- The Des Moines Register will announce its presidential endorsements on Saturday night
- The publication is the flagship publication for the state and its editorial board has met with every candidate from both parties except Donald Trump and Ted Cruz
The Register's editorial board has interviewed every major 2016 Republican and Democratic candidate, some twice, with the exception of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
"They declined the board's invitation for an interview, but doing so did not disqualify them from consideration for the endorsement," according to a press release from the Register.
The endorsements will come as the race in the first-in-the-nation caucus state has tightened considerably: Republican candidate Ted Cruz leads Donald Trump by just three points
in Register poll released last week, and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton leads rival Bernie Sanders
by just two points.
It also comes as many Iowans begin to make decisions heading into the caucuses. In Register polls of likely caucusgoers released last week, 56% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats said they could still be persuaded to support another candidate as their first choice.
The Register has endorsed candidates since 1988, but hasn't necessarily chosen caucus winners in recent years. In 2012, the paper endorsed Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and Sen. Rick Santorum won the caucuses by a slim margin. In 2008, the paper endorsed John McCain and Hillary Clinton
, although Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama won in their respective parties.
The six-person editorial board has come to a consensus over the six-week interview process, according to Register executive editor Amalie Nash.
"Our goal was to select two candidates who have the skills and experience needed to lead their parties, and ultimately, the country," Nash said. "We considered their plans, their positions on issues, their resumes and their overall ability to lead. We looked at each candidate's record of accomplishment and ability to reach across the political divide to form consensus."