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What People Are Saying About NH Biden Supporters' Letter to the President

In case you missed it, New Hampshire Biden supporters, including former Governor John Lynch, former members of Congress, and over a dozen others, sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reconsider his decision to alter the primary calendar and reinstate New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status.


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HASSAN: “The first in the nation presidential primary is very, very special, not only to New Hampshire, but it's important to our country and our democracy, because it allows any candidate, regardless of their war chest or their connections, to come and make their case to highly engaged, involved voters. And then they've got to scale up and go on to the next primary race… In the meantime, of course, we're going to go first because our state laws says we're going to go first. And that's really important for people to remember, too.


[T]he main message sent Tuesday afternoon by top New Hampshire Democrats to President Joe Biden is essentially, “what the hell are you thinking?”


In 933 agonized words, some of Biden’s most steadfast supporters in the state plead with him to rethink his proposal to shuffle the 2024 primary calendar by putting South Carolina at the front of the line.


Biden’s gambit could become a self-inflicted political wound, former New Hampshire Gov. JOHN LYNCH wrote in the email sent to chief of staff RON KLAIN and deputy chief of staff JEN O’MALLEY DILLON.



New Hampshire isn’t the only offended party. Labor leaders, likewise, have complained that South Carolina has one of the worst union records in the country.



If the move to prioritize South Carolina was an effort by Biden world to head off even a longshot primary challenge, it could actually have the opposite effect, at least in New Hampshire, the signatories assert. Should the state abide by its law to hold its primary first, the contest would be unsanctioned by the DNC — and if Biden declined to file for the primary, another candidate theoretically could.


New Hampshire Democrats are urging President Biden not to switch up the party’s primary calendar, saying proposed changes will “wreak havoc” in the state.

Two former U.S. lawmakers, a former governor and more than a dozen other New Hampshire Democrats are among the signatories of a letter, first reported by Politico, emailed to the White House that argues shifting New Hampshire out of its slot as the first-in-the-nation primary would put party members on the ballot next year in jeopardy.



The state Democrats argue that the change could allow Republicans to “out-organize” Democrats in the state and could mean Biden loses the first primary held in 2024, creating “an unnecessary distraction” from the president’s reelection campaign.


They explained that the Democratic National Committee is essentially asking a Republican-led state to change state law that says New Hampshire votes first – a request state Republicans have called "outrageous."


The DNC is also asking the state to support no-fault absentee voting, another demand Republicans oppose. In their letter, Democrats said Republicans are using both of these requests to attack them, which is creating difficult headwinds for Democrats.

It is unlikely New Hampshire will heed the demands from Biden and the DNC to move their primary date, which would require action in the statehouse. Republicans have control of each chamber and the governor. New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu responded to Biden’s demands with a promise, "we will not be blackmailed… we will not be threatened, and we will not give up."


The pols argue that making South Carolina the first primary state in 2024 would put New Hampshire Democrats on the ballot next year in jeopardy.

“I strongly oppose the President’s deeply misguided proposal for changes to the primary calendar. Make no mistake, New Hampshire’s law is clear and our primary will continue to be First in the Nation,” [Senator Maggie] Hassan wrote on Twitter last month.

“New Hampshire Republicans have begun to use this move to attack New Hampshire Democrats – an attack that they are already capitalizing on in the 2024 election cycle, when everything from the state legislature and governorship to the two battleground Congressional seats and presidency will be at stake,” the letter reads.

“We are especially concerned about how this will impact your re-election,” the signatories add, referring to Biden.



A state law passed in the 1970s mandates that New Hampshire hold the first presidential primary, and the state’s political establishment has indicated it will not bow to the DNC's plan, which would have New Hampshire share a primary date with Nevada, behind South Carolina.


If New Hampshire does not accede to the DNC's calendar, the New Hampshire Democratic Party could face severe penalties from the national party, including sanctions that could financially cripple the NHDP.



"We also fear – if you decline to file in the New Hampshire primary – that you may lose the first presidential primary of 2024, create an unnecessary distraction for your campaign, and diminish your great record over the past two years," the letter says.


Democrats said in the letter that they believe it's possible to keep New Hampshire first while still elevating "the influence of Black and Latino voters in this process."

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