In American politics, the word caucus has two meanings.

  • A meeting to nominate the party's candidate for a political office is called a caucus. This differs from a primary, where the candidate is elected by the larger public (to an extent; see that WU for details). In smaller counties or districts, virtually all nominations may be done by caucus; in a larger area, delegates from the smaller component areas (e.g. precincts for a county/district election, counties for state, states for national) will be elected by their local organizing committee to go to the higher-level caucus.
  • In legislatures (like Congress, its component houses, or state legislatures and their houses), the caucus is a subgrouping of legislators with one particular interest. Generally, each party will have a caucus (although members of the caucus may not belong to the party; see Rep. Virgil Goode), then smaller caucuses may exist like the Congressional Black Caucus or the House Technology Caucus.