Iowa, New Hampshire… Connecticut? Democrats plan to submit bid to join primaries pack in 2024

Democrats seeking to shake up the timing of the nation’s premier presidential battlegrounds that were once the exclusive domain of quadrennial kingmakers like Iowa and New Hampshire may soon take a closer look at Connecticut.

In a letter sent to national party officials on May 5, Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo announced the constitutional state’s intention to become one of the first four states on the primary and caucus calendar. of the party during the 2024 presidential election cycle, and potentially in future elections.

The notice comes as the Democratic National Committee considers what could be the biggest shake-up to its nominating schedule in decades, following criticism that the first two states in the current order – Iowa and New Hampshire – are overwhelmingly white and do not reflect America’s growing diversity or party voters.

“These states are unique in no way other than the fact that they have always been first,” DiNardo said. “They’re not really representative of the country…I think it’s good that they’re good that they’re looking at it again with their eyes a little more open to how it should be.”

More than 34% of Connecticut residents identify as black, Hispanic, Asian, mixed-race or another minority, slightly less than the national average of nearly 40% according to the most recent census estimates.

Connecticut also has one of the highest education levels of any state, making it attractive to presidential candidates looking to garner support based on good political faith. The state’s proximity to New York also makes it an ideal destination for national media, another potential advantage.

One factor that could work against Connecticut is its strong Democratic bias in federal elections, which means the party isn’t likely to get as much of a boost as it would from candidates engaging with voters in a state. of the battlefield.

State Rep. Geraldo Reyes, D-Waterbury, chairman of the Legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, said, however, that Connecticut is “fully prepared” for consideration by the DNC based on its changing demographics over the of the last decade.

“The influx of people who come here are Hispanic, African American and Asian, they’re not Caucasian,” Reyes said. “We could be ahead of the curve and actually include a state closer to 50-50.”

Party officials in Connecticut aren’t the only ones trying to take advantage of the open bidding process. According to a Washington Post tally, officials from at least 17 other states submitted similar letters of intent to the DNC by last Friday’s deadline.

Nearby, officials in New York and New Jersey would plan their own offerings that would likely compete with those in Connecticut. In New Hampshire, the only other New England state to submit a bid under the To postDemocrats are gearing up to fight to retain their status as the nation’s premier that dates back more than a century.

Iowa and other states currently at the top of the nominations calendar, Nevada and South Carolina, are also submitting bids to retain their position or advance, according to the Post.

At stake for all of these states – in addition to the impact of testing candidates’ political fortunes – is the financial windfall associated with visits by high-profile candidates and their trail of staffers, journalists and curious onlookers. as they criss-cross the state.

“That’s a lot of money,” said Fairfield University political science professor Gayle Alberda, who witnessed the Iowa caucuses first-hand while living in Des Moines. “It’s a revenue generator, you sell hotels, you invite people to go out and eat out, you’re better able to organize a debate… you bring in journalists from all over the country and sometimes from the world . ”

Alberda said moving one of the early primaries to Connecticut would also give voters here a better chance to meet one or more of the candidates and draw attention to local issues. Those who push aggressively at the start of a primary will likely try to visit as many of the state’s 169 cities and towns as possible, she said.

“That more basic, flesh-pressing, face-to-face interaction is more common in these earlier states.” Alberda said. “Bringing a candidate to a small town like Enfield generates a lot of excitement and an increased chance of meeting people one of whom could become the next president.”

Hosting an early primary or caucus is also seen as a way to potentially boost the prospects of home-state presidential candidates, although Iowa and New Hampshire have not did not achieve good results in this regard.

In 2020, Connecticut was the last state in the nation to hold a presidential primary, on August 11 after the primary’s original April date was pushed back due to the pandemic. Changing the primary to an earlier date in February would require legislation approved by lawmakers and the governor.

For DiNardo, Connecticut’s reputation as a national leader on the COVID-19 response, legalizing same-sex marriage and enacting gun control makes the state advantageous for Democrats hoping to draw attention to these issues at the national level.

“We were among the first across the country in a number of things,” DiNardo said. “We have shown that we are a leader in this country and I think that in addition to our diversity, that is also important.”

According to a Politico report, Democratic Party officials hope to compile a list of geographically balanced and diverse states. This will make it more difficult for Connecticut to compete with the larger and ethnically diverse states of New York and New Jersey, especially if New Hampshire is not relegated to a later slot, said Ronald Schurin, professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. , Storms.

“I think it’s kind of a longshot,” Schurin said. “If it’s just us in the North East and New England, that might give us a bit of a head start.”

The selection process now heads to the DNC Rules and Regulations Committee which expected to hear submissions from state party officials in June, according to Politico, before recommending a slate of early primaries and caucuses to the DNC set in July.

DiNardo said she would meet with party officials over the next month to develop an official pitch.

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