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DNC officials circulate plan that would change presidential primary calendar and threaten Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status


By Eric Bradner, CNN

Democratic Party officials charged with setting the party’s 2024 presidential nominating process are circulating a draft plan that would place up to five states at the front of the calendar and would prioritize diverse battleground states that hold primaries, not caucuses.

That would effectively end Iowa’s status as the first state to vote, since Iowa is no longer considered competitive and is required by current state law to hold caucuses.

The draft plan obtained by CNN was sent Monday to members of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee ahead of a meeting next week. It was drafted by the committee’s co-chairs, James Roosevelt Jr. and Lorraine Miller. The Washington Post first reported the details of the draft plan.

The co-chairs characterized the draft plan as a starting point for discussion ahead of months of meetings before the DNC is expected to finalize its 2024 calendar this summer.

Under the draft plan, states that wish to hold their primaries before Super Tuesday — the first Tuesday in March — would have to apply to the Rules and Bylaws Committee and be selected. In the past, the party has penalized states that seek to move ahead of Super Tuesday without approval by stripping their delegates’ voting privileges at the convention.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee “seeks to review and approve a 2024 presidential nominating calendar that (1) reflects the principle that our party’s diversity is its strength; (2) puts Democrats in the best position to win up and down the ballot in November 2024; and (3) contributes to a fair and sound electoral process,” the draft says.

It continues: “In accordance with historic practice, the RBC will prohibit states from holding the first determining stage in their presidential nominating process prior to the first Tuesday in March or after the second Tuesday in June (the ‘Window’), unless the RBC explicitly grants a state an exception to this requirement in the Delegate Selection Rules, and every state seeking such an exception must apply to the Rules and Bylaws Committee, regardless of whether they have previously held pre-window contests.”

It goes on to identify as priorities diversity, competitiveness and administration — the ability to schedule and hold a contest before Super Tuesday and run a “fair, transparent and inclusive nominating process,” terminology that suggests the DNC is looking for states that hold primaries, which Rules and Bylaws Committee members have said they consider more inclusive than caucuses.

The draft plan reflects the discussion that DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee members had at a meeting in Washington earlier this month. There, only Iowa’s Scott Brennan spoke in favor of keeping the state at the front of the presidential nominating calendar.

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