Democrats Snub New Hampshire Primary

Nevada will now beat New Hampshire's primary.

That's the biggest change coming from the Democratic Party's decision to alter the presidential nominating calendar, a move that came in response to worries that a lack of racial and geographic diversity in the early primary season was hurting the party's fortunes.

On Saturday, the Democratic National Committee bumped New Hampshire from second place in the nominating process. Nevada's caucuses were placed between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. South Carolina also rose in prominence: Its primary will come after New Hampshire but before Feb. 5, when any state can schedule a vote.

The changes, by the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, are the first significant calendar restructuring in years.

"Today we begin the initial steps of electing a Democratic president," Alexis Herman, secretary of labor during the Clinton administration and a co-chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, told the Washington Post.

The choices of Nevada and South Carolina came after months of lobbying by the 11 states (as well as the District of Columbia) that applied to the committee to be considered for early voting status.

Critical Democratic constituencies such as blacks and Hispanics have clamored for a major role in early primary voting, arguing that Iowa and New Hampshire are hardly reflective of a diverse electorate.

Iowa's population is 95 percent white, New Hampshire's is 96.2 percent, according to the latest Census numbers.

According to the Post, Nevada had long been considered the front-runner for the caucus slot, because it carried the strong backing of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., as well as the majority of the organized labor movement -- one of the party's most influential voting blocs.

South Carolina, too, had been the favorite to secure the post-New Hampshire primary spot thanks to its successful handling of the 2004 Democratic presidential primary as well as its substantial black population, one of the main criteria given by the committee in its consideration.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the panel's decision will be presented to the full Democratic National Committee when it meets in Chicago on Aug. 19. The recommendations are typically ratified.

However, it remains unclear whether New Hampshire will abide by the committee's decision. Under state law, no similar contest can be placed within seven days of the Granite State primary -- a near-certainty given the constraints of the new nominating calendar.

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