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DNC postpones vote on keeping Iowa, New Hampshire as first contests

Democrats were expected to decide this summer on a presidential primary calendar, but they have pushed off the decision until after the midterm elections.
Several States Hold Primary Elections Across The Country
A voter fills out a ballot at the Ames Public Library on Primary Election Day in Ames, Iowa on June 7.Stephen Maturen / Getty Images file

The Democratic National Committee has decided to postpone a highly anticipated decision on the 2024 presidential primary calendar until after the midterm elections, party officials were informed Saturday.

The DNC had been planning to decide this summer whether Iowa and New Hampshire will keep their traditional first-in-the-nation status in 2024, or if more diverse states would take their place in the early primary window, which also includes Nevada and South Carolina. 

But the leaders of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee said in a memo to officials Saturday that they had essentially run out of time before the midterm elections to work out unresolved questions about how each of the 17 states that applied for a coveted early primary spot would run their elections, and want local officials to now focus on the fall elections.

"Following the midterm elections, we will reconvene to update our evaluation of the applicant pool and work towards a final decision to present to the full DNC for a vote, which DNC leadership has assured us they will make happen as soon after the midterm elections as is possible," Jim Roosevelt, Jr. and Minyon Moore, the co-chairs of the committee, wrote in the memo, shared with NBC News.

“We will continue to work with applicants in the coming weeks to hammer out final details,” they added.

Most of the states that applied for an early spot have not held such an election before, so they would need cooperation from their governor and state legislatures — several of which are controlled by Republicans — to make any necessary legislative changes and to provide resources.

Iowa and New Hampshire have long faced criticism for their unique power, especially among Democrats who note both states are overwhelmingly white. Iowa, in particular, has had a target on its back since botching the 2020 Democratic caucuses and as the state has drifted further into the Republican column. 

The Rules committee still plans to meet in Washington next week to work on other issues related to the 2024 presidential nomination contest, but will no longer hold the vote on the calendar, the memo said.