President Joe Biden’s plan to overhaul the Democratic primary calendar and elevate Georgia to one of the first states in the nation to vote on the 2024 presidential primary is facing pushback from the state’s Republican governor.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s aide, Cody Hall, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that the governor has “no role in this process and does not support this idea.”
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While Kemp has no say on whether the changes are implemented, his endorsement, or lack thereof, carries weight with the man who will decide, Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican and Georgia’s secretary of state.
Raffensperger told CNN that while he liked the idea of the Peach State “moving up in the rankings,” a stamp of approval would require a “buy-in from both sides of the aisle, both political parties.”
The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee approved Biden’s proposal in December to make South Carolina the first state in the nation to vote in the 2024 presidential primary, bumping Iowa from the top spot. The new calendar has South Carolina voting on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada three days later, Georgia on Feb. 12, 2024, and Michigan on Feb. 27, 2024.
South Carolina, a state with a large black population that helped deliver Biden the 2020 nomination, was picked because of its diversity. So was Georgia.
Iowa, which had held the “first in the nation” title for more than five decades, was unceremoniously dethroned.
An Iowa official called the decision “a kick in the teeth.”
Despite a win for Georgia, Democrats cannot unilaterally shuffle the voting calendar in the state. Only Raffensperger has the authority to do so, and he hasn’t signed off on it, though he must by the end of the week.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that he wanted both party’s primaries to fall on the same day so the state’s election workers would not be worked too thin. He also wanted promises that a calendar move would not result in either party losing delegates.
Calls to Raffensperger’s office for updates were not returned.