DNC taps SC for 1st primary to dismay of Iowa, New Hampshire

Politics

FILE – A sign marks the entrance to a voting precinct on the first day of early voting in the general election in Phoenix, Oct. 12, 2022. Arizona Latinos responded to a tough crackdown on immigrants by building a turnout machine that helped propel Democrats to power. The movement’s strength will be tested Tuesday, when Democrats are counting Latino voters to help them overcome economic worries. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(NewsNation) — The Democratic National Committee overwhelmingly supported a proposal to kick off its party’s presidential primaries in South Carolina, followed by Georgia and Michigan, starting in 2024.

The move would push the traditionally first-in-the-nation races in Iowa and New Hampshire out of that spot and could impact who jumps in the race and how campaigning is done. 

Although the party made its wishes clear, the move won’t be official until each state’s legislatures vote to set rules and election dates. 

“This is what our party looks like, this is what America looks like,” said Stuart Applebaum, a DNC representative from New York.

Proponents say the move prioritizes the diversity of the party, starting with races they believe better reflect the party nationwide. 

“This is a bold window that reflects the values of our party, and it is a window worth fighting for,” said Washington, D.C., DNC rep Minyon Moore.

The vote came shortly after President Joe Biden offered his endorsement of changing the primary calendar. In a letter to the DNC, he emphasized moving diverse states to the front of the process, which he says gives voters of color more of a say. 

“For decades, Black voters, in particular, have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process. … It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and … (to) give them a louder and earlier voice in the process,” he wrote.

While the national party has spoken, Democrats in New Hampshire and Iowa say they aren’t ready to give up their spots at the front of the line. 

“I think it misses the point. It does not acknowledge the significant changes we decided to make to the Iowa caucuses,” said Scott Brennan, Iowa’s DNC representative. 

Ray Buckley, party chair for New Hampshire, issued a statement earlier in the week stating, “The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary and it is not theirs to take away.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu — a Republican — also criticized the decision, putting blame on the president. 

“It’s a terrible disservice by Democrats to try and strip Granite Staters of the first in the nation status that they have worked hard and earned time and time again,” Sununu said. 

South Carolina would become the first primary race of the process. The state handed Biden his first win in 2020 on the way to his party’s nomination. Prior to that victory, Biden fared poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

The president has said he intends to run for reelection in 2024, but would make a formal decision next year. 

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