Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan Dems lobby to hold early 2024 presidential primary

By: - June 23, 2022 5:12 pm

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist during Thursday’s Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws meeting. | Screenshot

Michigan Democrats formally made a push on Thursday to be one of the first states in the country to hold presidential primaries in 2024.

During a Democratic National Committee (DNC) meeting, Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, and the Rev. Wendell Anthony of Detroit lobbied to move up the state on the upcoming presidential primary calendar. 

During a 40-minute presentation, Gilchrist called Michigan “crucial” to winning the White House and went on to discuss other states competing to hold early primaries during the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee. 

“They don’t have anything on Michigan,” Gilchrist said.

Stabenow said “Michigan looks like America.” 

“I support the notion of Michigan being first,” said Anthony, who heads the NAACP’s largest chapter.

Democratic President Joe Biden won Michigan over incumbent Donald Trump, a Republican, by 154,000 votes in 2020. 

To hold the early primary, Michigan hopes to leapfrog over Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and March 3, 2020 Super Tuesday states that included Alabama, California, Minnesota, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.

The committee, which heard from Texas, Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, and New Jersey delegations on Thursday, will decide on the primary schedule by Aug. 6.

The Michigan delegation offered a video narrated by Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas supporting the effort. Former Michigan GOP chairs Saul Anuzis and Rusty Hills, who did not attend the meeting, have also lended support for the effort.

“[We] are a state where Republicans and Democrats routinely come together to get things done. Despite many disagreements and through historic challenges, the divided government in Lansing has shown an ability to compromise and deliver on the fundamental issues that matter to all Americans,” Anuzis and Hills wrote. “We are confident that the strong, bipartisan relationships within the legislature will result in a vote to change the Presidential Primary date.”

Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Clare), Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and the Michigan Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment. 

In April, the DNC rules committee voted to open applications for the early presidential nominating window. The 30-member committee includes Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, longtime Democratic Party activist Donna Brazile, and Minyon Moore, director of White House political affairs under former President Bill Clinton.

The 2020 Michigan Democratic presidential primary took place in March as one of several states voting the week after Super Tuesday. Then Vice President Joe Biden outpaced U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) in the contest.

“Looking at our diversity, our culture, our industry, we are America and should be early in the primary process because we truly represent all of America,” Barnes told the Advance on Tuesday.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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