Updated Dec 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes Democrats for 2024 primary overhaul

President Biden at a press conference at the White House on December 01.

President Biden at a press conference at the White House on Thursday. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden told Democrats Thursday they must "rid the nominating process of restrictive, anti-worker caucuses" and "reflect the overall diversity" of the party and nation, in a major proposed overhaul ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Why it matters: This would end Iowa's decades-long reign of being the first state in the Democrats' presidential nominating process. Biden's plan would see South Carolina as the first 2024 primary state, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire, Georgia and then Michigan, the Washington Post first reported.

  • "Our party should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process," Biden said in a letter to the Democratic National Committee's rule-making arm Thursday.
  • Iowa is a caucus state.

Details: The co-chairs of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee announced Biden's proposal at a dinner Thursday evening, according to multiple reports.

  • The matter is expected to be discussed when the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meets on Friday and Saturday, per the reports.

The bottom line: "We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window," Biden wrote in his letter to the DNC rules panel.

The big picture: The DNC panel voted earlier this year to give other states the chance to hold early primaries.

  • There's been fierce competition between Democrats in New Hampshire pushing to remain the first-in-the-nation primary and those in Nevada aiming to take over the spot, per Axios' Alexi McCammond.
  • McCammond noted in July that while the Iowa caucuses had been the first overall contest, that might not last — particularly in light of the debacle in 2020 when technical issues saw results delayed.

What they're saying: Democratic lawmakers in New Hampshire and Nevada pushed back against Biden's proposal.

  • Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen implicitly took digs at the South Carolina report in a joint statement raising "serious concerns" at the plan, the New York Times notes.
  • "We strongly believe the first presidential nominating contest should be held in a competitive, pro-labor state that supports voting access and reflects all of America’s diversity — in other words, a state that actually aligns with the DNC’s own priorities for updating the calendar," they said.

Meanwhile, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) said in a statement she "strongly" opposed "the president's deeply misguided proposal, but make no mistake, New Hampshire's law is clear, and our primary will continue to be First in the Nation."

  • Representatives for Biden did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Read Biden's letter to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee in full, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: The winners and losers in Democrats' 2024 primary shakeup

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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