New Jersey is no longer in contention for one of the first presidential primaries in 2024, although Democrats have not ruled out moving the state’s primary up in the schedule, possible to Super Tuesday.
A new plan expected to be approved by the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee and the full DNC would give South Carolina the first primary, followed one week later by New Hampshire and Nevada, with Georgia and Michigan rounding out the first five contests, a New Jersey Democratic official briefed on the plan told the New Jersey Globe.
New Jersey Democrats made a push to get one of the first five primaries, with Gov. Phil Murphy going to Washington to pitch the DNC directly.
A source told the New Jersey Globe that Democratic State Chairman LeRoy Jones remains supportive of moving the New Jersey up to the second wave of presidential primaries , if that is what Murphy and party leaders want and if the Democratic National Committee approves the date.
Primary election dates are set by through legislation. With majorities in both houses of the legislature and in control of the governorship, Democrats can move the primary up if they want; Republicans, who appear generally supportive of an early primary, would have no real say in setting the calendar, even if it means losing some delegates as a penalty.
In a letter to the Rules and Bylaws Committee, President Joe Biden took a clear shot at Iowa, where he finished fourth in 2020, saying that Democrats “should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process.” He called caucuses “inherently anti-participatory.”
“We are a party dedicated to ensuring participation by all voters and for removing barriers to political participation,” Biden said. “Caucuses – requiring voters to choose in public, to spend significant amounts of time to caucus, disadvantage hourly workers.”
Biden also called for a nominating process that offers voters of color to play an early role.
“Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process,” the president told the leaders of his part. “That is unacceptable in 2024 and it must change.”
Republicans are not obligated to follow the same path, which could protect Iowa in the GOP contest.
The Democratic plan sets up an immediate conflict with New Hampshire, which aggressively defends their first-in-the-nation status. A state law requires their primary to be held first.
When New Jersey decided to hold a presidential primary on February 5, 2008, more than 1.7 million voters cast their ballots – over 1.14 million Democrats (66%) and more than 570,000 Republicans (55%).
While the GOP race was over by the New Jersey primary, Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama in New Jersey by a 54%-44% margin. Clinton won 59 delegates, with 48 going to Obama, who carried Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon and Mercer counties.
A majority of New Jerseyans supported moving the 2024 presidential primary from June to February in order to be among the first in the nation and expand the state’s influence in the presidential nomination process, according to a Monmouth University Poll released in April. The poll put support for the primary date move at 52%-34%, the poll showed.
The Washington Post first reported the new primary schedule.