Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has set the Peach State’s 2024 party primary elections for March 12, foiling the Democratic National Committee’s plans to move Georgia’s vote toward the front of the presidential nominating line.
Raffensperger said the DNC acted “unilaterally” in its bid to make their nominating process more “diverse” by bumping predominantly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire back and pushing more “racially inclusive” states like Georgia and Michigan to the front of the primary line.
“If you want to get most things done in America, sometimes you have to build some consensus and reach out to both sides of the aisle,” the Republican Secretary of State said. He asserts the Democratic Party never reached out to him about their plans. Democrats counter that they have lobbied Raffensperger’s office for months.
In the ostensible quest to make their presidential nominating process more representative of the party, the DNC earlier this year approved a sweeping presidential primary calendar change making South Carolina the party’s first nominating state of 2024. Iowa and New Hampshire, which have held their respective caucus and primary first for a half-century, lost their traditional lead positions in the Democratic Party’s ultimate example of identity politics.
The DNC’s new calendar places Nevada after South Carolina in early February, followed by New Hampshire and then Georgia.
“Folks, the Democratic Party looks like America, and so does this proposal,” said DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison said of the calendar change at the committee’s winter meetings in Philadelphia.
The DNC plan is facing some obstacles, not the least of which is the fact that Raffensperger has sole discretion in setting Georgia’s primary date. The Secretary of State has said he’s not interested in signing off on separate primaries. The Republican National Committee is keeping its traditional nominating schedule, with Iowa and New Hampshire remaining first.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp also does not support moving his state up in the nominating process.
Iowa Democrats have come up with a plan to hold a mail-in caucus in which registered Democrats would request presidential preference cards by mail or online and send them in. While the local party would in name hold their caucuses on the same early February night as the state GOP, the Democrats would only conduct party business, announcing the caucus results at a later date. The move is an effort to walk a tenuous line between keeping Iowa first and not ticking off the DNC, which has said it will punish state parties that rebel and don’t follow the reformed schedule.
“Raffensperger’s decision puts Georgia one week after the March 5 Super Tuesday [elections]. Raffensperger said waiting for that slot will make Georgia the clear ‘prize’ of that day’s voting because it’s the only large battleground alongside Idaho, Washington and Mississippi,” Fox5 Atlanta reported.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Brad Raffensperger” by GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Background Photo “Election Day” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.