The fields have cleared up the dynamics of the game as the rules committee prepares a final recommendation for early state enrollment in August ahead of a full DNC vote in September. Iowa and New Hampshire were on the defensive, while Nevada looked to jump over the number one slot on the calendar. Michigan and Minnesota are vying for a place in the Midwest. Democrats from Georgia and Texas have argued that early investment in presidential campaigns will boost their ability to remain—or become—battlefield states.
But there are still many unresolved questions before the committee, including not only the final order, but whether DNC members will add a fifth state to the early state window.
“I don’t know how they’re meeting the diversity requirements they’ve laid out without increasing the number of states to five,” said Tina Podlodowski, Washington State Democratic Party chairman, who presented her state as the best representative of the Asian American population. and Pacific Islander and labor communities. “I think everything is up in the air. Anything could happen.”
A number of high-ranking officials have appeared in Washington to promote their home states. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy promised DNC members that his state would “not fail.” Senator Chris Koons (D-Del.) and Delaware Gov. John Carney pushed for Biden’s home state to join the early window, with Carney adding “to show how important this is, I left the meeting with the president at Roosevelt to be here on time.” Illinois brought popcorn to Garrett and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
The Minnesota delegation entered to Prince’s music and then handed out pamphlets containing Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (Minnesota) hot meal recipe. New Hampshire handed out packages of gifts, including a mug from the famed Red Arrow diner and state-shaped chocolates, while handouts from Michigan included a personal note from Senator Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Debbie Dingell and Michigan-shaped gummies.
Members of the DNC had a regular set of questions they asked state party leaders, mostly about who held elections in each state and how much it was possible to change the dates of state primaries.
This is a key issue for Michigan and Minnesota, where Democrats will need at least some cooperation from Republicans to change their main date. Stabenow, Dingell, and Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist assured the committee that, as Gilchrist said, “necessary negotiations have already begun.”
“We love the conversations we’re having, we’re just not ready for them,” Michigan Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes told the DNC rules committee.
Two former Republican Party chairmen have publicly said they support the Democrats’ efforts to move up Michigan, although current Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser, did not weigh one way or another, postponing their attention to intermediate dates. But in order for Michigan to change the date, they would need to get the bill through the Republican-controlled legislature.
DNC member Frank Leone told the delegation that “the more guarantees you give us, the better.”
Minnesota, meanwhile, does not require legislative action to change the date, an agreement between the chairmen of the two major parties is sufficient. Minnesota GOP chairman David Hann said he was open to talks with Democrats. “We just had a general discussion where they told us that they are interested in doing this within their party, and so we kind of wait and see until they go through it,” he said. This was reported by Minnesota Public Radio..
“We don’t need to change the law, we need a conversation that is in [the GOP’s] interest,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in an interview following Minnesota’s presentation.
But while both Michigan and Minnesota presented “compelling” arguments to the DNC rules committee, one member, who was granted anonymity to discuss face-to-face conversations, said others in the group might not want to vote for either state. without “absolute certainty”. that they will be able to reschedule their main dates.
Iowa also made a final call to maintain its first-in-the-nation status by laying out a plan to make significant changes to its gatherings, turning the event into an all-mail-in process with voters submitting their presidential preference cards rather than appearing in person. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Ross Wilburn promised, “No more math meetings,” which drew laughter from the group.
Iowa Democrats also warned that stripping them of early state status would give Republicans an even greater edge in a state that was once a hotly contested state that has faded from the national map in recent years. Iowa House Democratic Leader Jennifer Confrst warned that “every time a Republican nominee comes to Iowa and visits the district of one of my members or one of my candidates, they are creating an organization on the other side.”
Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee voted to approve the current membership of four states: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. If a state tries to jump over the line, the RNC will sanction those states by removing some of the delegates. The DNC Rules Committee has yet to have a broad public debate about what it would take to sever the two party presidential calendars.
Another looming showdown is dropping out of the race for first place in the roster. Nevada made an aggressive effort not only to stay in the early window, but to come out on top. “The state that comes first matters. We all know that’s the case,” said Rebecca Lambe, a Democratic strategist and longtime adviser to the late Senator Harry Reid.
“It fundamentally defines the start of the primary and how candidates spend their time and resources after office hours,” Lambe continued, “and that’s why we think it’s so important for the first state to look like America.”
Nevada touted its wide racial diversity—an implicit blow to New Hampshire, where 90 percent of the population is white. The lack of racial diversity in both Iowa and New Hampshire is the main reason the DNC decided to rethink the early state calendar.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire has defended its position, noting that it has rapidly growing communities of color and its “white population has declined by 2 percent” over the past decade, New Hampshire DNC member Joan Dowdell said during the state presentation.
New Hampshire speakers also highlighted their small state and storied retail politics, where voters come to see “every presidential candidate running before they make a decision,” Sen. Jean Shaheen (DN.H.) said. New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley said any candidate could leave, regardless of their financial or other state position.
“You have a good chance in New Hampshire,” he added.
But at least one DNC member said they were “disappointed” that New Hampshire “didn’t have a clear reason why they It was be first, except “it’s in our constitution.”