~ DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - While there has been little fanfare, the 2014 Iowa political calendar effectively begins Tuesday night at the precinct caucuses for both parties.
These organizing meetings - which kick off a series of party events, culminating with the state conventions in June - tend to mostly attract loyalists in non-presidential election years. But party leaders are urging Iowa residents to participate, insisting that coming out on a chilly January night really does matter.
Democratic Party Executive Director Troy Price says the people who participate this year "help us carry out the presidential caucus in 2016."
The caucuses begin a process of building a volunteer base that sets the tone for the elections in 2014 and starts organizing in advance of the 2016 presidential election in the early-voting state of Iowa.