DNC Rules Panel Sets Stage for Changes to 2024 Primary Lineup
WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws panel this week voted to allow for changes to the order of presidential primaries in 2024, and invited states interested in moving up to early-state status to submit a letter of intent by early May.
Iowa has held the nation’s first electoral event of the presidential cycle — the Iowa Caucus — since 1972, and New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation primary for even longer, since 1920.
Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina all have waivers from the national party to hold their nominating contests before the rest of the country, for now.
But under the plan adopted by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee all four states will now have to proactively make the case for why they should be reinstated to their current positions, and they’ll have to do so in a field that includes any other states that want to hold early contests.
The move is the latest domino to fall as a result of Iowa’s disastrous 2020 Democratic caucuses, which featured delayed results due to technical difficulties.
Before the caucus, there had long been complaints that Iowa doesn’t represent the party’s diversity. Afterward, many in the party groused that the state failed to appreciate its plum position and botched the caucus as a result.
And being in the mix of early voting is indeed a plum as the early-going is the only time there’s any real retail politicking by the candidates, guaranteeing their presence, and the money and media attention that accompany a national campaign.
Under the new rules, states wanting to move up in the primary election calendar must submit a letter of intent by May 6, and follow that up with a formal application by June 3.
They will also be required to make a presentation to the committee in late June. Then, the rules committee will have six weeks to make its recommendation on the new early-state lineup, which will likely be announced at its meeting in early July.
Later this summer, the rules committee’s roster of states will go to the full DNC membership for a vote to lock in the calendar for the 2024 presidential cycle.
In order to address some of the long-standing complaints about a lack of diversity among voters in Iowa, and New Hampshire as well, the resolution endorsed by the Rules and Bylaw Committee includes a formula for considering new states that will take racial, ethnic, and even regional diversity into account.
One amendment adopted Wednesday night would require each region of the country to have at least one nominating contest before the first Tuesday in March 2024, when all other states will be able to hold contests.
A handful of states have already indicated they plan to apply to move to or near the front of the line, with representatives of Iowa’s Democratic party vowing to fight to hold its position.
“Iowa will absolutely be applying to be in the early window and we will look forward to enthusiastically making our case,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn said in a statement.
“The Iowa Democratic Party will also be engaging with numerous stakeholders all over Iowa to explore substantive changes to the caucuses that would make them more straightforward, transparent and accessible, addressing concerns that some members of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee have expressed,” Wilburn said.
And New Jersey Democrats sent a letter to DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison in mid-March arguing that they should go first, emphasizing the state’s racial and geographic diversity.
Minnesota Democrats have also signaled their interest in applying to host one of the first presidential nominating contests in the 2024 presidential campaign, as have Michigan and Nebraska.