy said, adding at his Sioux City event that the candidates who cancelled were like a ‘wilting flower.’ 

Ramaswamy also predicted that the freezing weather on Monday would give him a caucus advantage. 

‘Look, what do we know? Human beings come out a little bit less when they’re cold,’ Ramaswamy told reporters. ‘I think it’s going to work to our advantage. Many of my supporters are not tepid supporters. The people who are supporting me are supporting me because they believe in the vision I’m offering for this country, not because they’re just absorbing something from the mainstream media’s narrative of the way this race is going to go.’ 

Ramaswamy, who is 38 years old, said he anticipated bringing out a lot of first-time caucusgoers. 

‘I think the Ramaswamy tsunami is not going to be deterred by the cold weather,’ he said. 

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