Nevada lawmakers passed a bill on Monday that aims to make the state the first to weigh in on the 2024 presidential primary contests.
The move upends decades of political tradition and is likely to prompt pushback from other early states that want to retain their places in the calendar.
AB126, the bill that passed in the state’s Assembly on Wednesday and the Senate on Monday, still must be approved by Gov. Steve Sisolak to become law. It would also need the backing of the national political parties to eventually make the change for the 2024 calendar.
The push for Nevada to jump past Iowa’s caucuses and New Hampshire’s longstanding first-in-the-nation primary follows a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign led by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Reid and other Nevada Democrats have seized on dissatisfaction in the party about the nominating process that gained steam in 2020. They’re arguing to replace party-run caucuses with state-run primary elections, which are considered easier to participate in than the in-person neighborhood caucus meetings.
Most significantly, they have said that Nevada is a diverse state with a population that mirrors the demographics of the nation — and therefore a better choice for testing presidential hopefuls than mostly-white Iowa and New Hampshire.