DES MOINES, Iowa – Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill on Friday that creates a presidential primary to replace the state’s caucuses and moves the date of that contest in an attempt to jump ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The new law moves Nevada’s presidential primary to the first Tuesday in February in presidential election years, with the first primary to be held on February 6, 2024.
In 2020, Iowa held its caucuses on the first Monday in February, and New Hampshire held its primary on the 2nd Tuesday in February. Nevada held its caucuses third on February 22. South Carolina, which typically goes third, had its primary on February 29.
Iowa has held the First in the Nation caucuses since 1972, and New Hampshire has held the First in the Nation primary since 1920.
Problems with a new app being used to report caucus results for the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucuses caused a delay in announcing a winner for several days and led to the party’s chairman’s resignation. That followed a close, contentious contest in 2016 that has led Democrats to push for a move away from caucuses. A growing number of Democrats have also called for states that better reflect the party’s diversity to go first in their party’s primary calendar.
Ultimately, the primary calendar is up to each party, and the chairman of the Republican Party of Nevada does not support his state’s lawmakers’ move to make Nevada first.
In a joint statement with the “carve-out coalition” of states, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, Republican Party of New Hampshire Chairman Stephen Stepanek, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael J. McDonald, and South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick released a statement earlier this week in support of the existing calendar.
“As the GOP leaders of the four carve out states, we want to make clear that we stand together in protecting the presidential nominating schedule as it has existed for many years. Our alliance is strong and we will continue to work together to preserve this historic process,” they said.
Pat Garrett, not speaking in his official capacity as Gov. Kim Reynolds’ spokesperson, told The Iowa Torch that “the governor is really supportive of how Chairman Kaufmann has led on this issue.”
Iowa Democratic Party Chair, State Rep. Ross Wilburn, told The Iowa Torch he intends to work with Kaufmann to keep Iowa first.
“Iowa going first does not take away from other state’s abilities to hold primaries, it adds an important voice to the conversation. I believe Democratic candidates have a real opportunity in Iowa to connect with a diverse electorate that includes voters of color and rural working class Americans. Iowa also provides the perfect grassroots opportunity for candidates who don’t have the name recognition or funding to break through in larger states,” he said.
“Iowa Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much, but we do agree in keeping Iowa first in the nation. I have had conversations with Jeff Kaufmann and will continue to be in communication with him going forward,” Wilburn added.