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Biden stirs up primary fight by pushing South Carolina into first place

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is recommending that South Carolina, the state that elevated him to the lead in the 2020 primary, kicks off the 2024 Democratic race, according to a leading Democratic source familiar with the plan.

In doing so, he has sparked a frenzied battle between competing early states that are apoplectic about the proposal.

The proposed injunction would end the running of the Iowa caucuses. Instead, South Carolina would go first, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on the same day, followed by Georgia and then Michigan, according to two senior party officials.

New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley got howled by the plan, who first told NBC News that his state would be the first primary anyway.

The Democratic National Committee “didn’t give New Hampshire the nation’s first primaries,” Buckley said. “It’s not for them to take away. We’ll hold our primaries first.’

South Carolina, however, was delighted.

“It seems Joe Biden is trying to transform not only America, but the way we elect presidents, and his impact will be felt for generations to come,” said South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Trav Robertson.

The White House has drawn up a plan, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed by NBC News, in which Biden asked for a schedule that would include the South Carolina primary first, followed a week later by New Hampshire and Nevada and then Georgia and then Michigan.

In a letter Thursday to the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, Biden, who did not specify his order of preference of states, wrote: “For decades, Black voters in particular have formed the backbone of the Democratic Party, but are being pushed to the back of the Democratic Party.” Party pushed. the early primary process.”

He also said Democrats should “no longer allow caucuses as part of our nomination process,” dealing an expected blow to Iowa.

NBC News reported earlier in the day that officials were poised to drop and advance Iowa Michigan on their presidential primary calendar starting in 2024, according to several Democratic officials involved in the process.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H., called the White House plan “short-sighted” and pledged Thursday to uphold the state’s tradition of holding a first in the nation, citing a state statute that dictates that New Hampshire must hold its primaries seven days earlier than any other state.

“It is disgraceful that the White House’s short-sighted decision threatens to fragment candidates’ attention, denying voters crucial opportunities to engage with candidates and hear their views and policy priorities,” Shaheen said in a statement.

“As frustrating as this decision is, it has no bearing on when we choose our primary date,” she added. “We look forward to hosting candidates in New Hampshire for the 2024 presidential primaries.”

Party members debating the future of their nomination process anxiously await word from the White House ahead of a key meeting on Friday.

The reshuffle, which party insiders expect will be formally proposed at a meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee beginning Friday, is designed to simultaneously increase the influence of non-white voters in the nomination process and ensure that Democrats elect standard bearers who can effectively compete with Republicans in battlefield states.

“I want our primary process to reflect our party’s direction,” says one committee member. Michigan offers racial and ethnic diversity, as well as a mix of urban, suburban and rural voters, this person said, adding, “Iowa just doesn’t have that.”

Final ratification won’t come until the next full DNC meeting early next year, but the White House’s approval paved the way for the new plan and the elevation of certain states.

After news of the proposed state order emerged, Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan indicated she was pleased to see her state included in the first five contests, while pointing out that the list is still weeks away.

“This hasn’t been done,” she said in a phone interview, noting that it’s “going to be tough” to get it through the full DNC.

Michigan, which has been seen as one of the top contenders for weeks, is a Midwestern battlefield state crucial to the Democrats’ so-called Blue Wall, and it has the racial, economic, and geographic diversity that Democrats said they were seeking . It is also much larger than any of the other early states.

Democrats also flipped the Michigan legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer won re-election last month, guaranteeing state support for the new primary date. The State Senate voted Tuesday to move the presidential primaries to the second Tuesday in February, one month earlier than the current date.

“It’s something that people have been pushing for for a long time. I think it would be great for our state. I think we’re a great fit,” said Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., Thursday.

While Nevada was slated to retain its spot as first in the West, top political and party officials in the state expressed disappointment that it was not first. Nevada Democrats were perhaps the most aggressive in trying to replace New Hampshire as the primary primary.

Democratic senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada voiced their opposition to Biden’s recommendation, emphasizing their state’s status as a presidential battleground, in contrast to scarlet South Carolina.

“We firmly believe that the first presidential nominating contest should be held in a competitive, pro-labor state that supports voting access and reflects all of America’s diversity — in other words, a state that truly aligns with the DNC’s own priorities for updating the calendar,” the senators said in a statement Thursday evening. “This proposed new order for the early states ignores the broad coalition of national organizations and leaders calling for Nevada to go first, and instead elevates a state that doesn’t meet the criteria to start this process.”

“We hope that this proposal will be amended and improved to address these serious concerns,” they added.

In an earlier interview, Cortez Masto said Nevada is “a microcosm” of the US

“You can get into this state if you run for president and [if] your message resonates and you win Nevada, then that message will carry you through the rest of the country,” she said.

Dozens of other states have submitted bids to join the early states, which have been allowed by the Democratic and Republican parties to hold their nomination contests ahead of the rest.

Democrats have been revising their calendar since 2020, when Iowa Democrats botched their primary, a debacle that followed years of criticism that the increasingly Republican state is too politically red and demographically too white to play such a critical role in selecting Democratic candidates. nominees.

In his three White House runs, Biden has never performed well in Iowa. He flamed out in the state in 1998, winning less than 1% of state deputy equivalents in 2008 and finishing fourth in 2020.

As president and leader of his party, Biden, whom most expect to run essentially unopposed for the Democratic nomination in 2024, weighs heavily.

The Republicans still intend to hold on to Iowa, which has held the coveted status of first in the nation since the 1970s. That means the two sides will have different presidential primary cards for the first time in years.

Some in Iowa have threatened to hold their primaries early regardless of what the DNC says, but states that try to align or disobey the national party risk their representation at the national conventions, where presidential candidates are formally selected, to lose.

The DNC refused to seat half of the delegates from Michigan and Florida in 2008 after the states moved their primaries without authorization.

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