Georgia sets primary date for March despite DNC’s request for February date
Georgia’s 2024 presidential primary is set for March 12, despite pleas from top Democrats, including President Biden, to hold the election earlier the nominating calendar to attract a more diverse group of voters.
The date was set by Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is the only person in the state with the power to set Georgia’s primary date.
Raffensperger argued that Democrats never reached out to him specifically on the matter, according to a report from the Associated Press, adding, ‘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.’
But Democrats have a different story and claim they spent months lobbying Raffensperger’s office and had discussions on the matter, despite the secretary of state’s efforts to avoid participation in those discussions.
In February, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted to alter its 2024 presidential nominating calendar, bumping Iowa and New Hampshire from their longstanding leadoff positions.
The party says the push is intended to give more presentation at the top of the schedule for Black and Hispanic voters in a party that has become more diverse in recent decades.
New Hampshire heavily opposed the decision because for a century the state has held the first primary in the race for the White House.
Instead, the party moved South Carolina to the lead position in the Democrats’ primary calendar. Under Biden’s plan, South Carolina would hold its primary on Feb. 3, 2024, with New Hampshire and Nevada holding primaries three days later, and endorsing the idea of Georgia holding its primary on Feb. 13 and Michigan two weeks later.
But after Raffensperger’s decision, snubbed the DNC’s proposal, which was intended to lessen the influence of Iowa and New Hampshire, both of which are overwhelmingly white states, the AP reported.
Raffensperger said he had no desire to approve separate primary dates for each party or jeopardize Georgia delegation votes at a national party convention.
This is the second hit handed down to the DNC.
Last month, the party announced it would host the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, disappointing Georgia Democrats after Atlanta was a finalist in the running.
Even though local officials saw Atlanta as a favorite, Biden chose to hold the convention in Chicago.
Raffensperger’s decision to hold the primary on March 12 moves Georgia’s voting day just one week after Super Tuesday on March 5.
He told the AP that waiting for that slot will make Georgia the clear ‘prize’ of the voting that day, as it will be the only major battleground state, alongside Washington, Mississippi and Idaho.
Although there are two named challengers in the Democratic Party that are looking to snub Biden, the likelihood is slim within the president’s own party.
In the Republican Party, though, there will likely be a more crowded field, and Super Tuesday traditionally yields a clear front-runner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.