The 2014 Iowa political calendar effectively begins Tuesday night at the precinct caucuses for both parties.
These organizing meetings kick off a series of party events, culminating with the state conventions in June. They tend to mostly attract loyalists in non-presidential election years.
The caucuses begin a process of building a volunteer base. That party faithful 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.
Attendance is expected to be much lower than in presidential years. Republicans had more than 120,000 attend the 2012 caucuses, when there was an open primary. More than 200,000 Democrats participated in the 2008 caucuses, the last time there was an open Democratic presidential primary.