March 29, 2023

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The Iowa caucuses have been the first “nominating event” in every presidential election cycle in the United States for 50 years while New Hampshire has staged the nation’s first presidential election-year primary now for a century.

As of Nov. 17, 2022, that means the 2024 presidential campaign “officially” kicks off in 445 days with the Feb. 5, 2024 Iowa caucuses followed by New Hampshire’s primary, preliminarily set for Feb. 13, 2024.

Critics in both parties, but especially Democrats, have long contended that Iowa and New Hampshire, with relatively small and predominately white populations, are not demographically representative of the nation as a whole. 

Despite moves by state legislatures to push primaries to earlier dates on presidential election-year calendars, Florida most notably between 2008-12, the lineup has remained the same since 2016: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina.

But that could change in 2024.

DNC Pondering New Primary Plan 

The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Rules & Bylaws panel will meet Dec. 1–3 in Washington, to discuss proposals from 16 states bidding to host the first 2024 presidential primary or, at least, move their “nomination events” forward on the calendar.

The DNC in April agreed to allow state parties and Democratic groups to apply for earlier primary dates. Twenty organizations from 18 states made presentations in June with the panel to issue recommendations in August. 

In July, however, the DNC postponed that decision until after the Nov. 8, 2022 midterm elections, scheduling the vote for its December meeting.

After a dozen state legislatures adopted bills  between 2008 and 2014 to push their primaries to earlier dates, the DNC and Republican National Committee (RNC) agreed on revised primary rules in 2016.

Those rules prohibit primaries before Feb. 1 and allow only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada to schedule preliminary contests before March.

In addition to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, Democrats in 14 other states—Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington—made June pitches to the panel.

By John Haughey

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