Democrats prepare to ramp up presidential primary schedule

States like Michigan and Minnesota are trying to get in, while Nevada is making a play for first in the nation over New Hampshire. The committee is still open to the possibility of adding a fifth schedule to the slate, while it has been suggested that the two states could hold their matches on the same day. It’s unclear how much will change. But there is at least one clear preference from many Democratic leaders outside and inside these party debates: that Iowa be stripped of its coveted top spot.

“I don’t think there’s any way Iowa should stay, there’s no reason Iowa should stay,” said one Democrat familiar with the process of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, the group charged with reordering the calendar. “Electorally, we’ve completely lost Iowa.”

Later this week, the Rules Committee will meet again in Washington, D.C. to discuss the issue. They are expected to move forward with a proposal for the 2024 presidential nominating calendar at the meeting, which will go before the full DNC vote in late January or early February, according to sources familiar with the agenda.

But there is frustration among some DNC members about the White House’s silence.

“If the president says in the initial window that he wants this state or that state, I am going to support it because he is the leader of the party and I will imagine everything else. [rules committee] member feels the same way,” said one DNC member, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak out. “So it’s frustrating when we’ve invested so much time, energy and money into this whole process, and the White House has given us nothing and we only have days to make a decision.”

“It’s almost like Kabuki theater,” the man continued.

Some of the outstanding questions facing the DNC were reframed by November’s midterm results.

One is which state will replace Iowa, which represents the Midwest in the early-state order. Both Michigan and Minnesota are seen as leading contenders for the slot, positions further strengthened by November’s results. Democrats swept both chambers of Michigan’s state legislature and re-elected Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, while Democrats in Minnesota took trifecta control there by flipping the state Senate and re-electing Gov. Tim Walls.

Those victories clear the way for both states to legally change the date of their primaries, removing the logistical hurdles they would have faced without those results. Walls, along with other state leaders, sent a letter to DNC members this month affirming his state party’s commitment to passing such legislation, saying Minnesota is “the most representative approximation in the country, coupled with a strong state and local party infrastructure. Engaged voters, and a logistical and financial advantage for campaigns.” “

Representative Debbie Dinkel (D-Mich.), who has led the charge to raise his state’s mandate on the nomination calendar, said in a letter to his state’s midterm committee that he would make it his “primary focus” going into the early window. Bid for an open seat at the DNC.

“The core groups that Democrats must lobby to win national elections are the backbone of our state,” Dingell wrote in his letter. “Michigan is a very diverse battleground state, and a microcosm of America.”

Several DNC members said they think Michigan currently has an edge over Minnesota. But Michigan could face pushback because of its large size, some members say, adding that the committee has often raised in previous meetings that states need to be small and small enough for lesser-known candidates to campaign and win.

“The big hesitation Michigan supporters ask: Are they too big? Will they dwarf the other three?” Another DNC member said. “But Michigan did everything we told them to get in.”

Michigan supporters point to the state’s low-cost media markets, such as Flint and Grand Rapids. But Detroit, the largest market, still has millions of dollars to pitch to voters as part of the presidential campaign.

Iowa, for its part, is still fighting. Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Ross Wilburn sent a letter to the Rules and Legislation Committee Monday evening outlining his party’s plans for an effort to simplify a convoluted and difficult caucus system that exploded in 2020 — an “all-mail ballot expression of presidential preference.” , efforts to tabulate the results broke down during the caucus night.

“Giving a voice to rural states like Iowa is critical” and “the party cannot abandon an entire swath of voters in the heart of the Midwest without damaging the party for a generation,” Wilburn wrote in the letter. Politics.

But Iowa, an increasingly Republican-leaning state, doesn’t fit well with criteria set by the DNC, which aims to prioritize racially, economically and geographically diverse states competing in general elections.

If Iowa loses its influential spot on the calendar, it will be part of Nevada’s pitch, leapfrogging New Hampshire. In A note to DNC membersNevada Democrats have argued that its small but diverse population and its narrow margins in general elections prove its suitability for the early window.

“Nevada going first will help Democrats win future presidential elections more than any other state under consideration,” said the late Sen. wrote Rebecca Lambe, a former top adviser to Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

New Hampshire, meanwhile, could be argued that its small size and close general election history have produced strong presidential contenders for a century. It also relies heavily on its own state laws, which mandate that the state be the primary in the nation and give officials the latitude to change the primary date from year to year to ensure it remains so.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley He told WMUR he doesn’t trust the group Approve drastic changes based on “my conversations with members”.

Whatever the DNC decides to do, it will represent a fundamental break with Republicans after nearly two decades of a more connected calendar.

Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee voted to reaffirm its current lineup of primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. If a state tries to cross the line, the RNC will allow those states to remove some of their delegates.

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