The Washington State Democratic Party officially entered the race to become one of the first five states to host an early presidential primary in 2024.

State party officials sent a letter of intent Thursday to the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, which oversees the application process and recommends a slate of proposed states for the full DNC’s approval. The letter is the first step and indicates the state party’s desire to seek an exemption to the standard presidential nominating calendar in 2024. It was signed by Chair Tina Podlodowski, state Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), and state Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane).

To be selected, states must demonstrate diversity, competitiveness, and feasibility. Washington state satisfies all three, Podlodowski said, and provides “unique opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their ability to organize, compete, and appeal to a broad coalition of voters.”

“Washington is one of the best positioned states to run the kind of high-profile and voter-accessible nominating contest that a pre-window state requires,” said Podlodowski, who also chairs the DNC Western States Caucus. “Our state has everything a balanced nominating contest should look for: broad diversity – racially, economically, geographically, and politically – a dedicated and effective party organization and democratically-controlled government, and a shining vote-by-mail system to encourage stability and faith in the nominating process itself.”

Podlodowski said Democrats have worked hard to hold majorities in both the executive and legislative branches at the state level, and leaders are eager to work together to shift to an earlier primary date — something they also already have experience in. In the 2020 presidential election, the primary date was moved from mid-June to March 10.   

The state party will continue to make its case to the DNC in the coming months, giving a more in-depth presentation outlining Washington’s qualifications by June 3 and then a formal pitch in Washington D.C. June 22-24. A decision will be made sometime by early August.

“We are deeply honored to even participate in this process and look forward to all of the next steps,” Podlodowski said. “Washington is truly an incredible place, and we can’t wait to share the many reasons we are so proud to call the Evergreen State home with our national partners.”