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'Tennessee Tuesday Act' aims to give Tennesseans first say in 2024 election

Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-18 23:59:07-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two Tennessee lawmakers are pushing to move Tennessee's presidential primary, calling the amendment the Tennessee Tuesday Act.

Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) and Rep. Jason Powell (D-Nashville) announced the amendment on Tuesday.

If enacted, Tennessee would be the first state to have a primary in the 2024 election, moving up the primary to January 2, the first Tuesday of the new year.

Sponsors argue that the Volunteer State better represents the nation as a whole demographically and say results from states like Iowa and New Hampshire cause important candidates to drop out early.

"Some Tennesseans like those candidates, and we didn't have a say in that, especially some minority candidates who are very strong, but they just couldn't make it through Iowa and New Hampshire and some of them are very vocal about that," said Rep. Powell.

If the date is officially moved up, there could be consequences. In 2008, voters in both Florida and Michigan went to the polls in January. But as a result, the Democratic National Committee took away both states' delegates to the national convention, and the GOP banned half the states' delegates from its convention. The bill sponsors say they have not begun conversations with political parties about their proposal, but they said they would want an agreement that would not remove delegates from Tennessee.

"We want to make sure our voice is heard," Akbari said.

NewsChannel 5 Political Analyst Pat Nolan says when other states have threatened to move their primaries ahead of the Granite State, New Hampshire has promised to move its primary date up, even into the previous year if need be, to maintain its status as the first-in-the-nation primary.