Democrats Move a Step Closer to Making South Carolina First Primary

“For decades we have said we will bear any sanctions,” said Raymond Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Republican willingness, or lack thereof, to change dates may also be relevant in several states, including in Republican-controlled Georgia. A spokesman for Gov. Brian Kemp did not respond to a question on Friday afternoon about his reaction to the Democratic proposal.

The committee vote came a day after Mr. Biden sent a letter to members laying out his criteria for the early-voting window that emphasized diversity and rejected caucuses — effectively dealing a mortal blow to the troubled Iowa caucuses, which struggled for days to deliver results in 2020.

The proposed schedule rewards some of the states that powered Mr. Biden’s political comeback in 2020, elevating diverse, working-class and in some cases more moderate constituencies that were vital to Mr. Biden’s primary victory.

After he came in fourth place in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, two states with high percentages of white voters, he showed new signs of political life in Nevada. And it was South Carolina’s primary, with large numbers of Black voters, that revived his candidacy and propelled him through Super Tuesday and to the nomination.

“Defense, education, agriculture, manufacturing — South Carolina is a perfect laboratory,” said Representative James E. Clyburn, the South Carolina Democrat whose endorsement of Mr. Biden in 2020 played a vital role in the president’s victory in the state. “That’s why the people who do well in South Carolina end up doing pretty good in the general.”

Mr. Clyburn said that he had urged Mr. Biden to keep South Carolina in the early-state window — “first, second, third or fourth, didn’t matter to me” — but that he had learned of the state’s possible elevation to the kickoff primary on Thursday from the president.

Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the D.N.C., who is from South Carolina, said he had found out at Thursday night’s state dinner.

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