Nov 30, 2022 - Politics

Michigan has "50/50" chance to move up in presidential primary

States that applied and presented to the DNC's Rules and Bylaws committee
Data: Axios Research; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Michigan should learn by the end of the weekend whether it will vote earlier in the presidential primaries.

Driving the news: The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws committee is set to vote on an overhaul of the nominating contest calendar ahead of the 2024 election.

Why it matters: Early primary states have more sway in picking presidential nominees and typically see an infusion of cash, candidate visits and a higher national political profile.

What they're saying: Michigan remains a purple state, even with the recent flip of the Legislature, something party leadership sees as an advantage. "I think it's important that be recognized as part of the early states," Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes tells Axios.

  • "You need to convince voters why they should support you and your policies. And Michigan is a great place for any nationwide candidate to start, whose voters are going to take you to task and ask the tough questions and expect answers and expect you to understand their issues."

State of play: Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party chair Ken Martin told Axios Twin Cities it's a "50-50" toss-up between the two rivals in the upper Midwest.

  • "There's lots of folks in our camp and the same with Michigan," he said. "There are only three states in the country that flipped their Legislature into a trifecta [in 2022] and Minnesota and Michigan are two of the three."

Between the lines: Democratic leaders say diversity is a priority after years of New Hampshire and Iowa — two predominantly white states — voting first.

  • 15 states and Puerto Rico sent a letter of interest to the DNC about voting earlier.

Flashback: Michigan and Florida held early primaries in 2008 earlier than allowed under Democratic Party rules, resulting in both states being penalized as delegates each received a half a vote.

What's next: The DNC meeting starts Thursday. A vote is expected by Saturday, Martin says.

  • Senators passed a Republican-led bill yesterday to change the dates of Michigan's presidential primary election from the second Tuesday in March to the second Tuesday in February in each presidential election year.

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