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Tipsheet

DNC Shakes Up 2024 Presidential Primary Schedule and Iowa Dems Aren't Happy

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Democratic National Committee's Rules & Bylaws group met on Friday in Washington, DC to take up the business of their party as they turn their focus from the 2022 midterms to the next presidential election cycle in 2024, namely the schedule for state primaries that ultimately determine who the party nominates at their convention. 

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After Biden remained mum on what should happen to the existing primary and caucus schedule in a move that some Democrats called "Kabuki theater," the president broke his silence before the Rules & Bylaws committee began considering the question with a plan to upend what has been the norm for the Democrats' primary process. 

Ultimately on Friday, the Democrat party leaders voted to advance the plan that President Biden proposed, but in doing so snubbed states that have long taken pride in their "first in the nation" status.

Biden's plan that was passed by the Rules and Bylaws Committee — despite the objections of two members (from Iowa and New Hampshire) — created the following 2024 Democrat early-state primary schedule:

The shaken-up schedule isn't without further challenges, however. Each state has different laws governing primaries, which varying requirements that could cause conflict between state Democrat and Republican parties — the RNC already voted to stick with the previous early-state schedule and can sanction state parties that buck the approved calendar — as well as among those responsible for setting the dates in each state.

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Democrats in the five early states for 2024 have until January 5, 2023 to certify or provide an update on their efforts to make necessary changes in order to hold their 2024 primaries on the dates approved by the Rules & Bylaws Committee, or they will lose their early status and have to hold their primaries in the window during which all the other states hold primary contests. 

In addition to the changes for the 2024 primary calendar, the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee also moved ahead with a plan to review their early state primary schedule ahead of each presidential election cycle, rather than fully committing to the new schedule for the next several cycles. 

Perhaps most notably, the Iowa caucuses will no longer be the first fray in which Democrat hopefuls compete in 2024, a fact that Iowa's Scott Brennan tried to warn his fellow party leaders against. "While I support the guiding principles established by this committee and reinforced by the president, I cannot support the proposal before us," he declared. "Small, rural states like Iowa must have a voice in our presidential nominating process," he argued. "Democrats cannot forget about entire groups of voters in the heart of the Midwest without doing significant damage to the party for a generation," Brennan said during discussion on the new schedule that ultimately took the mantle of "first" away from Iowa, which had been the first stop for contenders since 1972. 

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Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa also blasted the DNC for abandoning his home state in its early lineup, saying on Twitter it was "the WRONG THING TO DO."

Nevada's Artie Blanco also shared some concerns about sharing a primary date with New Hampshire under the new schedule calling it "not ideal," but said Nevada Democrats would "accept that and accept what the will of the president is." But New Hampshire also lost a "first" title now that it will share the day with Nevada, after being the first primary stop for Democrats since 1920. 

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