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Democratic Party officials are considering adding another meeting before meeting in August to decide which states will be allowed to hold early primaries starting in the 2024 cycle, including which states will go first.
The meeting would likely take place the week of July 17, according to James Roosevelt, co-chairman of the Rules and Regulations Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) (RBC).
“We have a lot to discuss among ourselves, I think, before our meeting in August,” Roosevelt said at an RBC meeting on Friday in Washington, DC.
The panel is also gathering more detailed information from states to provide to the 32-member committee, who will select up to five states to hold early primaries. The RBC is due to meet Aug. 5-6, when it will likely make its decisions on which states will hold early primaries and order. The full DNC will take up the panel’s recommendations at its September meeting.
The meeting comes after 16 states, including Nevada, and Puerto Rico made presentations to the committee last month. The Silver State has dropped to third behind Iowa and New Hampshire in recent primary cycles, but is striving to move into first starting in 2024. South Carolina is traditionally fourth, the last state in the first window of the DNC.
The main criteria evaluated by RBC are diversity, competitiveness and the feasibility of holding a competition. Nevada Democrats have argued that the state is uniquely aligned with RBC goals.
And during the committee’s discussion of the primary schedule on Friday, some panel members indicated they agreed with Nevada officials, though they did not explicitly endorse any state.
“Why can’t we do more of what we’ve already seen to be successful?” said Tonio Burgos of New Jersey. “I think Nevada and South Carolina have had tremendous success. And I think we can do more.
Nevada became one of the first states in the 2008 cycle, part of the legacy of the late Democratic Senator Harry Reid, who lobbied for the state’s inclusion in the first window. The current push is led by former Reid staffers, including Rebecca Lambe, his longtime political adviser, in partnership with the Nevada Democratic Party.
Panelists said they want the early states to act as a melting pot that will best prepare the Democratic nominee for victory in the general election. They pointed to the fact that the current top four contests have combined to choose the winner by popular vote since 2008.
And members from Iowa and New Hampshire — the current first and second states — underscored that success, warning against any schedule changes that wouldn’t yield a better result.
“I really want the best process possible,” said Scott Brennan of Iowa. “We want the strongest possible candidate. I always come back to ‘shame on us if we change a process that has resulted in victories, for the sake of change.’
Joanne Dowdell of New Hampshire, possibly Nevada biggest rival for starters, warned of a potential negative effect on midterms in November, but did not elaborate.
“Any changes could really negatively impact the outcome of this midterm election,” Dowdell said. “Although this is a 2024 process, our decision may have an impact, not only in my state, but in other states across the country.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is in one of the toughest Senate races this cycle. Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) made the state presentation to RBC last month.
But New York’s Leah Daughtry argued the change is warranted given that Iowa and New Hampshire aren’t as diverse as the country.
“The Democratic electorate has changed enough that people in the communities I go to want to know why the makeup is like ours and why early states don’t reflect the base of the Democratic Party,” Daughtry said. “So I think it deserves a change, it deserves reviews. I don’t think it’s an exercise in futility or exasperation to say it’s time to consider changes to our process.
Mo Elleithee of the District of Columbia agreed, saying early involvement of underrepresented constituencies, such as Latinos, African Americans, and Asians and Pacific Islanders, would strengthen the candidates.
“We all see if elections change, demographics change, coalitions change and if we don’t get voters in these new coalitions, in these changing coalitions in some of these new emerging battleground states, if we don’t don’t get them to our candidates earlier in the process, we’re putting ourselves at a disadvantage,” Elleithee said. “We’re tying our hands, we’re actually weakening our candidates.”
For a full look at the measures delegates supported or opposed this week, see The Nevada IndependentCongressional vote tracking and other information below.