EXCLUSIVE: Nevada Democratic Party Defies Biden’s Measure For South Carolina To Precede Its 2024 Primary
Arjun Singh on December 2, 2022
UPDATE: This piece has been updated to reflect the vote by the Rules and Bylaws Committee to move forward with Biden’s proposal, placing South Carolina first on the calendar in the 2024 primary. The Democratic National Committee’s final vote to approve the measure will take place in 2023.
- The Nevada Democratic Party has rejected Joe Biden’s demand that South Carolina have the first primary election in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary process, the Daily Caller News Foundation has exclusively learned.
- Biden released a letter on Thursday calling for changes to the primary process, which would put South Carolina ahead of states that he lost in the 2020 primary contest.
- Nevada, a battleground state in general elections, has been lobbying to displace Iowa as the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state, arguing that its diversity makes it better suited to choose a nominee.
The Nevada Democratic Party declined to support President Joe Biden’s call to change the 2024 Democratic presidential primary calendar, saying that it would continue to push for Nevada’s caucuses to be the first contest in the country, the Daily Caller News Foundation has exclusively learned.
“We will not be reversing our position,” said Gordon Brown, Communications Coordinator for the Nevada State Democratic Party, exclusively to the DCNF. The position comes following a letter sent by Nevada’s top state legislators to the Democratic National Committee disagreeing with Biden’s position.
“Nevada is a diverse, working class, union-strong battleground state with strong voting laws and an accessible size…Nevada going first will help Democrats win future presidential elections, more so than any other state under consideration,” wrote Rebecca Lambe, a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a memo before the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting in Washington, D.C. this weekend. The meeting, running until Saturday, will decide the 2024 presidential primary calendar. Nevada’s population is 30% Hispanic/Latino and 10% African-American, two heavily Democratic voting demographics, according to the Census Bureau.
However, Biden on Thursday was reported to have asked the DNC’s Rules & Bylaws Committee to place South Carolina first on the calendar, with subsequent weekly primaries in Georgia and Michigan, according to The Washington Post and confirmed by Scott Brennan, a member of the committee, to NPR. Biden’s demand, outlined later in a letter he later published, purports to change the primary calendar that has been in place for the last four presidential elections, where South Carolina has been fourth, after Nevada, while Georgia and Michigan hold primaries later in the year.
The Rules & Bylaws Committee voted on Friday in line with Biden’s proposal, putting South Carolina first with Michigan and Georgia within the first five states in the 2024 primary cycle. The measure needs to be approved by the full Democratic National Committee, which will meet next in 2023.
The Democratic Party has worked hard to reflect the diversity of America—but our nominating process does not. As @TheDemocrats‘ Rules and Bylaws Committee meets this week, here’s my letter on the principles I believe we as a party should allow to guide our process. pic.twitter.com/qR4oVSC8tR
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 2, 2022
Nevada Democrats have spent the last two years lobbying to advance the state’s primary contest, which has been endorsedby Democratic Sens. Alex Padilla of California, Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Democratic Rep. Judy Chu of California, who chairs the Asian-Pacific American Caucus. In 2021, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who recently lost re-election to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, signed legislation to replace caucuses with a primary election in the state.
In the 2020 Democratic primary, Biden performed poorly in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, placing fourth, fifth and second, respectively. However, he won South Carolina’s Democratic primary by a 30% margin after being endorsed by House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, which was followed by several victories to win the party’s nomination.
Should the DNC Committee approve Biden’s request, it would deprive Iowa and New Hampshire of the significant international attention they receive in advance of their primaries, being the first test for presidential candidates in election years. Victors in the two states usually advance to subsequent primaries, while those who perform poorly drop out of the race.
Iowa and New Hampshire also receive significant economic benefits from their positions on the calendar, with their tourism, hospitality, restaurant, technology and advertising industries generating enormous revenue. Iowa caucuses accounted for 14.7% of the state’s GDP in 2020, according to the Daily Iowan.
The White House and Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic Parties did not respond to a request for comment.
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