DNC expected to kick Iowa out of early nominating calendar

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws committee voted to upend the traditional presidential nominating calendar on Friday. The move will have to go through a vote by the entire DNC before it will be finalized, and experts expect it to breeze through a vote.


Wyatt Dlouhy

Senator Bernie Sanders, I-V.T. supporters wait for the results first round of counting at the 62 precinct of Des Moines in the Fieldhouse on the Drake campus on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. 849 people came out to caucus, and after the first round of counting, Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. lead the precinct with 212 votes. Sanders finished second in the caucuses with 26.1% of state convention delegates, 0.1% less than winner Pete Buttigieg.

Emily Delgado and Liam Halawith

This is a developing story check back for updates. 

The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws committee voted on Friday afternoon to move Iowa out of the early nomination window for the presidential nomination process in 2024. 

The committee voted to make South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia, and Michigan the new early-voting nomination windows. The new calendar has to be approved by the full DNC but is expected to pass. 

The 2024 calendar approved by the committee begins with South Carolina voting on Feb. 3, New Hampshire and Nevada on Feb. 6, Georgia on Feb. 20, and Michigan on Feb. 27.

This comes at the recommendation of President Joe Biden who sent a letter to the DNC on Thursday recommending they take Iowa out of the early voting window and insert states with more diverse populations and primary elections into the early voting calendar. 

“Our party should no longer allow caucuses as part of our nominating process,” Biden said in a letter to the committee on Thursday. “We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window.” 

This would kick Iowa out of the first-in-the-nation status it had retained since 1972 when the Democrats started the state’s famous caucus system. Republicans joined Democrats four years later holding their own caucuses. Iowa has led the nation in nominating presidential candidates since it began 50 years ago. 

The Iowa Democratic party tried to prevent the DNC from upsetting the state’s first-in-the-nation status by overhauling Iowa’s presidential nominating system. 

Iowa Democrats have elected to remove the traditional caucus system from the state’s Democratic Primaries for president. Instead, they switched to a system involving Presidential Preference cards that would be mailed to would-be caucusgoers to choose one candidate and return the ballot in person or by mail-in 14 to 28 days after receiving the card. 

Iowa’s Democratic party chair Ross Wilburn said the DNC has underestimated Iowa’s impact on the presidential nominating system in a statement on Thursday night. 

“Small rural states like Iowa have a voice in our presidential nominating process. Democrats cannot forget about entire groups of voters in the heart of midwest without doing significant damage to the party for a generation,” Wilburn said. “I’m proud of the commitment Iowa Democrats have made to advancing diverse presidential candidates over the years.”

Iowa Republicans joined in Iowa Democrats’ disappointment over the move to kick Iowa out of the early nominating calendar on Friday. 

“I am very disappointed in the Democratic National Committee’s decision to apparently abandon Iowa. For 50 years, this state has done a fantastic job at vetting the candidates who wish to lead this nation,” Republican Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate said in a statement on Friday.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement on Friday that he believes the DNC is making a mistake to upend the nomination process. 

“Coastal elites and party bosses put their thumb on the electoral scale to drown out the voices and values of Middle America to advance their woke agenda,” Grassley said.   

The change comes after the Iowa Democrats had massive technical failures in the 2020 caucus after attempting to implement a mobile result-reporting app that had technical difficulties.

Iowa Republicans to keep first in the nation status. 

Iowa Republicans will continue to keep their spot at the front of the Republican presidential nominating calendar. 

Jeff Kaufmann, the chair of the Iowa Republican party who also chairs the national committee in charge of the Republican presidential nomination calendar, said Democrats should keep Iowa’s caucus first in the nation. 

“This is the Democrats that are pulling this crap, and I’m telling you right now, they don’t want to play chicken with me. This is pure, progressive, power politics,” Kaufmann told NBC News on Nov. 18.  

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, R-Iowa, recognized Iowa’s importance in nominating presidential candidates in a tweet on Friday afternoon. 

“Iowa Republicans will go first in 2024! The Iowa Caucus is a true grassroots process where Iowans play a critical role in vetting the candidates on a level playing field,” Reynolds said. 

Complicated legal landscape. 

This decision by the DNC comes atop a complicated legal landscape. States like New Hampshire and Iowa have laws on the books that require them to have the first primary election in the nation. 

New Hampshire’s Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckey said the DNC’s decision will not affect the state’s laws and the NHDP will still be the first-in-the-nation primary election regardless of their decision.  

“This news is obviously disappointing, but we will be holding our primary first,” said New Hampshire Democratic Chair Ray Buckley in a statement Thursday. “We have survived past attempts over the decades and we will survive this. Our first-in-the-nation primary has been an integral part of our state’s history for over 100 years, and is enshrined in state law.”

Iowa’s Democratic party significantly overhauled the nominating system in the state to appease national pressure to get rid of the caucus system which has been criticized for being “anti-participatory” by President Joe Biden in his letter to the DNC on Thursday. 

Iowa law requires parties to hold caucuses before the last Tuesday in February and before any other state. 

Wilburn said in his statement on Thursday that Iowa Democrats aren’t able to move to a state-run primary because of the lack of support from Republican lawmakers that would require. 

This would likely lead to New Hampshire and Iowa bucking the national parties calendar required by state law to do so. 

Party leaders have warned that this move would come with retaliation from the national party including losing delegates and forbidding candidates to campaign in the state, according to USA Today