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LISTEN: NHDP Chair Ray Buckley on NH Today

This morning NHDP Chair Ray Buckley joined guest host Dean Spiliotes on NH Today to discuss the first-in-the-nation primary and how the DNC’s primary calendar can both amplify diverse voices and keep New Hampshire’s important piece of the nominating process as first.

Listen to the full interview here.

Key Excerpts:


Ray Buckley: The idea that we were going to get Chris Sununu and the Republican majority in the Senate and the House to pass, you know, no-excuse absentee voting when he's vetoed it and the Republicans opposed it in the Senate. So, you know, that's not going to happen. And of course, Splaine's law that was passed in 1975. It's not going to happen either. And we'll continue to work with them. You know, I communicate back and forth, trying to explain to them that the primary is going to happen. And I don't think I don't think it's a very good look for the president to start up 2024 with a loss in New Hampshire.



Dean Spiliotes: And you're right. And we were discussing earlier, it's not an either or thing. You can have both. You can highlight diversity and also let New Hampshire do its thing at the same time.



Ray Buckley: Well, I mean, we are a small state. We are a state that was given the opportunity for many underdog voters of both parties, underdog candidates of both parties to be successful. We have that record. You know, I've traveled to all the states as the former head of the state chairs' association all those years. And, you know, the way they interact with their elected officials, never mind visiting elected officials, is a lot different than the way we do here in New Hampshire. Where we go 'Well, nice to meet you. But what's your stance on, you know, climate control?' You know, so that level of scrutiny just doesn't happen anywhere. And that's very, very important.



Ray Buckley: Well, you know, they've yet to come up with that. That's one of the big question marks. What is it that they're going to do? But, you know, one of the things that the president wrote in his letter to the RBC and instructed them to create this new calendar, is that to look at it every four years? And I think that many of the candidates that would be running in 2028 would hope that the RBC relook at this and straighten it out, because they see that going through New Hampshire is really their best shot at becoming the nominee.

Transcript:


Dean Spiliotes: We talked a lot this morning about the New Hampshire primary and all the drama surrounding the schedule, something you're obviously intimately aware of and involved in and trying to deal with. And we listened to an interview with Senator Shaheen in the last half hour. Chris Ryan interviewed her earlier in the week. And, you know, she is pretty clear that she was unhappy with President Biden. She said he's driving this. She has not spoken to him about it. She's would not be surprised. She would be surprised if he changed his mind. And she called it unfortunate and shortsighted. So where are we with this all now at the moment? And is this the kind of the relationship with President Biden, does this have a potential for turning into a bigger problem?


Ray Buckley: Well, first off, I want to make it clear that I always agree with anything that Senator Shaheen says. You know, look, we're going to have the primary is probably going to be next January. You know, our law is very clear, the Secretary of State steps in, that it's conducted by state government. The Democratic Party doesn't have any role in conducting the primary, whether it's the state party or the national party. We're going to continue to work with them. We've responded. You know, their demands were not—


Dean Spiliotes: Not doable?


Ray Buckley: No. The idea that we were going to get Chris Sununu and the Republican majority in the Senate and the House to pass, you know, no-excuse absentee voting when he's vetoed it and the Republicans opposed it in the Senate. So, you know, that's not going to happen. And of course, Splaine's law that was passed in 1975. It's not going to happen either. And we'll continue to work with them. You know, I communicate back and forth, trying to explain to them that the primary is going to happen. And I don't think I don't think it's a very good look for the president to start up 2024 with a loss in New Hampshire.


Dean Spiliotes: Are you kind of in a similar or have a similar sense to Senator Shaheen that like this is probably going to happen? Or do you sense that the DNC, or that there's any wiggle room within the DNC or any kind of internal fishers that could be utilized to try to restore things to the way they were?


Ray Buckley: Well, we're certainly doing our best to try to communicate. I'm not sure who came up with this plan, but it wasn't somebody that understood the law in any way. And we will continue to explain the situation. We hope that we can rectify it, because, you know, the whole point was to elevate Black voters and Latino voters and other voices who have historically have been ignored. And adding Georgia and Michigan, eliminating Iowa, that, to an extent, does that.


Dean Spiliotes: And you're right. And we were discussing earlier, it's not an either or thing. You can have both. You can highlight diversity and also let New Hampshire do its thing at the same time.


Ray Buckley: Well, I mean, we are a small state. We are a state that was given the opportunity for many underdog voters of both parties, underdog candidates of both parties to be successful. We have that record. You know, I've traveled to all the states as the former head of the state chairs' association all those years. And, you know, they're the way they interact with their elected officials, never mind visiting elected officials, is a lot different than the way we do here in New Hampshire. Where we go 'Well, nice to meet you. But what's your stance on, you know, climate control?' You know, so that level of scrutiny just doesn't happen anywhere. And that's very, very important.


Dean Spiliotes: Right. So let's, just for purposes of thinking this through, let's assume that it moves up to January and the GOP and the Democratic primaries are on the same day because the GOP is sticking with the current schedule. And I assume they would want to do it on the same day, although I guess they don't have to. They wouldn't necessarily have to perhaps, but I would think that it would be at the same time, you know, with President Biden, assuming he runs for reelection. You know, you don't know that you would have any serious challenges to him within the Democratic Party. But down the road in four years, you might have you could, in theory, have an open seat there on the Democratic side. What just for purposes of letting our listeners learn a little bit more about this? What kinds of things are there that the DNC could actually do to keep our primary from going off his schedule? I mean, obviously we can have it as scheduled, but, you know, how can they discourage candidates?


Ray Buckley: Well, you know, they've yet to come up with that. That's one of the big question marks. What is it that they're going to do? But, you know, one of the things that the president wrote in his letter to the RBC and instructed them to create this new calendar, is that to look at it every four years? And I think that many of the candidates that would be running in 2028 would hope that the RBC relook at this and straighten it out, because they see that going through New Hampshire is really their best shot at becoming the nominee.


Dean Spiliotes: And Ray, when is this locked in in terms of DNC voting?


Ray Buckley: Well as with politics, nothing is definitely ever over. But the vote will be happening in the first week of February. We'll be in Philadelphia, where Senator Soucy and Senator Fuller Clark and Bill Shaheen and Joanne Dowdell and Samay Sahu from Nashua. We will be there and we will be carrying the New Hampshire banner proudly.

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