“The past few elections have made it abundantly clear that the South is the new Democratic battleground, and by starting the presidential nominating process in South Carolina and incorporating Georgia into the early lineup, our party will only strengthen its commitment to these critical voters,” the statement reads in part. “The road to the White House runs through the South, and this calendar will ensure that the Democratic nominee is fortified for the general election.”
The statement is another sign of Democratic Party leaders smoothing out the path for Biden’s plan ahead of Saturday’s vote. The changes would remove Iowa and its caucuses from their longtime first-place status and challenge New Hampshire’s place as the first primary, though it would still be behind just one other state in South Carolina.
There’s still some pushback from New Hampshire Democrats about their new position in the order — splitting the second place slot with Nevada, ahead of new early states Michigan and Georgia. And a few Democrats, including Bernie Sanders’ former campaign manager Faiz Shakir, have raised concerns about putting South Carolina, a solidly red state, in first place.
In an op-ed, Shakir suggested putting North Carolina first, but North Carolina Democrats did not apply to be a part of the early window and one of North Carolina’s DNC members, John Verdejo, signed on to the statement of support for South Carolina.