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Biden Shows Little Urgency About 2024  11/30 06:21

   Democrats considering shaking up the order of their 2024 presidential 
primary are waiting on President Joe Biden, anxious to see if he'll endorse 
stripping Iowa of its traditional leadoff spot or discourage major changes 
while mulling his own potential reelection bid.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats considering shaking up the order of their 2024 
presidential primary are waiting on President Joe Biden, anxious to see if 
he'll endorse stripping Iowa of its traditional leadoff spot or discourage 
major changes while mulling his own potential reelection bid.

   But Biden seems to be showing little urgency in addressing the primary 
calendar, allies say. The president previously avoided moves that could upset 
any state ahead of November's critical midterm elections. And he continues to 
do much of the same even now, as his team quietly moves to lay the groundwork 
for a 2024 run.

   The clock is nonetheless ticking because the Democratic National Committee's 
rulemaking arm is meeting Friday to begin deciding which states should be the 
first four to vote, while considering adding a fifth slot. The lack of a clear 
signal from the White House has left rules committee members in a holding 
pattern.

   "We do have a leader of our party, and that is President Biden. So we know 
that there will be a way in from the White House," said Artie Blanco of Nevada, 
a member of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee. She added, "Our goal is to 
have the best calendar that gives our president -- when he's running again -- 
what it looks like for us and for future candidates."

   Still, the primary calendar showdown may be coming before the 80-year-old 
Biden is ready to fully discuss reelection. The president says he "intends" to 
run again but plans to talk it over with his family over the holidays before 
revealing his decision early next year.

   Biden spent Thanksgiving on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket and will 
see more relatives over Christmas, meaning he may not have deep discussions 
until then. White House aides and Biden allies have begun staffing and 
structural discussions for his likely 2024 run to ensure the campaign would 
have all that it needs to be successful, but they have avoided taking any overt 
steps while the president weighs a final decision.

   Then-President Barack Obama didn't officially launch his reelection effort 
until April 2011, some six months after the 2010 midterms, and Biden allies are 
eyeing a similar time frame should he decide to go forward. That, in part, is 
because the first quarter after a midterm election is historically a weak 
fundraising period.

   Still, Biden's predecessor, former President Donald Trump, has already 
announced his third campaign for the White House. He did so just a week after a 
midterm election that didn't feature major Republicans gains that many had 
predicted -- with the party winning only narrow control of the House and 
failing to recapture the Senate despite sky-high inflation rates and Biden's 
low approval ratings.

   The Democratic rules committee had been expected to decide the primary order 
in August but put off doing so until after the midterm elections. No matter 
what the group ultimately does, its decision will still have to be approved by 
the full DNC, which will likely come next year -- though that vote will likely 
follow the committee's recommendation.

   Michigan Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell has led the effort to get her state 
in the top five and suggested the DNC committee might not make a final 
recommendation this week. But she also said too much work had already been done 
for a decision to drag out indefinitely.

   "They're being very, very careful," Dingell said. "They're doing their 
homework."

   If Biden runs again, the DNC's decision will be largely moot for 2024 since 
the party will have little appetite for encouraging a major challenge to a 
sitting Democratic president. Still, its move could have implications for the 
presidential race in 2028 and beyond.

   Iowa's caucus has kicked off presidential primary voting since 1976, but 
technical glitches sparked a meltdown in Democratic 2020 results that kept The 
Associated Press from declaring a winner. Many party leaders have also long 
called for beginning the presidential nominating process in a state that is 
less white, reflecting Democrats' deeply diverse electorate.

   Vying to replace Iowa are New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first 
primary but follows Iowa's caucuses, and Nevada, a heavily Hispanic state that 
had held a caucus but now plans to stage a primary and is looking to jump ahead 
from third place.

   South Carolina, with its large bloc of Black Democrats, could move from 
fourth to third, freeing up a large Midwestern state to go next. Michigan and 
Minnesota are making major cases that were only strengthened by Democrats 
winning full control of both states' legislatures in the midterms. The Michigan 
Senate on Tuesday passed a bill moving the state's primary to the second 
Tuesday of February, and the proposal should soon clear the state House with 
bipartisan support.

   If the DNC committee adds a fifth early slot, that could go to Iowa to 
soften the blow of no longer going first.

   Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democrats and a rules committee 
member, said his state sports strong union membership and the country's highest 
voter turnout, including among communities of color.

   "It not enough to just be diverse on paper. We turn out diverse 
communities," Martin said.

   Nevada, which has spent months arguing that simply standing on tradition 
isn't enough, now says that Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto's narrow reelection -- 
it was instrumental in her party clinching control of the Senate even with a 
runoff election still to come in Georgia -- proves that it should go first. 
Still, Republican Joe Lombardo defeated incumbent Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve 
Sisolak in the same midterm election.

   "We are THE battleground state," Blanco said.

   Representatives from Iowa and New Hampshire say that small states let all 
candidates -- not just well-funded ones -- connect personally with voters and 
that losing their slots could advantage Republicans in congressional races. 
While New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassen was reelected in the midterms, so was 
the state's Republican governor, Chris Sununu.

   The midterms didn't go as well for Democrats in Iowa, where Republican Sen. 
Chuck Grassley won another term and the GOP swept all four House seats. 
Republicans have already decided to keep Iowa starting their 2024 presidential 
nominating cycle.

   New Hampshire Democratic National Committeeman Bill Shaheen championed his 
state producing speedy midterm results, saying that "by 11 p.m., we knew who 
won the major races."

   "We've got it down," Shaheen said, "and we give everyone a chance."

   New Hampshire has also threatened to simply disregard DNC decisions and move 
to go first on its own -- and the state has taken such action before. When the 
DNC approved remaking the primary calendar ahead of the 2008 election, it 
called for Nevada's caucus after Iowa and before New Hampshire, only to see New 
Hampshire move up its primary.

   In the past, other states that tried to violate Democratic Party rules and 
jump closer to the front were threatened with having their delegates not count 
toward their chosen candidate clinching the party's nomination, but Shaheen 
said his state would take its chances.

   "If you take it away from New Hampshire, New Hampshire might just do it 
anyway," Shaheen said. "We'd forfeit our delegates, but we don't care."

 
 
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