Georgia Democrats will bid for early presidential primary date

Voters line up for the first day of early voting on Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Voters line up for the first day of early voting on Dec. 14, 2020, in Atlanta. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images/TNS)

Georgia Democrats are taking preliminary steps to land a coveted spot as one of the earliest states to vote in the 2024 presidential primary.

The Democratic Party of Georgia submitted a letter of intent Thursday expressing interest in nabbing an earlier spot on the voting calendar. Party officials say the move is the first step in a longer application process.

The state party faces a June deadline to apply for an early spot, and there will be stiff competition. Democrats in Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey and Texas are among those already maneuvering to become early-voting states.

The Democratic National Committee is allowing states to bid for earlier dates after Iowa’s disastrous caucus in 2020 led to increasing questions about whether the majority-white rural state best represents the party’s diverse electorate.

Republicans saw a plot by Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate for governor who has said she won’t run for the White House in 2024 if she’s elected, to nonetheless position herself for a presidential bid.

A switch would give Georgia greater influence in picking the presidential nominee, and party officials would almost certainly highlight the state’s battleground status, growing economy, geographic importance and diverse electorate as reasons it should get an earlier date.

Presidential candidates have only sparingly visited Georgia during recent primary contests, devoting much of their attention to generating a sense of momentum in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Georgia set its 2020 primary for March 24 — weeks after Iowa’s vote — but it was pushed back twice as the coronavirus pandemic worsened. Joe Biden trounced Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders to win the state’s June 9 vote.

States have until Friday to submit a letter of intent and June 3 to complete a formal application. The DNC is expected to finalize the new calendar this summer.