New Hampshire voters gathered to vote in the 2020 president primary on Feb. 11. Democrats are still trying to navigate national party rules for 2024. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A Democratic National Committee panel on Thursday gave New Hampshire another month to submit a primary plan that complies with the party’s new 2024 nominating calendar.
The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee met in Washington, D.C., to consider states’ primary and caucus plans and review delegate selection plans that were due in June. The plans were required to show that states will hold contests that comply with the rules set by the national party — including with the changes made to the early state lineup.
The new Democratic presidential nominating calendar would kick off with South Carolina, followed by New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan under the DNC’s proposal. But two of the states selected to hold early contests — New Hampshire and Georgia — have not been able to prove that they can comply with the Democrats’ new schedule.
The committee has given New Hampshire and Georgia multiple extensions to prove that they will be able to comply with the DNC’s requirements in 2024. New Hampshire Democrats have repeatedly protested the new calendar. While New Hampshire has long held its “first in the nation” primary contest after Iowa, Granite State Democrats say that order was agreed upon because Iowa holds caucuses while New Hampshire holds primaries.
As South Carolina also holds primaries, the new calendar will trigger a New Hampshire state law requiring that it holds the first primary in the nation, state Democrats have said. To comply with the national party’s proposal, the New Hampshire Legislature would have to reverse the 1975 law, which they said was unlikely to pass in the Republican-led body.
The committee voted to again extend the deadline for New Hampshire — this time to Oct. 14 — to receive an early state waiver upon showing they will comply with the national Democrats’ calendar.
“We committed at the outset of this process to allow for every opportunity for states to honor the opportunity of hosting their nominating contest within the early window,” RBC co-chair Jim Roosevelt of Massachusetts said. “We want to recommit to that principle and continue to work with the New Hampshire Democratic Party towards that goal.”
Roosevelt noted that New Hampshire’s delegate selection plan did not include a date for the primary.
Iowa Democrats to select caucus date
Under the DNC’s new rules, the Iowa caucuses have lost their status as an early state. Iowa Democrats have not given up on holding first-in-the-nation caucuses — but it’s complicated.
Iowa Democrats had previously said they plan to hold the upcoming caucus the same day as Iowa Republicans, which would violate DNC rules. However, Iowa Democratic Chair Rita Hart did not commit to holding the caucuses on the Iowa GOP’s chosen caucus date: Jan. 15, 2024.
The Iowa Democratic Party’s State Central Committee will vote Saturday on an in-person caucus date, a state party spokesperson told the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
Roosevelt said the RBC is working with Iowa Democrats to “navigate a system” that complies with the new calendar. He also said the expected the Iowa Democratic Party to bring forward additional updates on their caucus plans ahead of the committee’s next meeting, Oct. 16.
Iowa’s new plan still includes an in-person event, but the state plans to transition to a mail-in caucus system beginning in 2024. Caucusgoers would receive and return presidential preference cards by mail under the proposal, which Iowa Democrats said will help address accessibility concerns raised by the national party.
Iowa Republicans, however, have opposed the change. In the 2023 legislative session, majority Republican lawmakers passed a measure requiring Iowa political parties to hold in-person caucuses. They said they were hoping to avoid triggering New Hampshire’s law by being too similar to a primary.
Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said on “Iowa Press” last week that he has had conversations with New Hampshire officials about ensuring the Iowa GOP caucuses stay first, but said “anything can happen” before Oct. 1. That’s when states’ delegation plans are due to the Republican National Committee.
Georgia withdraws from early window
Georgia is likely no longer in the running as an early state. In June, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, set both parties’ primary date for March 12, dashing state Democrats’ hopes of joining the early window. The RBC gave conditional approval Thursday to Georgia’s plan that confirms the 2024 presidential primary will be held March 12.
Veronica Martinez, director of party affairs and delegate selection at the DNC, said Georgia’s plan generally complied with the spirit of the rules and regulations, but that the national party plans to work with the state “to fix any technical deficiencies or omissions” before giving complete approval.
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