In Brief

Make New Jersey one of the first presidential primary states, Democratic chair says

By: - March 17, 2022 4:46 pm

LeRoy Jones (Nikita Biryukov | New Jersey Monitor)

New Jersey Democrats want a bigger say in presidential primaries.

Democratic State Chairman LeRoy Jones urged Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison in a letter Wednesday to consider adding New Jersey to the list of early primary states as the national Democratic organization considers retooling its nomination calendar to better reflect the party’s demographics.

“It is time for the Democratic Party to move boldly into the future with a presidential primary calendar that reflects the diversity of our party and nation,” Jones said. “Let’s make New Jersey one of the first primary states and set up future Democratic Party presidential nominees for long-term success.”

Jones’s letter comes as members of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee have raised questions about the order of its nominating contests, particularly about early races in overwhelmingly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

New Jersey’s primaries are usually held in June, making it one of the last states to get a say in who wins their party’s nomination for president.

Jones argues New Jersey, as a diverse and compact state, would make for a better venue than states like Iowa, which has less than a quarter of New Jersey’s registered Democrats.

There are more Democrats registered in Essex and Middlesex counties than there are in the entirety of the Corn State.

“Moving to a new, modernized presidential nominating system would send a strong message that the Democratic Party is focused not on the past, but on the future,” Jones said. “Our party cannot cling to outdated traditions that do not help us reach new voters and motivate the diverse coalition of supporters needed to win elections and enact our pro-middle-class agenda.”


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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.