Biden wants South Carolina to have first primary in 2024
President Biden wants South Carolina to have the first nominating contest in 2024, followed by Nevada, New Hampshire, then Michigan and Georgia — an unexpected proposal that upends nearly two years of debate among party leaders about how Democrats should choose nominees in the future.
The proposed change, unveiled in a letter Mr. Biden sent to members of a Democratic National Committee group tasked with setting the rules of the road for the party’s schedule and nomination process, would allow “voters of color” to have a voice much earlier in the nominating process, the president wrote.
“I became a politician because of civil rights and the chance to make our imperfect union better.” he stated. “I have made no secret about my conviction that diversity is essential for the Democratic Party to win elections and to govern effectively. “
“For fifty years, the first month of our presidential nominating process has been a treasured part of our democratic process, but it is time to update the process for the 21st century,” the president added.
South Carolina, which has a large Black population, played a pivotal role in helping Mr. Biden clinch the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, after he had a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses, and New Hampshire and Nevada primaries.
The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) will be holding two days of meetings to make recommendations on the 2024 calendar beginning Friday in Washington. The current order of nomination contests is Iowa (New Hampshire), Nevada, South Carolina, and Nevada.
Since 1972, when Iowa and New Hampshire were first given the top slots, Iowa has chosen the eventual Democratic nominee eight times, and New Hampshire has picked the nominee nine times.
Trav Robson, the chair of South Carolina Democratic Party, said Thursday night to CBS News that Mr. Biden’s push to have South Carolina go first “will be felt for a very, very long time.” “
“His influence on our country in how we choose a president will last for generations,” Robertson stated.
Robertson acknowledged Biden’s strong ties with South Carolina politics but didn’t know anything about Biden’s promises to move the state up.
Robertson stated that he believed his state presented a “very strong case” to the RBC during its presentation earlier this year. Robertson pointed out that the Democratic voter base is distributed across the state, with South Carolina being the winner in the presidential nominating process. “
To counter any criticisms that South Carolina isn’t competitive enough to be the first in the nation state, Robertson cited the split media markets that South Carolina has with North Carolina and Georgia, two battleground states. Robertson also pointed out that South Carolina’s candidates who won the nomination used the infrastructure of the state to ensure they had volunteers traveling to Georgia, North Carolina, or Florida. “
Robertson used the example of Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock against Republican challenger Herschel Wade. Their race has gone to a Dec. 6 runoff election.
” The number of South Carolinaans coming over to Warnock’s reelection campaign is unbelievable, not only this time but also the last,” Robertson stated. “That wouldn’t have worked without the investment in our primary process in South Carolina.”
Mr. Biden became the first Democrat to win Georgia in decades after defeating then-president Donald Trump in this reliably red state. Georgia had not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.
Mr. Biden’s proposal was however swiftly rebuffed by Democratic leaders in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.
“It is extremely disappointing that the president failed understand the unique role New Hampshire plays as the first primary state in our candidate selection process,” New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen stated in a statement. “As frustrating as this decision is, it holds no bearing over when we choose our primary date: New Hampshire’s state law stipulates that we will hold the ‘First-in-the-Nation’ primary. This status will not change as we are bound to State statutes.
Fellow New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen called this proposal “misguided.”
“We will continue to hold the First in the Nation primary, and this status is not affected by the president’s proposal nor any political organization,” Shaheen stated in a statement. “I look forward welcoming Democratic and Republican candidates in New Hampshire — just as we have always done. “
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn stated in a statement, “Small rural States like Iowa must have an opportunity to participate in our Presidential nominating process. Democrats cannot forget whole groups of voters in the middle of the midwest and not do significant damage to the party over the next generation. “
In a joint statement, Nevada Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto stated that the “proposed new arrangement for the early states ignores the broad coalition national organizations and leaders calling to have Nevada go first and instead elevates a country that doesn’t meet these criteria to begin this process.
Michigan officials, however, were excited about the possibility that their primary could move up. Lavora Barnes, Michigan Democratic Party Chair, and Debbie Dingell, Representative of Michigan, had lobbied for Michigan’s early primary state status.
” We have always maintained that the White House can only be reached through the heartland, and President Biden is aware of that,” they said together in a joint statement.
The Washington Post . first reported the news.
Sarah Ewall-Wice contributed to this report.
Aaron Navarro works as an associate producer at CBS News’ political unit. He focuses on House and gubernatorial elections, as well as census and redistricting.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.