Feb 3, 2023 - Politics

Democrats move up presidential primary without GOP support

Illustration of a magnifying glass examining the state of Michigan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Wednesday moving Michigan's presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to Feb. 27, 2024, and to the fourth Tuesday in February for future presidential primaries.

Driving the news: The Senate bill didn't get enough votes to take immediate effect until 90 calendar days after this year's legislative session ends.

  • So the Legislature must adjourn by Nov. 29 for the proposal to apply to the 2024 presidential primary. If not, it won't apply until 2028.

What they're saying: "This is an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans in our state to come together and say our electorate has a lot to offer — Michigan is important," said state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), who sponsored the Senate bill.

The other side: RNC bylaws prohibiting the state from holding primaries before March 1 would see Michigan lose up to 90% of delegates at future national Republican conventions.

  • "This is the very definition of disenfranchisement," Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) said during his no-vote explanation last week. "They claim that the move would raise our profile, but the president is their incumbent. Why then would this change matter?"

What's next: Michigan still has to earn the votes of the full DNC to become an early primary state.


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