Saturday, June 24, 2023

[From FHQ Plus] The Georgia primary isn't really in "limbo"

The following is a cross-posted excerpt from FHQ Plus, FHQ's subscription newsletter. Come check the rest out and consider a paid subscription to unlock the full site and support our work. 


FHQ always follows along with rules meetings when I have the time. The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (DNCRBC) meeting late last week from Minneapolis was no exception. It was a productive if not eventful meeting. Among other things, the panel extended the early calendar waiver for New Hampshire and took up 19 state delegate selection plans, clearing 15 of them as conditionally compliant. 

Much of it seemed straightforward enough. But then I read some of the recaps and kept asking myself if folks had watched the same meeting I had. Sure, rules can have their various interpretations, but these sorts of sessions — those where delegate selection plans are being reviewed — can be pretty technical, pretty black and white. Yet, that did not stop some folks from reading shades of gray into matters where there really is none. Or in the case of the New Hampshire waiver, seeing what they wanted to see.

The consideration of the Georgia presidential primary (and any waiver extension for it) at the DNCRBC meeting last week was one of those situations. Like New Hampshire, the presidential primary in the Peach state had a spot in the early window of the Democratic calendar reserved for it for 2024, but ran into resistance with Republican state officials back home. However, unlike the situation in New Hampshire, the date of the Georgia primary has been set by the secretary of state. That deal is done. 

And DNCRBC co-Chair Minyan Moore seemed to acknowledge that in her comments about what she and fellow co-Chair Jim Roosevelt would recommend to the committee. She conceded that, despite the efforts of Democrats in Georgia and nationally, Peach state Republicans would not budge. They would not cooperate with the proposed change. And though Moore did not acknowledge it, it was an entirely understandable position. Any Georgia primary in mid-February would have cost Peach state Republicans a sizable chunk of their delegation to the national convention in Milwaukee next summer. Their hands were tied. They always were with respect to a February 13 position under Republican National Committee rules. [There were, however, other early window options that may have worked.]

But after that explanation, Moore said…

“…it does not seem to make sense to extend the Georgia waiver at this point. Regardless, I think the foundation has been laid for 2028, and it is a discussion that we need to continue.”

The key phrase in that statement is the highlighted one, at this point. Its addition was enough for the Associated Press to say that the Georgia primary was in limbo, that the committee had “opted not to immediately offer such an extension to another battleground state, Georgia.”

Look, the at this point was in reference to 2024 in its entirety, not this particular point in the 2024 cycle. And the reference to 2028 should have driven that point home. There is no number of waivers that the DNCRBC could offer Georgia Democrats that could get the state-run primary out of that March 12 slot. None. It is not in limbo. It is set for 2024. And this discussion can continue. 

…for 2028.

But it should be noted that there is a loose thread in all of this. There still is no draft delegate selection plan from the Georgia Democratic Party. Its absence at this time could create enough uncertainty that one may be inclined to suggest that maybe a party-run primary of some sort is in the works. 


But if that was the case, then the DNCRBC would have granted an extension on the Georgia waiver last week. They did not. And they held back on that waiver extension because Georgia is done. The primary is set. 

The committee is set to address delegate selection plans from the southern region at its July meeting, so this all should clear up to some degree by then. 


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