Biden pushes South Carolina into the first primary state, elevating Georgia and Michigan


President Biden asked Democratic National Committee leaders to make South Carolina the nation’s first primary state, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada a week later, and subsequent weekly primaries in Georgia and Michigan.

The tectonic decision to remake his party’s presidential candidate calendar for 2024 shocked party officials and state leaders, who had been lobbying hard in recent weeks for a spot on the previous calendar, which historically draws millions of dollars in candidate spending and attention. . While many in the party have long expected changes, the specific order Biden has proposed hasn’t caused any buzz in Democratic circles. Much of the talk among Democrats has focused little on South Carolina going first or Georgia joining the primary mix.

With the support of the party leader, the proposal is likely to win approval from Democratic Party officials. Breaking with decades of tradition, Biden’s move would signal his party’s commitment to boosting demographic, geographic and economic diversity in the early nominating process. Iowa, a largely white state that historically hosted the nation’s first Democratic convention in 2020 and has experienced embarrassing problems tabulating results in 2020, will have no initial role in the Biden plan.

In a letter to members of the Rules and Legislation Committee issued Thursday evening, Biden wrote, “We need to ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee very early and throughout the early window to meet for dinner.” As I said in February 2020, black, brown and “You cannot be the Democratic nominee and win the general election unless you have the overwhelming support of voters of color, which includes Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.”

The new calendar will run through states that will play a key role in the 2020 nomination fight and the general election victory for Biden, and he says he is serious about following through on his public statements about seeking re-election. In Thursday’s letter, Biden told fellow Democrats he doesn’t want to tie the party to the same calendar in 2028.

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“The Rules and Regulations Committee should review the calendar every four years to ensure that it continues to reflect the values ​​and diversity of our party and our country,” he wrote.

The plan is expected to face opposition from some of the affected states. Democrats in New Hampshire said Thursday night they won’t bow to Biden’s wishes. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, has said he will follow state law and hold his state’s primary a week earlier than other states.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement, “The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first in the nation, and it is not theirs to take away.” “This news is obviously disappointing, but we will hold our primary first. We have survived past attempts over decades and we will survive this.

Sen. Gene Shaheen (DN.H.) called the Biden nomination “very disappointing.” Sen. Maggie Hassan (DN.H.) said in a statement that it was “deeply misguided”.

Iowa Democrats also voiced opposition to the plan. “It’s just a suggestion,” said Scott Brennan, Iowa’s representative on the Rules and Regulations Committee. “We’re going to stand up for Iowa in the process.”

Democrats will need Republican support in Georgia to move the state’s primary calendar. In Nevada, a Republican governor will take office next month, complicating efforts to change the date in that state. The Republican Party has already committed to the traditional order for 2024, allowing four states to go ahead of all others: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

In rules passed this summer, Democrats gave their chair the ability to remove delegates, debate access and access to data from candidates campaigning in unauthorized states. The leadership also has the power to remove state delegates from the nominating convention if they violate party rules.

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“It is a principled decision. Basically, he felt it was an opportunity,” said one Biden adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity and described the president’s decision to prioritize states with diverse electorates more openly. “He’s done it with the Supreme Court. He’s done it with his cabinet and administration. He felt it was very important.

The Michigan delegation hailed the news as a success.

“This president knows that any road to the White House has to go through the heartland of America,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who helped lead her state’s effort. “For me it was a 30-year quest,” he said, referring to the late Sen. to get the state in the early calendar. He mentions his work with Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

South Carolina Democrats also welcomed the news.

“President Biden appears to be turning our country around,” South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Drew Robertson wrote in a text message. “He is changing the way we appoint presidents. He will have a lasting impact on America.

The plan must be approved by the Rules and Legislation Committee, which meets Friday and Saturday at a Washington hotel, and then by the full Democratic National Committee in February, Democratic officials said.

In recent weeks, Biden has spoken privately with officials in Nevada, New Hampshire and Michigan about his plans. Democratic officials said he discussed his thinking with committee co-chairs James Roosevelt Jr. and Minyon Moore on Wednesday.

Senior Democrats began General meeting in March After top officials close to Biden made clear their displeasure with the Iowa caucuses, the state, which has struggled to count results in 2020, bypassed Biden’s campaign to discuss overhauling the nomination calendar. General elections became less competitive and were spent in a state that did not reflect the diversity of the party and the country. Weekday evening caucuses also ensure limited participation rather than primary participation.

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In recent cycles, Iowa has been the top pick for Democrats, followed by New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Iowa will hold the nation’s first nominating convention under current state law. In his letter to the committee, Biden said he does not believe caucuses should be allowed in Democratic nomination efforts.

Iowa Democrats have not said whether they will move forward with the first-in-the-nation panel if Republicans are kicked out of their party’s nominating order. After the rest of the country joins the nomination process, they may hold the nomination committee they currently plan to hold by mail.

Earlier this year, party executives adopted guidelines to restructure the calendar to prioritize states that promise to hold primary elections, demonstrate general election competitiveness and are demographically diverse. They also set a goal of adding at least one state from New England, the South, the Midwest, and the western parts of the country. But they also acknowledged that Biden’s opinion will be key to their final decision. Sixteen states and Puerto Rico eventually provided explanations to Democratic officials about why they should go so early in the process.

Democrats in Michigan say they can move the primary date if they have full control of state government. Nevada Democrats are hoping they can control their primary date despite the election of a new Republican governor next year. The decision marked a setback for Democrats in Minnesota, who had campaigned hard for Michigan to be Iowa’s Midwestern replacement.

“I got into politics because of civil rights and the potential to make our imperfect union better,” Biden wrote to the group on Thursday. “For fifty years, the first month of our presidential nomination process has been a treasured part of our democratic process, but it’s time to revamp the process for the 21st century.”

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