Democrats push to make Illinois an early primary in 2024

a group of Illinois’ top Democrats on Thursday advocated making the state one of the The first five in the country to hold the party’s 2024 presidential primary election.

Elected officials stressed to the Democratic National Committee panel that Illinois’ racial, ethnic and geographic diversity, as well as strong support for unions and progressive causes, makes it an attractive state for an initial primary.

But he had to defend Illinois’s reliably Democratic vote for president against the will of the National Democrats to demonstrate a competitive battlefield. He was put on the defensive by party leaders concerned about Chicago’s expensive media market and the continuing fight between the Chicago Teachers Union and City Hall could become side issues the party’s presidential candidates would be forced to address. .

Illinois is one of 16 states, along with Puerto Rico, seeking early-state, ex-Super Tuesday status as Democrats revamp their presidential calendars. Early primary states would benefit from media exposure as well as campaign and media spending.

Iowa, home of the traditional first-in-the-nation presidential caucus, is likely to lose its leadoff position because of Democrats’ wishes to favor primary elections over the caucus. The other starting states — New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — are expected to retain their starting positions, giving priority to the Midwest state, with DNC officials looking for regional balance.

Michigan and Minnesota are also territorial contenders, but unlike Illinois, they are treated as presidential battlefields. In addition, Democratic voters are more widely dispersed throughout Michigan than in Minnesota and Illinois.

But Illinois currently has Democratic supremacy in the General Assembly, while Michigan and Minnesota will need approval from their GOP-controlled legislatures to move the primary date.

The senior U.S. senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, told the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee that the state’s geographic makeup provides a pretty real test for presidential contenders.

“Are you good at urban politics? We’ll find out in Chicago. How are you doing in suburban areas where women are making a big difference? We’ll prove that point to you in Illinois, too. How about middle ground? There’s not a lot of it, but some of it is. We have a lot in Illinois. And, when it comes to conservative and rural small-town America, we have a lot to offer,” Durbin said.

“At the end of the Illinois primary, you will know the winners and losers, but you will be able to separate the sections of the state and influence these candidates and their messages in those areas,” he said. “It’s about as good as you can get in the starting primaries.”

US Representative Robin Kelly of Mattson, chairman of the State Democratic Party, said the state’s Democratic electorate is not an establishment, following Hillary Clinton’s narrow 2 percentage point victory over US Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary of Illinois. with citing a reference.


And Illinois Comptroller Susanna Mendoza, the first Latina elected to statewide office, said Illinois has twice the minority population of Michigan and “blows every other state out of the water on our diversity.”

Referring to education, age, income and religion, she said, “We are an almost perfect mirror image of the entire country, an exact match on race and an incredibly close match on every other measured category.” “We look like America. We talk like America. Southern Illinois is South.”

State Party Deputy Director Jake Lewis said Chicago’s media market was not prohibitive compared to other major cities, but it would present candidates with a challenge that they should be forced to meet.

“We need to test Democratic candidates early and so let’s test them in a state like Illinois. Let’s make sure they can mobilize resources, they can deploy resources, they can form a coalition to win,” They said.


Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and a member of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, told the Illinois delegation that “Chicago is a very interesting place” where “there are local issues that play into the national campaign.”

He cited labor disputes between the CTU and the mayors of Chicago, saying “I expected this to be limited to Rahm (Emanuel) and the CTU only, but under Lori Lightfoot it appears to be an ongoing lecture in Chicago”.

“How do you make sure this is about the presidential election as opposed to all these other issues,” Weingarten asked.

Lewis did not directly address the question. Instead, he called the state “absolutely proud of the Union” and called for support for an early primary date, as well as for Chicago to garner the party’s 2024 presidential nomination convention, the state AFL-CIO and Chicago. supported by the Federation. Labor.

“Illinois is not a state where unions are on the defensive in trying to prevent Republican encroachment or engage in a downward race. We are proud. We are aggressive,” he said. No one in this room knows better than you and we feel like Chicago is the capital of the Midwest and what happens in Chicago, what happens in Illinois, spreads to other states in the Midwest.”

In addition to Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, other states making pitches on the DNC panel are Iowa, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee is expected to make its recommendations for early voting states in late July or early August, with a full vote by the DNC in late summer or early fall.

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