Midwest melee: Minnesota beats Michigan in 2024 presidential calendar contest

TThe battle for the next first-in-the-nation slot in the Democratic caucus gets personal as state leaders begin stabbing each other to replace Iowa.

With the midterm cycle barely in the rearview mirror, some states are pointing to Democratic gains in their elections as evidence that they should be moved up the calendar. Among them are Michigan and Minnesota, both vying to replace Iowa to represent the Midwest region in the early states lineup.


Ken Martin, leader of Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, on Wednesday sent a two-page memo to the Democratic National Committee asking it not to make a last-minute pick Michigan as the Midwestern state for the 2024 cycle. The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee is scheduled to finalize its calendar proposal by Saturday, which will then be presented to the entire DNC for a final vote in either January or February.

Martin laid out a number of reasons Michigan should not have a place on the early voting lineup, arguing that the state was “too big to include” and risked overshadowing other early primary states. In particular, he said the number of delegates in Michigan is too large and almost equals the number of delegates from the early states of New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined.

“With so many delegates being awarded to Michigan, it’s easy to see prospective nominees skipping the rest of the early states altogether — to focus on an award that is delivering nearly as many delegates as all other early states combined,” wrote Martin in a two-page letter to the DNC received from Politically. “This result would defeat the stated purpose [sic] our early state strategy.”

Additionally, Minnesota is far more diverse than Michigan, the party leader said, making it more representative of the country’s voices.

Michigan has tried to draw on its racial and economic diversity to persuade party leaders to grant it an early voting spot as well as its reputation as a swing state. However, Martin argued that although Michigan has a larger black population, Minnesota “leads Michigan and Iowa in every other racial and ethnic category.”

Every four years, the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee formulates the rule that establishes the Democratic Party’s nomination calendar for the presidential nomination, determining which area code or state faction is accorded “early” status and the order in which those early ones are accorded vote states. The previous primary calendar began with the Iowa caucus a week before the New Hampshire primary, followed by Nevada and South Carolina.


However, Democrats decided to scrap that calendar earlier this year, opening the process for all states to apply as early contenders. That decision has bothered Democrats for years, but the conversation received renewed attention after technology issues paralyzed factions in Iowa in 2020 and delayed the vote count by several days.

The Republican National Committee voted earlier this year to reiterate its presidential election calendar and keep its current lineup of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.


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