WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Democratic Party on Saturday delayed a decision on potentially reordering its primary calendar for the 2024 presidential election until after November's midterm elections.
The Democratic National Committee's rules committee had planned to decide during meetings in Washington beginning next week whether to recommend that presidential voting should continue to begin with Iowa and New Hampshire. That's amid calls by some party leaders and activists that more diverse states, including the current No. 3 and No. 4, Nevada and South Carolina, should move up.
The committee was also mulling adding a fifth early primary contest prior to “Super Tuesday” when a large number of states traditionally vote.
But rules committee co-chairs Jim Roosevelt Jr. and Minyon Moore wrote in a memo to members that “after speaking with many of you over the past several weeks about the last few steps of this process, it has become clear that the best way to move forward with the final stage of this process is to postpone the committee’s decision on the pre-window rule until after the midterm elections.”
The committee will still meet beginning Friday, but now doesn't plan to make a decision until after Election Day, Nov. 8 — meaning that the primary calendar decision won't affect key congressional races.
Iowa and New Hampshire had argued that possibly losing their positions going first and second could hurt Democrats in the states' top races, especially since the Republican Party has already said Iowa will continue to lead off its 2024 primaries.
Iowa has held the first in the nation title since 1972, but technology issues in the 2020 caucuses led the DNC to question whether Iowa would continue its tradition.
Iowa Democrats pushed to keep their first caucus status in June by proposing changes such as enhancing non-present participation, getting more professionals involved in the process and more.
“Following the midterm elections, we will reconvene to update our evaluation of the applicant pool and work towards a final decision to present to the full DNC for a vote, which DNC leadership has assured us they will make happen as soon after the midterm elections as is possible,” Roosevelt and Moore wrote, adding that “we will continue to work with applicants in the coming weeks to hammer out final details.”
Sixteen states and Puerto Rico made presentations before the committee to be first — or at least in the top five, before the rules committee earlier this summer. The party is considering factors like diversity, electoral competitiveness and logistical feasibility in making its decision.
That means scrutinizing states’ racial and ethnic makeup, union membership rates and how big they are in terms of population and geography, can affect possibilities for direct voter engagement and the costs of travel and advertising.
Scott Brennan, the only Iowan on the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, told Local 5 that there is "no set date" for the decision's release.