Dodd, Richardson Snipe Over Caucus Pledge

In a letter to Democratic campaigns in Iowa Thursday, Sen. Chris Dodd’s state director urged fellow state managers to keep out-of-state volunteers and campaign staffers from directly participating in the Jan. 3 precinct caucuses.

The letter drew an immediate rebuke from Richardson’s state director, Shari Fitzgerald, who has caucused in every caucus since 1972. “I am an Iowan and it is not just my right, but my duty as a citizen to participate in my caucus. It is unfair to try to disenfranchise any Iowan from this critical process,” she said.

Dodd’s state director, Julie Andreeff Jensen, responded: “The intention of this pledge is to ensure that Iowans, and only Iowans, are participating in the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd, and the Richardson campaign knows that. It's disappointing that they would entirely reject the priority of protecting the integrity of the caucuses, rather than working with us to alleviate any concerns they may have about specific individuals.”

Who’s right?

Excluding campaign staffers from being counted as caucus leaders means that several of the larger campaigns would be put out – some of their precinct captains happen to be field organizers – Iowans one and all.

And there’s a worry that the larger campaigns could have imported folks from out of state, changed their voter registration, and made them Iowans for the sake of the caucus. Last cycle, Democrats signed a pledge banning all out of state volunteers.

A side note: the real reason the Dodd campaign sent the letter today: they want to draw attention to the effort by Clinton and Obama’s campaigns to bus in supporters from out of state.