Nevada seeking to be first-in-the-nation primary with new law

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a bill Friday that would hand his state the coveted first primary in the nation during presidential elections.

The measure aims to transform Nevada’s caucuses into primaries and allow the state to jump ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire. Nevada’s primaries would take place on the first Tuesday of February. 

But in order to be enacted, the law still needs the approval of the national political parties. GOP chairs in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and even Nevada released a statement last week saying they wanted to preserve the historic timetable.

Democrats, led by former Sen. Harry Reid, have lobbied to move Nevada to the front of the line, citing Iowa’s chaotic reporting of results last year, when the count was not finalized until nearly a month later.

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Others have pointed to the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire have largely White voters, and that President Biden lost both before coming back to win the nomination. 

“It’s time for Nevada to take its rightful place, not just first in the West but in the nation, as a diverse state, a state with diverse issues,” said Democratic Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, who sponsored the legislation, according to the Des Moines Register. 

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Meanwhile, former Democratic Party Chair Tom Perez has said the caucus process should be phased out altogether and primaries used instead, and that Iowa should not go first. Caucuses are in-person gatherings that can last several hours, with voters choosing sides publicly, whereas primaries function much like general elections. 

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Iowa Republicans have remained committed to caucusing in 2024, and potential presidential candidates like Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have already staked out the Hawkeye State in recent months. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.