The Michigan House on Tuesday approved plans to move the state’s primary election up in the presidential nominating calendar as part of Democrats’ push to reorganize the party’s primary schedule.
The change, approved 56-53 along party lines in the state House, would move the primary from the second Tuesday in March to the fourth Tuesday in February and make Michigan the fifth state to pick a Democratic presidential nominee.
The measure passed the Michigan state Senate last week and now gets the green light to go before Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) for her signature. If the governor does approve the change, it’s not yet clear when the altered schedule will go into effect.
The Michigan primary shift is part of a broader Democratic effort to reshuffle the presidential nominating calendar, increasing diversity in the process and focusing more on battleground states.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) voted last month to change the primary lineup, which President Biden backed.
South Carolina would become the first state to cast ballots, kicking New Hampshire out of its early slot and removing Iowa as the first caucus state. New Hampshire and Nevada would vote the week after South Carolina in the new calendar, followed by Georgia and Michigan, which would take fifth place.
The proposal drew a mixed response. New Hampshire Democrats were particularly upset by the plan to strip them of their first-in-the-nation status. They have said it would be difficult to clear the changes past New Hampshire’s Republican governor and majority GOP statehouse.
The passage of the Michigan change through its state legislature comes just days after the DNC voted to delay finalizing the 2024 calendar due to some states’ concerns they won’t be able to implement the shifts in time for the upcoming presidential race.