We’re not even half way through 2021, but the battle over the 2024 presidential primary and caucus schedule is already well underway.
And top Republicans from the four states that kick off the nominating calendar are making it crystal clear that they’ll fight a move by Nevada Democrats to move the Silver State’s contest to the lead-off position in the road to the White House
Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday signed into law a bill passed through the legislature by members of his own party that would change the state’s presidential caucus into a primary. And the measure – AB126 – would move the contest to the first Tuesday in February in presidential nominating years. Nevada is currently third in the Democrats’ nominating calendar, trailing Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary. It’s fourth in the Republican schedule, trailing Iowa, New Hampshire, as well as South Carolina’s primary.
For years, the knock against Iowa and New Hampshire – among some Democrats – has been that the states are too White, lack any major urban areas and aren’t representative of the Democratic Party, which has become increasingly diverse over the past several decades. Nevada and South Carolina are much more diverse and have larger metropolitan areas than either Iowa or New Hampshire.
As he signed the bill into law, Sisolak said that “this brings me great pride, as the diversity and culture found in the people in the great state of Nevada undoubtedly represent the demographical composition of who we are as a nation.”
Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak holds up a bill newly signed into law Friday, June 11, 2021, in Las Vegas. The law would make Nevada the first to vote on the 2024 presidential primary contests, though national political parties would need to agree to changes in the calendar or state parties could risk losing their delegates at presidential nominating conventions. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Even before the bill signing, GOP chairs Jeff Kaufman of Iowa, Steve Stepanek of New Hampshire, Drew McKissick of South Carolina and Michael McDonald of Nevada on Tuesday jointly issued a statement that spelled out their opposition to the push by Nevada Democrats.
“As the GOP leaders of the four carve-out states, we want to make clear that we stand together in protecting the presidential nominating schedule as it has existed for many years,” the four chairs emphasized in their statement. “Our alliance is strong and we will continue to work together to preserve this historic process.”
The Republican governors of Iowa and New Hampshire also vocally opposed the move. Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa vowed that her state would do “everything we can to maintain (our position) and I have confidence that we will,”
And New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu vowed that is state’s “presidential primary will remain first in the nation. What happens in Nevada stays in Nevada.”
The current push to leapfrog the Silver State to lead off position was sparked by former longtime Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who served for eight years as Senate majority leader. The Democrat started making waves in December as he urged that his home state jump to the start of the nominating calendar.
Reid, who remains very influential in the national Democratic Party, was instrumental in moving Nevada’s caucuses in 2008 from an afterthought to third position in the Democratic presidential nominating calendar.
But the new law still the backing of the national parties – the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC). If Nevada moved up the date of their contest without the national parties signing off on the move, it could face sanctions and the loss of convention delegates.
The DNC is currently reviewing how their 2020 nominating process fared and won’t make any decisions about the 2024 calendar until next year.
“We are going to continue to let the process play out, as it does every four years, and look forward to hearing the insight and recommendations from all interested parties on the 2020 reforms, and on the 2024 calendar at the appropriate time in the process,” DNC chair Jaime Harrison said Friday in a statement.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said during a Fox New interview earlier this year that she didn’t “foresee changes” in the current GOP nominating calendar. But she added “that’s a little too far down the road ” and that she was “not going to get ahead of the committee” in making any news.
Pence adds second stop to Iowa trip
Former Vice President Mike Pence will headline a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Randy Feenstra of Iowa next month, as the former vice president and potential 2024 Republican White House contender travels to the first-in-the-nation caucus state.
Freenstra announced on Friday that Pence will appear at the inaugural Feenstra Family Picnic on July 16 in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The former vice president is also speaking that same day in Des Moines at the annual summit of the Family Leader, an influential social conservative organization in the Hawkeye State. Two other possible Republican presidential hopefuls – former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem – are also addressing the confab.
Haley in the Holy land
Another potential GOP 2024 contender – former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under then-President Trump – heads to Iowa later this month to headline a major state Republican party fundraiser.
But this weekend, Haley’s in Israel, on what she’s calling a “solidarity mission” to the longtime U.S. ally in the Middle East.
“No matter the challenges, the people of Israel always celebrate life and thank God for their blessings,” Haley said in a tweet with an image of her praying at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the most sacred site in the Jewish religion. “It’s humbling to join them again in prayer at such a holy place.”
Haley is the latest of the possible GOP White House hopefuls – following Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – to visit Israel in the wake of fighting between the country and Hamas forces in neighboring Gaza.
DeSantis filling campaign coffers ahead of 2022 re-election
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida – whom pundits also see as a potential presidential contender in 2024 – is adding to his already impressive campaign cash haul as he runs for re-election next year.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (AP Photo/John Raoux)
DeSantis spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday fundraising in California and the early voting state of Nevada, before returning to Florida, a source close to the governor confirmed to Fox News.
The governor, who’s resistance to coronavirus restrictions during the height of the pandemic last year and early this year has made him a popular figure among conservatives nationwide, now has roughly $39 million cash on hand as he runs for re-election.
Trump-DeSantis in 2024?
Since the end of his administration in January, former President Trump’s repeatedly flirted with another run for the White House in 2024, but told Fox News this month that he’s made no decisions – if he runs – about a running mate.
Asked during in an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” if he’s talked with Trump about serving as running mate on a potential 2024 ticket, DeSantis answered “I haven’t had any discussion with anybody about anything.”