Which state will go first?
A panel of the Democratic National Committee is expected to make that decision by Saturday – likely toppling Iowa from its first-in-the-nation status in the presidential nominating process.
President Joe Biden weighed in Thursday, giving a strong indication of where the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee is headed. The group has meetings scheduled all day Friday and Saturday to discuss the proposal, which replaces Iowa in the leadoff spot with South Carolina and adds Michigan and Georgia into the mix.
Republicans have already set their 2024 presidential nominating calendar, keeping Iowa first.
We’re covering all the twists and turns of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee as they meet in Washington, D.C. and discuss Biden’s proposal. Follow us here to learn the latest:
Biden wants South Carolina to replace Iowa as first in the nation in selection process
President Joe Biden finally weighed in on the selection process Thursday, recommending a massive overhaul of the presidential nominating calendar that would have South Carolina replace Iowa in the leadoff position and elevate Michigan and Georgia into the mix.
Biden has proposed that South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan make up the early voting window.
“Our party should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process,” Biden said in a letter dated Dec. 1 to the committee. “We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window.”
New Hampshire, which by law holds the first primary, immediately pushed back, with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan calling Biden’s proposal “misguided.”
“New Hampshire’s law is clear and our primary will continue to be first in the nation,” Hassan said. “New Hampshire does democracy better than anywhere else.”
The development chagrined Iowa Democrats.
“Small rural states like Iowa must have a voice in our presidential nominating process,” Iowa Democratic Party chair Ross Wilburn said in a statement. “Democrats cannot forget about entire groups of voters in the heart of the Midwest without doing significant damage to the party for a generation.”
Iowa Republicans to Iowa Democrats: Fight for the caucuses
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann is calling on senior Iowa Democrats to speak up in defense of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses.
So far, major party figures such as former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have not publicly defended Iowa’s caucuses or their place on the nominating calendar.
“On the Republican side, Republican officials and I worked as a team to ensure that the longstanding tradition of the Iowa caucuses was preserved,” Kaufmann wrote in an op-ed in the Des Moines Register. “But Republicans cannot help save this process for Democrats.”
Although Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn has promised to “fight like hell” to protect the caucuses, many rank-and-file Iowa Democrats have approached the issue with more of a collective shoulder shrug.
Some acknowledge that it may be time for another state with more racial diversity to take over. Others say they cannot continue expending energy on protecting the caucuses when they should be focusing on reclaiming the seats they’ve lost to Republicans in recent years.
An October Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed a majority of Iowans say it would be best for Iowa to continue holding the first presidential nominating contest, though a growing share says it would be better if some other state or states took over.
That sentiment is more pronounced among Democrats, the poll showed.
Rules committee gathers in Washington with no signal yet from the White House
Members of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee began gathering in Washington, D.C., Thursday evening, attending a private dinner before public meetings are set to begin Friday.
The committee is expected to make a proposal this week that will reshuffle the presidential nominating calendar after months of hearings and deliberations.
“We do have a leader of our party, and that is President Biden. So we know that there will be a way in from the White House,” said Artie Blanco of Nevada, a member of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee. “Our goal is to have the best calendar that gives our president — when he’s running again — what it looks like for us and for future candidates.”