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Biden to Dems: Scrap caucuses, promote diversity in primary

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says Democrats should move past “restrictive” caucuses and embrace diversity in the order of its presidential nominating calendar, dealing a major blow to Iowa’s decadeslong status to hold its leadoff spot in the process.

In a letter to the rulemaking arm of the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, Biden does not mention specific states he’d like to see go first. But he notes that Black voters for decades “have been the backbone of the Democratic Party” and says it’s “time to stop taking these voters for granted.”

The expectation is that the Democratic panel will vote to replace Iowa with South Carolina, according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity before the official vote.

His letter comes as the Democratic rules committee gathers in Washington on Friday to consider shaking up the presidential primary calendar starting in 2024.

Biden’s letter was written on personal stationery and did not carry the White House seal.

If the rulemaking committee takes up Biden’s recommendation, Iowa would be knocked from a position it has held for more than four decades after technical meltdowns marred results of the 2020 caucus and amid a larger party push to let a more diverse state go first.