The state Democratic Party this month urged the Democratic National Committee to let Illinois host one of the first five presidential primaries in 2024.
If you’re excited about Illinois holding its primary election in late June this year – a time when it isn’t snowing, blowing and dark – be prepared to be disappointed in 2024. The Democratic Party of Illinois wants to move that year’s primary not just back to March, but even earlier.
State Democratic leaders, including U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Chicago, who is chairwoman, sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee urging it to consider Illinois for one of the “pre-window” primary dates that now include New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
“Democrats have to compete and win in the Midwest to win nationally,” Kelly said in her letter to DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison. “Illinois represents a true test of what presidential candidates will face across the nation, and as an early primary state, Illinois can help strengthen the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates in the primary and general elections.”
That may be true, but for voters in Illinois – the people who would be making the decision on those candidates – the early primary date would be another inconvenience imposed by the powers that be so that they might become kingmakers. Illinois’ 2020 primary was in March, the 2022 primary will be on June 28 and the 2024 primary could be in February.
And because Democrats run every aspect of state government, including the choice of election dates, Republican candidates and their voters would be bound by the early primary, too. They were in 2008 when Democrats moved the primary to Feb. 5 to help favorite son Barack Obama win the party’s presidential nomination.
It’s worth noting that primary elections really are run by the political parties as a way for them to select their candidates. That’s why a voter must choose a Republican or Democratic ballot, not both. And undoubtedly, there are fervent Democrats who would like a stronger voice in choosing their party’s presidential candidate next year.
But the reality is that only TV station owners – who could make even more money on presidential candidate commercials in 2024 than they’re making this year in the gubernatorial election — are really keen on a wintry Illinois primary.
That cost – particularly in the expensive Chicago and St. Louis markets – could be the reason Illinois doesn’t get an early primary. Many candidates wouldn’t want to see their resources depleted so early in the race on one large state. So consider Illinois’ bid for an early primary a long shot.