New Hampshire Democrat: Don’t Punish State in Primary Overhaul

January 5, 2023

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley on Thursday asked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) not to “punish” the historically first primary state while it overhauls its 2024 calendar.

In a letter to the DNC’s rule-making arm, Buckley noted that New Hampshire state law mandates that it hold the nation’s first Presidential primary. He said changing it would require the support of members of the Republican state legislature and the state’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu, all of whom oppose the motion. 

“The DNC has handed New Hampshire Republicans a salient political attack to use against both state and national Democrats,” Buckley wrote. “This is an unfortunate, reckless, and self-inflicted blow.”

The DNC voted last month to remove the Iowa caucuses as the first contest in the Presidential primary calendar, a position that state has held since 1972.

That move followed Iowa being placed under hot lights for its fiasco involving an untested app used to tabulate results in 2020 led to significant delays and raised security concerns.

The DNC had asked President Biden to weigh in on which state should go first in the 2024 Democratic primary. He chose the state that positioned him to win the nomination—and eventually the White House—in 2020: South Carolina.

“For decades, Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process,” Biden reasoned in a letter pitching South Carolina—far more racially diverse than New Hampshire—to the DNC. 

New Hampshire Democrats say that their state has held the nation’s first Presidential primary for more than a century and that Iowa only preceded it because of a technicality: Iowa holds caucuses, not a primary.

Some New Hampshire Democrats have said they will hold their primary first regardless of the DNC’s calendar. However, the rules committee proposal says any state that does so could face sanctions.

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