PHILADELPHIA — Democrats will make their plans to reorder the 2024 presidential primary calendar official at a party gathering on Saturday in Pennsylvania.
The national party’s rule-making arm green-lit a calendar in December that makes South Carolina the intial contest, elevates Nevada to the second position alongside New Hampshire and welcomes Georgia and Michigan to the early primary window for the first time.
Iowa’s caucus, which has traditionally served as the starting-gun for the presidential election, is being displaced.
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Democratic National Committee members could vote to approve the proposed changes as soon as Saturday morning.
New Hampshire Democrats have aggresively fought the shift, citing a decades-old law that requires their state to have the first primary. Democrats are in the minority in the state legislature, and Republicans in New Hampshire are unwilling to pass new legislation.
“New Hampshire will still hold the first-in-in the nation primary, whether or not the DNC approves of it or not,” Ray Buckley, the state party chair, told reporters, during a Friday press conference in Philadelphia.
Buckley said the political dynamic in the state leaves New Hampshire Democrats in an “impossible, no-win position.”
If the state does not meet the DNC’s demands, it will lose delegates to the national convention and President Joe Biden, should he run for a second term, would be sanctioned if he appears on New Hampsire’s primary ballot.
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Biden intervened to solve intra-party squabbling over the matter last year after Democrats delayed their decision on the line-up until after the midterms. He pressed members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC in a letter to adopt his reccomended calendar to amplify diverse voices earlier in the presidential selection process.
Party officials who sit on the panel that acted on Biden’s reccomendations been unphased by New Hampshire’s arguments. States that stand to gain from the calendar changes have also refused to back down.
“You can have a primary (where) nobody shows up,” South Carolina party chair Trav Robertson told USA TODAY. “I mean, if you have a party, and nobody shows up, it’s not a hell of a party.”
Biden pushed for South Carolina to have the first contest and for Georgia and Michigan to receive to be able to hold their primaries earlier.
Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said the DNC panel had been discussing changes to the schedule before Biden weighed in.
“Now, clearly, the president had his ideas about what it looked like. But we were committed to having states up front that were representative of our country, representative of people of color, representative of states where the labor movement is strong, where we can bring those folks to the table,” Saunders said. “It didn’t happen overnight.”
Biden steered clear of the dispute as he addressed DNC members during a Friday evening speech, where he was ushered on stage to chants of “four more years” and hinted at a reelection announcement.
At a January meeting prior to the Philadelphia gathering, the Rules and Bylaws Committee voted to give New Hampshire and Georgia more time to meet the requirements to hold early contests after both states missed an initial deadline.
Georiga Democrats are negotiating with Republicans in the state to move up their primary date, but unlike New Hampshire, the only penalty they face for failing to make the change is having a later contest.