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Hispanic Caucus Joins Calls for Nevada To Host First Democratic Presidential Primary

Democrats argue that it is time for the Democratic National Committee to abandon tradition and refocus on voters of color

By Megan Barth, November 30, 2022 2:18 pm

Nevada Democrats have been making an aggressive push, prior to and after the midterm elections, for Nevada to host the first Democratic Presidential primary outlining the growing diversity and increasing political power in the Silver State. Historically, New Hampshire and Iowa have cast the first ballots for the Democratic presidential nominee, however, Democrats argue that it is time for the Democratic National Committee to abandon tradition and refocus on voters of color.

According to a report by Axios:

After decades of an unchallenged status quo, Democrats are grappling with the reality that their diverse base isn’t properly represented when two small, overwhelmingly white and rural states have outsized influence in picking the party’s nominee.

  • To better position the state for coming reforms, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a law last year changing the state’s caucus to a primary and moving its date up to the first Tuesday in February 2024.
  • He also expanded voting access by enshrining an opt-out, mail-in ballot system into law.
  • Nevada is a majority-minority state and the third-most diverse in the country, per the U.S. Census Bureau, with relatively large populations of Latino, Black and AAPI voters.
    • “Engaging those communities can flip districts and states, and we’re flipping districts by margins that are under 150 votes,” said Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen, who was the first Democratic AAPI member to serve in the Nevada Legislature.

In a memo shared with POLITICO, Nevada Democratic strategist Rebecca Lambe wrote the 2022 midterms strengthened the state’s case to be first, arguing that “no other state meets every key aspect of the DNC’s own criteria for the early window of diversity, competitiveness, and accessibility except Nevada.”

The voters who make up our electorate represent the future of the Democratic Party if we want to win national elections: working class Latino, Black, Asian American, Native American, and white voters,” Lambe’s memo continued. “Nevada looks like America — and Nevada going first will help Democrats win future presidential elections, more so than any other state under consideration.

The state that goes first matters. If we disproportionately focus on a state with more highly educated, more affluent, and less representative voters, then we are setting our party up for long-term failure.

With the reelection of Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina senator, the Hispanic caucus has now joined the chorus.

The Hill reports:

In a joint statement, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), chair of Bold PAC, the campaign arm, and Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) said moving up Nevada’s primary will play to the party’s strengths.

“The midterm results in Nevada underscore exactly why elevating this diverse battleground state and showing a deeper commitment to hearing from Latinos and other diverse voters earlier in the Democratic primary calendar is so crucial for winning national elections,” said the lawmakers.

“Picking a president should start with a state that reflects our shared values of inclusion and embodies our rich diversity — particularly when it comes to some of the fastest growing voting blocs in the nation,” they added.

The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee  is scheduled to meet Dec. 1-3 to propose and vote on changes to the calendar. A vote could come as early as Friday.


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Megan Barth
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