The Maryland Democratic Party asks for the state to be considered for an early primary for the 2024 presidential election. The party submitted a letter of intent as a potential early primary state to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Yvette Lewis, chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, said as a state with suburban, urban and rural communities, she sees it as “America in miniature.” According to U.S. Census data, it is also now the most diverse state on the East Coast. Lewis added Maryland’s compactness gives it a leg up in being more accessible for candidates.

“Traveling to a state with 99 counties — for example, like Iowa — does get to be costly, it’s time-consuming, and requires quite a bit of resource,” Lewis pointed out. “That won’t be the case here in Maryland because you can get to each of our jurisdictions relatively easily.”

The DNC approved a plan in April for selecting up to five states to vote in the early primary months. Others vying for a spot include Colorado, Connecticut, and Delaware. A decision is expected to come later this summer.

Lewis noted historically; that early primary states have dominated the conversation during the election cycle and had some influence over other state primaries held later in the year. She thinks it is important for states like Maryland to have a stronger voice in the electoral process.

“It would shine a spotlight on not only where our needs are, but it would shine a spotlight on the good things that are happening here,” Lewis remarked. “It also introduces people to a state they may not know very much about, but they may come to love as much as we do because they can look at our state and see themselves.”

States currently holding early caucuses and primaries include Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Maryland’s 2022 primary election is July 19, with early voting starting July 7. Marylanders must be registered to vote by June 28.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York provided support for this reporting.

Emily Scott is a reporter and producer in Philadelphia. She previously worked at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR station, and is a 2018 graduate of Temple University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

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