WASHINGTON — Democrats are poised to abandon Iowa and move toward Michigan in their 2024 presidential primary schedule, according to several Democratic officials involved in the process.
Party members debating the future of their nomination process have been anxiously awaiting news from the White House ahead of a key meeting on Friday, with a senior official saying it was “safe to say” Michigan was President Joe Biden’s preference. .
New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are likely to retain their top spots, while Iowa would lose its top-in-the-nation status. Many experts expect Michigan to follow the other three states.
The reorganization, which party members hope will be formally proposed at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee that begins Friday, is aimed at simultaneously increasing the influence of non-white voters in the nomination process and ensuring Democrats elect standard bearers who can compete effectively. against the Republicans in the battleground states.
“I want our primary process to reflect the direction of our party,” said a committee member. Michigan offers racial and ethnic diversity, as well as a mix of urban, suburban and rural voters, this person said, adding that “Iowa just doesn’t have that.”
Final ratification will take place at the next full DNC meeting early next year, but White House endorsement paved the way for the new plan.
Michigan, which has been seen as a top contender for weeks, is a Midwestern battleground state, critical for Democrats’ so-called Blue Wall, and has the racial, economic and geographic diversity Democrats said they are seeking. . It is also much larger than any of the other primitive states.
Democrats also flipped the Michigan Legislature, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won re-election last month., securing state support for the new primary date. Michigan State Senate voted Tuesday to move his presidential primaries to the second Tuesday in February, one month before his 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 would be a great fit,” Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Michigan, told NBC News on Thursday.
While Nevada is expected to retain its place as first in the West, it would be a disappointment to top party and political officials if it is not first, who were perhaps the most aggressive in their attempts to supplant New Hampshire to become first. the first in the nation.
“You can come to this state when you run for president and [if] your message resonates and you win Nevada, then that message will carry you across the country.” Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said in an interview. “Nevada is a microcosm of the rest of the country.”
South Carolina, which propelled then-candidate Joe Biden to a top contender in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, also retained its place as first in the South.
Dozens of other states submitted bids to join the early states, which are given permission by the Democratic and Republican parties to hold their nominating contests before the rest.
Democrats have been in the process of revising their calendar since 2020, when Iowa Democrats failed in their caucuses, a debacle that followed years of criticism that the increasingly Republican state is too red politically and too white demographically to perform. such a critical role in the selection of Democratic candidates. .
In his three White House runs, Joe Biden has never performed well in Iowa. He fired up in the state in 1998, won less than 1 percent of the caucuses in 2008 and ranked fourth in 2020.
As president and leader of his party, Biden’s opinion carries weight, though most expect him to run essentially unopposed for the Democratic nomination in 2024.
The Republicans still plan to take Iowa, which has had coveted first-in-the-nation status since the 1970s. That means the two parties will have different presidential primary maps for the first time in years.
Some in Iowa have threatened to hold their caucuses early regardless of what the DNC says, but states that try to disrupt or disobey the national party risk losing representation at national conventions, where presidential candidates are formally selected.
The DNC refused to seat half of the delegates from Michigan and Florida in 2008 after the states moved their primaries forward without authorization.
sahil kapur contributed.