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Democrats on the verge of upending their 2024 presidential nominating calendar

Democratic Party officials gathering the nation’s capital this week on a mission to revamp the top of their 2024 presidential nominating calendar, a move that could have major consequences for the party far beyond their primary schedule in the next White House race.

On the agenda when the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee convenes is whether Iowa and New Hampshire — which have held the first two contests in the DNC’s presidential primary and caucus schedule for half a century — will keep their traditional lead-off positions, or if the party will shake up the order and look to a more diverse state to kick off the cycle.

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in early September but was delayed until after the midterm elections, amid concerns that changes in the calendar would potentially wound Democrats facing challenging re-elections. In recent days, DNC officials on the crucial panel have been bombarded with calls, texts, and emails amid a deluge of public lobbying and behind the scenes jockeying. 

For years Democrats have knocked Iowa and New Hampshire as being unrepresentative of the party as a whole for being largely White with few major urban areas, while the Democratic voting bloc has attracted more minorities over the past several decades. Nevada and South Carolina — which currently vote third and fourth in the calendar — are much more diverse than either Iowa or New Hampshire.

RNC STICKS WITH TRADITION, MAKING NO CHANGES TO 2024 PRIMARY CALENDAR

The Iowa Caucuses display at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2020 

The Iowa Caucuses display at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2020 
(Fox News)

Complicating matters, Nevada Democrats last year passed a bill into law that would transform the state’s presidential caucus into a primary and aimed to move the contest to the lead-off position in the race for the White House, ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire. And compounding Iowa’s issues was the botched reporting of the 2020 caucuses, which became a national embarrassment for Iowa Democrats as well as the DNC. Michigan and Minnesota are pushing to replace Iowa as the Midwestern representative among the early voting, or so-called carve out, states.

Earlier this year the DNC moved to require Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina to reapply for early state status in the 2024 calendar. Other states interested in moving up to the top of the calendar also were allowed to apply for an early position. The DNC is also considering allowing a fifth state to obtain carve-out status. The four existing early states plus 13 others are still in contention to land pre-window status.

DEMOCRATS PUNT ON UPENDING 2024 NOMINATING CALENDAR UNTIL AFTER MIDTERMS

Democratic sources argue it’s pretty clear that Iowa will lose its position for three main reasons: First, it holds a caucus, not a primary, which the DNC has been phasing out in recent cycles. The delayed reporting of the 2020 presidential caucus results were a major embarrassment, and while Iowa was once a general election battleground, it’s shifted increasingly red in recent years.

Nevada has made a major push to take Iowa’s place as the lead-off state, touting its diversity. But a sticking point is New Hampshire’s state law that protects its primary as first-in-the-nation, giving the secretary of state the power to move up the date of the contest to protect primary tradition. A showdown would likely occur if kept DNC kept New Hampshire second on the calendar but moved another state’s primary to the top of the order.

'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign 

‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign 
(Fox News Digital/Teny Sahakian)

“The big questions that the committee needs to decide are whether New Hampshire or Nevada lead off the Democrats’ presidential nominating calendar and which Midwestern state — Michigan or Minnesota — replaces Iowa,” a source with knowledge of the Rules and Bylaws Committee’s thinking told Fox News.

As for adding a fifth state to the group of early voting states, the source told Fox News “I don’t think there’s much of a desire for a fifth state in the carve out calendar… it is still on the table but no one is talking about it.”

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The Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting formally kicks off on Friday, with a decision likely coming on Saturday.

Ahead of the meeting, the most powerful player in the process — President Biden — had yet to weigh in on the calendar. 

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure law on April 19, 2022 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the bipartisan infrastructure law on April 19, 2022 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
(Scott Eisen)

The president is the titular head of the Democratic Party and sources say they expect him and his top advisers to have a voice in this process, but they don’t expect any formal announcement from White House.

But with Biden likely to seek a second term and a heavily contested presidential primary unlikely if the president runs for re-election, any changes in the nominating calendar would arguably be felt more in the 2028 cycle rather than in 2024.

Iowa Democratic Party chair Ross Wilburn, as he fights to save his state’s lead off position, argued in a letter to the Rules and Bylaws Committee on Monday that there are issues more consequential than the primary calendar at play.

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“It’s critical that small rural states like Iowa have a voice in our Presidential nominating process. Democrats cannot abandon an entire group of voters in the heart of the Midwest without doing damage to the party for a generation. We need to win states like Iowa in order to grow our Democratic majorities and win the White House,” Wilburn wrote.

But Mike Czin, a longtime Democratic strategist and veteran of former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, noted that “there’s broader reasons for the party to move on from the Iowa caucus and there are numerous states that can fill that important role.”

“Iowa had numerous opportunities to reform and improve their election administration of the caucus and they failed. It wasn’t just in 2020. They had issues for years. Their opportunity to modernize has passed,” Czin said.

New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primary for a century. A sign outside the state capitol in Concord, N.H. marks the state's treasured primary status.

New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primary for a century. A sign outside the state capitol in Concord, N.H. marks the state’s treasured primary status.
(Fox News )

In New Hampshire, there’s quiet confidence that they’ll retain their century old role as the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state.

“We’ve said right from the get-go that we feel New Hampshire is going to remain first-in-the-nation,” longtime state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley told Fox News last week. “New Hampshire does a terrific job in hosting the first in the nation primary and should continue to do so. End of story.”

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While the Democrats get ready to battle over their nominating calendar, there’s little drama in the GOP.

The Republican National Committee voted earlier this year to make no changes to their current order of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada leading off their schedule.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democrats-verge-upending-2024-presidential-nominating-calendar

Politics

Arizona Republicans elect former Trump official Jeff DeWit to become next party chair, will replace Kelli Ward

Republicans in Arizona appointed Jeff DeWit as the party’s next chairman Saturday. The selection comes as Republicans in the battleground state hope to unite under new leadership and win back statewide elections.

DeWit, a former Trump aide who worked on both of his presidential campaigns, will replace Kelli Ward, a Trump ally who has embraced and echoed his election denial claims. 

He won 70% of the votes over several other nominees, including Steve Daniels, who vowed to drastically change the state’s election system by requiring all votes to take place in person on one day, with ballots counted by hand.

“I’m going to work for you, and we’re going to unify,” DeWit said after his victory. “And we’re going to get back to beating Democrats and winning elections.”

DEMOCRATIC ARIZONA GOV. KATIE HOBBS DEFENDS DECISION TO KEEP BUSSING MIGRANTS OUT OF STATE

Arizona Secretary of the Treasury Jeff DeWit arrives at Trump Tower on November 13, 2016 in New York City. 

Arizona Secretary of the Treasury Jeff DeWit arrives at Trump Tower on November 13, 2016 in New York City. 
(Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

DeWit was supported by Kari Lake, who lost the race for governor but became an influential voice in the party; Mark Finchem, a former candidate for secretary of state; retired Gen. Michael Flynn and others. 

Lake said DeWit also received a last-minute endorsement from Trump, but the former president did not post the endorsement on social media, which he regularly does.

AZ GOV. KATIE HOBBS CREATES COMMISSION TO STUDY STATE’S PRISON PROBLEMS

During Ward’s four-year tenure as party chair, Republicans lost three U.S. Senate races and elections for governor, secretary of state and attorney general. She has called for Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate newly elected Gov. Katie Hobbs for potential wrongdoing during her campaign. She has also faced criticism over the party’s spending.

Arizona Republican party chairwoman Kelli Ward speaks during a get out the vote campaign rally on November 07, 2022 in Prescott, Arizona. 

Arizona Republican party chairwoman Kelli Ward speaks during a get out the vote campaign rally on November 07, 2022 in Prescott, Arizona. 
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DeWit was elected state treasurer in 2014 and resigned in 2018, just before his term ended as he was confirmed as chief financial officer of NASA under Trump. He led Trump’s Arizona campaign in 2016 and was chief operating officer of Trump’s 2020 campaign.

Arizona Democrats elected Yolanda Bejarano, a senior national official in the Communications Workers of America union, to be their party chair.

The selection was the first contested election for the Democratic chair in 12 years. 

Bejarano was backed by most of the state’s elected Democrats, but Hobbs supported Steve Gallardo, the only Democrat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

U.S. Sen. Kyrtsen Sinema, D-AZ, speaks at a news conference after the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act at the Capitol Building on November 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a 61-36 vote, the measure would provide federal recognition and protection for same-sex and interracial marriages. 

U.S. Sen. Kyrtsen Sinema, D-AZ, speaks at a news conference after the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act at the Capitol Building on November 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a 61-36 vote, the measure would provide federal recognition and protection for same-sex and interracial marriages. 
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Outgoing Democratic Chair Raquel Teran declined to run for another term. She is also looking to run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. Ruben Gallego, who’s running for the Senate. The seat is safely Democratic.

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The 2024 election includes several races with national implications including the presidential race and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s seat. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump joins Biden, Obama in condemning ‘horrible’ beating of Tyre Nichols: ‘Never should have happened’

Former President Donald Trump joined the chorus of those responding to graphic footage from the bodycams of five Memphis police officers who repeatedly beat 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. The footage was released to the public Friday, Jan. 27.

“I thought it was terrible. He was in such trouble. He was just being pummeled. Now that should never have happened,” Trump said during an interview with The Associated Press Saturday.

The footage shows the officers punching, kicking, pepper spraying and tasing Nichols, a 29-year-old Black father and delivery driver, following a traffic stop on Jan. 7. 

He died three days later, on Jan. 10. The officers were charged with his murder.

TYRE NICHOLS’ LAST WORDS HEARD ON NEWLY RELEASED BODYCAM FOOTAGE: ‘I’M JUST TRYING TO GET HOME’

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. 

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina Statehouse, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. 
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump, who is running for the White House in 2024, said hearing Nichols repeatedly call out to his mother during the assault was particularly difficult. He said it was “a very sad moment.”

“That was really the point that got me the most, to be honest with you,” the former president said.

Trump said Memphis police were taking a “strong step” in disbanding the SCORPION police unit involved in the attack, which was created to target violent offenders in areas beset by high crime. SCORPION stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.

TENNESSEE SHERIFF OPENS NEW INVESTIGATION INTO TWO DEPUTIES AFTER TYRE NICHOLS BODYCAM VIDEO RELEASE

It has been “permanently” deactivated as a result of the Jan. 7 incident, Memphis officials announced.

Trump also called the video “pretty conclusive,” as the officers face murder charges.

He also suggested the traffic violation was not the officers’ motivation for the beating.

“Look, the tape was perhaps not totally conclusive but, to me, it was pretty conclusive and it was vicious and violent and hard to believe — over a traffic violation,” Trump said.

Warning: The contents of the below video are graphic in nature.

Trump previously discouraged violent protests that erupted across the country in the summer of 2020 following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which he also condemned.

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Trump tweeted, sparking backlash. The tweet was also flagged by Twitter as glorifying violence.

REACTION SWIFT AFTER TYRE NICHOLS POLICE FOOTAGE RELEASED; ‘THESE MEN WERE STREET FIGHTING,’ FORMER COP SAYS

The former president defended his comments as attempting to discourage escalation, not a call to shoot those who are looting.

He later centered his 2020 reelection bid around “law and order” and supporting law enforcement.

Former President Donald Trump responded to graphic footage from the bodycam of Memphis police officers who beat Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black father who later died of his injuries. 

Former President Donald Trump responded to graphic footage from the bodycam of Memphis police officers who beat Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black father who later died of his injuries. 
(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump, while in office, signed an executive order encouraging better police practices.

Former President Barack Obama also responded to the Tyre Nichols bodycam footage.

In a joint tweet, Barack and Michelle Obama said that Nichols’ death is a “painful reminder” for America.

“The vicious, unjustified beating of Tyre Nichols and his ultimate death at the hands of five Memphis police officers is just the latest, painful reminder of how far America still has to go in fixing how we police our streets,” the couple said.

President Joe Biden also addressed the video.

“My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a beloved child and young father,” he wrote in a statement Friday night.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Trump appears to take aim at potential 2024 GOP rivals, says he doesn’t have much ‘competition’

Former President Donald Trump took aim at his potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination as he kicked off a new phase of this 2024 White House campaign with a stop in the state that first launched him towards the presidency.

Pointing to his 2020 renomination as the sitting president, Trump on Saturday recollected during a speech in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire that he didn’t have much competition. 

Then, as he looked to a potential 2024 GOP primary field that might eventually include rivals such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, and other well known Republicans, Trump asserted that “I don’t think we have competition this time either to be honest.”

The former president also pushed back against recent criticism from political pundits that the first months of his third White House campaign have been anything but impressive.

TRUMP STOPS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, SOUTH CAROLINA, KICK OFF NEW PHASE FOR HIS 2024 CAMPAIGN

Former President Donald Trump gives the headline address at the New Hampshire GOP annual meeting, in Salem, New Hampshire on Jan. 28, 2023. Trump is joined by outgoing NHGOP chair Steve Stepanek (right), who is joining Trump's campaign as a senior adviser in New Hampshire

Former President Donald Trump gives the headline address at the New Hampshire GOP annual meeting, in Salem, New Hampshire on Jan. 28, 2023. Trump is joined by outgoing NHGOP chair Steve Stepanek (right), who is joining Trump’s campaign as a senior adviser in New Hampshire
(Fox News)

“They said he’s not campaigning… maybe he lost his step,” Trump said as he imitated his critics. 

The former president then stressed that “I’m more committed now than I ever was.”

Trump made his comments as he gave the headline address to hundreds of party leaders, elected officials and activists attending the New Hampshire GOP’s annual meeting. 

New Hampshire, which for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House, was the scene of Trump’s first election victory in 2016, igniting him towards the GOP presidential nomination and eventually the White House. 

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Trump’s visit to New Hampshire — first reported by Fox News earlier this week — was his first stop of the day. He later headed for South Carolina, another crucial early voting state that holds the third contest in the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar, directly after New Hampshire.

The Saturday afternoon gathering South Carolina’s state capitol building — where he is expected to announce his leadership team in the Palmetto State with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Gov. Henry McMaster on hand — will be Trump’s first 2024 campaign event since announcing his candidacy in mid-November at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Former President Donald Trump (left), after giving the headline address at the New Hampshire GOP annual meeting, in Salem, New Hampshire on Jan. 28, 2023. Trump is joined by outgoing NHGOP chair Steve Stepanek (center), who is joining Trump's campaign as a senior adviser in New Hampshire, and by RNC committee member Chris Ager (right), who is succeeding Stepanek as chair

Former President Donald Trump (left), after giving the headline address at the New Hampshire GOP annual meeting, in Salem, New Hampshire on Jan. 28, 2023. Trump is joined by outgoing NHGOP chair Steve Stepanek (center), who is joining Trump’s campaign as a senior adviser in New Hampshire, and by RNC committee member Chris Ager (right), who is succeeding Stepanek as chair
(Fox News)

As he builds his leadership teams in the early voting states, the former president announced that Steve Stepanek is “coming on board as the senior adviser for my New Hampshire campaign”  

Stepanek, a former state lawmaker and businessman who co-chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in the Granite State, on Saturday finished up four years steering the state party committee.

The former president received a very warm welcome from the crowd in New Hampshire, as Trump supporters and allies have expanded their grip over the state party in recent years.

FIRST ON FOX: TRUMP STOPPING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AHEAD OF SOUTH CAROLINA ON SATURDAY

“We’re starting right here as a candidate for president…. This is just the beginning of our agenda. I look forward to returning many times,” Trump touted.

And he predicted that “one year from now we will win the New Hampshire primary and the with the help of the good people of this state… we’ll take back the White House.” 

While Trump’s the only major Republican to date to launch a 2024 presidential campaign, and while he remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP and the party’s most ferocious fundraiser when it comes to energizing the grassroots.

Former President Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president in 2024, at a campaign event at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. 

Former President Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president in 2024, at a campaign event at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. 
(Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

But political pundits from both the left and the right torched his campaign launch, and he’s been criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for controversial actions and comments he’s made during the past two months. Plus, in the wake of a lackluster performance by the GOP in the midterm elections — when the party underperformed in what may expected to be a red wave election — Trump has also been blamed for elevating polarizing Republican nominees who ended up losing in November. 

While he didn’t take sides in New Hampshire’s combustible GOP primaries in September, the MAGA-style candidates who won the U.S. Senate and both congressional nominations went down in flames in November’s general election.

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Two days before the former president’s arrival in the Granite State, a new public opinion poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center suggested that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida held a double-digit lead over Trump in a hypothetical 2024 GOP presidential nomination matchup in the first primary state.

DeSantis, whom pundits expect will declare his candidacy for president later this year but who has yet to say if he’ll launch a campaign, stood at 42% support in the survey of likely GOP presidential primary voters in New Hampshire, with Trump at 30%. The poll is energizing DeSantis supporters — including two outside political groups with no ties to governor, one national and one New Hampshire based — which are trying to convince the Florida governor to run for president. Both groups set up booths at the NHGOP meeting in Salem.

Until recently, Trump was the clear and overwhelming front-runner in the early 2024 GOP presidential nomination polls. But in a handful of national surveys released last month, Trump trailed DeSantis, whose standing with conservatives across the country has soared over the past three years. DeSantis was overwhelmingly re-elected in November for a second term leading Florida, a one-time battleground state that’s turned increasingly red the past two cycles.

WHY THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION RACE IS OFF TO A SLOW START

Trump allies and supporters highlight that public opinion polling has long undercounted the former president’s support, dating back to his first campaign for the White House in 2016.

And Trump, during his comments in New Hampshire, touted his poll position in numerous surveys, claiming that “we are so far ahead in the polls.”

The former president took aim at his successor in the White House, criticizing President Biden on multiple fronts, including the current president’s proposal to move New Hampshire down a notch in the Democratic Party’s nominating calendar, which has infuriated both Democrats and Republicans in the Granite State.

US President Joe Biden speaks has pushed to move New Hampshire's primary further back in the presidential nominating calendar.

US President Joe Biden speaks has pushed to move New Hampshire’s primary further back in the presidential nominating calendar.
(Mandel Ngan)

Republicans are not altering their nominating calendar, keeping New Hampshire second in their schedule after the Iowa caucuses.

“I make this solemn pledge — when I’m back in the White House I will ensure that New Hampshire remains the home of the first in the nation Republican primary for many, many years to come,” Trump highlighted.

Trump’s stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina appear to be a move to plant a flag as his campaign starts to move into a higher gear.

“It’s going to be the first of many trips,” Trump campaign senior adviser Chris LaCivita told Fox News. “It’s something we’ve been looking forward to do. The early bird gets the worm. It’s all about getting out, organizing, getting your people together, getting them motivated, getting them excited.”

LaCivita emphasized that “we’re starting early and starting aggressive and putting this organization together, I think bodes well for the future.”

While Trump was the first candidate to announce, the field for the GOP presidential nomination will likely soon grow. Some of the likely or potential contenders hail from the two states Trump was stopping in on Saturday. Former two-term South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina appear to moving towards launching possible campaigns. And in New Hampshire, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is also mulling a bid.

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“New Hampshire is full of tire kickers. We love to put candidates through their paces and Donald Trump is no exception to that. He’s going to have to work just like any other candidate who wants to win New Hampshire. He’s certainly shown he can do that. He did that in 2016 pretty handily. And he has without question the best infrastructure of any candidate, so he’s well positioned,” veteran New Hampshire conservative activist Greg Moore told Fox News. 

But Moore, the longtime state director for Americans for Prosperity, emphasized that Trump is “still going to have to prove himself to New Hampshire voter just like every other candidate.”

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