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Tipsheet

Dems Still in Disarray and Confusion Over South Carolina Primary Status

In recent weeks, Democrats have come out in favor of granting South Carolina the first in the nation status when it comes to primaries. President Joe Biden himself indicated support in a letter that Spencer covered at the time earlier this month, and his plan was approved by the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee. Iowa, which currently holds that status with its caucus, won't even be included in the top five states if a proposed timeline takes effect. This is supposedly because Iowa isn't diverse enough. Not all Democrats are on board, though. Several New Hampshire Democrats made their displeasure known about their state potentially losing its early status by boycotting the White House Congressional ball. They're not the only ones who have different suggestions, though for different reasons. 

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That Biden championed South Carolina raised eyebrows, considering his primary win there in March 2020 after a slew of disappointing finishes in other states was key to him getting the nomination. He also has a cozy relationship with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) who carries a lot of influence in the state. 

Such chatter is the subject of a new piece out today from Hanna Trudo at The Hill, who writes that "Democrats mull alternative to South Carolina amid divisions over first-in-nation primary."

In what amounts to "informal talks," there's been discussion about Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina as possible alternatives. “There are still conversations happening behind the scenes about this," Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is quoted as saying. "I think there’s a process right now of conversations happening, people getting ducks in a row, and seeing if there’s a collective effort to make this push."

On South Carolina, Trudo writes that "It’s not that Democrats don’t like his choice, but many see more viable options that check the same boxes and offer more benefits--and are now finding themselves in uncomfortable opposition to the administration."

There's still a preoccupation with the first in the nation state having diversity, as this is the Democratic Party we're talking about, after all.

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Much of the article spends time discussing potential merits of the three states mentioned above. Surprisingly, there's very little mention of the discontent out of New Hampshire and Iowa Democrats, who objected to Biden's proposal, as Spencer mentioned in his reporting. It's merely an aside in Trudo's piece. 

"Like others supportive of nixing Iowa and New Hampshire from their top perches, Ceraso says there are plenty of reasons to allow the Palmetto State to go first," Trudo writes, referring to Democratic Strategist Michael Ceraso. South Carolina, Ceraso believes, "has paid its dues" and "Clyburn has earned it."

New Hampshire not being further mentioned also means that the opposition from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) did not make it into Trudo's report. Julia Mueller had reported on the New Hampshire Democrats' reaction earlier this month for The Hill. 

Hassan and Pappas both tweeted out from their personal accounts earlier on Thursday their piece in the Boston Globe making the argument as to why New Hampshire should be at the front of the list. Under Biden's proposal, it would go on February 6, as would Nevada. The piece was also co-authored with Shaheen and Annie Kuster (D-NH).

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While the discontent of states losing their early states continues to go ignored, it's safe to say Democrats can likely expect to remain in disarray and confusion.

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