Jun 27, 2022 - Politics

Michigan Democrats ask DNC for early 2024 primary

Illustration of a "vote" pin as a boxing ring bell
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Democratic National Committee is choosing a new order for its 2024 presidential primaries and leaders in Michigan are pushing to go early.

  • "Michigan looks like America,” Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas says as the narrator of a video released by Michigan Democrats last week. It's an attempt by state dems to heighten awareness of their effort.

Why it matters: Early nominating states like Iowa and New Hampshire play a crucial role in the presidential nominating process.

  • "Going first would be a great stimulus for the city and for identifying the African American vote," Detroit NAACP president Rev. Wendell Anthony said in an interview with Axios Detroit. "It would send a message to the rest of the party that African Americans and others are vitally important, that's our core base here."

State of play: Officials from 16 states, including Michigan, gave their final pitch last week in Washington D.C. to the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee.

  • A number of state Democratic leaders participated, including Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn).
  • The DNC committee is judging each state based on diversity, competitiveness and feasibility to hold early nominating contests.

What they're saying: "If you're in an early state, you have candidates coming in doing retail politics," Dingell tells Axios. "There's just a host of experiences that we see here throughout the rest of the country."

  • "When candidates come to Michigan, they're gonna learn about issues that impact the rural community with the agricultural presence that we have here but also with the diverse industries we have," Barnes said.

The other side: Democrats would need cooperation from Republicans in the state Legislature to move the primary date up. Dingell says appropriate discussions with Republican colleagues are being had.

  • Two former Republican party chairs support the effort, but it's unclear whether it's supported by current chairman Ron Weiser, the Detroit News reports.
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