Planning for the 2024 presidential election is already well underway, as Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a measure Friday that — at least for now — put his state first on the primary calendar, potentially knocking Iowa and New Hampshire out of their traditionally early positions, as the Associated Press reports.
Pursuing the schedule change does not come without risks for Sisolak and Democrats in the state, however, given that the major national parties must also agree to the shift. If that does not occur, Nevada could conceivably forfeit their slate of delegates at the nominating conventions, the AP futher noted.
According to the bill, Nevada’s presidential primary would need to be held on the first Tuesday in February during each year in which there is a presidential contest. Additionally, it switches the state’s primary format from an in-person caucus structure overseen by parties to an election structure managed by the government, according to ABC News.
Many Democrats, not just in Nevada, began seeking a move away from caucus formats in the most recent election cycle, largely due to challenges of holding in-person meeting and the sometimes-clunky calculations involved in determining delegate totals.
Jason Frierson, speaker of the Nevada House explained last week, “Nevada represents a diverse constituency that presidential candidates need to talk to. It is not just for us. It is for candidates to vet their issues and communicate with the kind of communities that they’re going to be asking to vote for them in the national presidential election.”
Frierson expressed his belief that Nevada can succeed in convincing national party brass to allow the state to hold its primary first and revealed that discussions to that end are already underway.
However, it appears that New Hampshire and Iowa may not abdicate their position at the top of the schedule without a fight. The AP noted that New Hampshire, for instance, has a new law on the books mandating that its primary take place no fewer than seven days prior to any other state’s contest and affording the secretary of state the authority to set the date of the election.
Commenting on Nevada’s attempt to leap ahead of all others in holding the initial contest of the season, Granite State Gov. Chris Sununu (R ) delcared, “The New Hampshire presidential primary will remain first in the nation. What happens in Nevada, stays in Nevada.”
According to the AP, it remains unclear whether the Democratic National Committee will accept the schedule change, though GOP officials in the traditionally early primary states have indicated their preference for maintaining the schedule as traditionally comprised.