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What People Are Saying About the Latest on the DNC’s Proposed Primary Calendar

“Unclear"...“Creating a controversy in a swing state” … “Pushing back New Hampshire is more complicated” … “How outrageous is that?”…. “We will respond aggressively to anyone that attempts, like the DNC, or anyone, who attempts to take that away from us”

POLITICO: Democrats' big presidential primary changes are still stuck in limbo Associated Press: NH Dems ask national party not to ‘punish’ them on primary Daily Beast: Biden Pushed to Replace the NH Primary With South Carolina. Now Delaware Too? NBC: N.H. Dems insist their hands are tied on first-in-nation primary Boston Globe: N.H. Dems call DNC criteria for primary a ‘poison pill’ and formally seek a waiver Fox News: New Hampshire’s GOP governor to DNC: ‘We will not be threatened … we will not give up’ Washington Times: New Hampshire asks DNC for leniency on nomination calendar request Bloomberg: New Hampshire Democrats Miss Deadline to Keep First-in-Nation Primary WMUR: DNC-imposed deadline is Thursday for New Hampshire to overhaul its voting laws to retain diminished primary position Manchester Ink Link: NH Political Leaders on DNC Demands: “No” NH Bulletin: In letters, Democrats and Republicans reject DNC demands regarding first-in-the-nation primary


There are few obstacles to moving South Carolina up -- but moving up Georgia and pushing back New Hampshire is more complicated.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire Republicans rolled out new legislation Wednesday to fortify the state’s first-in-the-nation status, including a state constitutional amendment, because “our historic tradition has been under attack by those looking to maybe repurpose it for their own political gain,” said state Sen. Regina Birdsell, a New Hampshire Republican.

“We will respond aggressively to anyone that attempts, like the DNC, or anyone, who attempts to take that away from us,” Birdsell said.

The new order may be moot for the next presidential cycle since Biden has said he intends to seek reelection, meaning his party will have little appetite for building out a robust 2024 primary calendar that could allow for challenges from other Democratic candidates. Still, what the national party decides for 2024 could influence primaries in 2028 and beyond, and Buckley’s letter lays bare how not all states are supportive of sweeping changes.

The immediate problem, as Buckley pointed out, is that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has refused to sign any such bill, and both chambers of the state legislature are controlled by Republicans.

“We don’t have the power to change that,” Buckley said. “It’s a Republican governor with Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate.”

The demands have rubbed stewards of the primary like Levesque the wrong way, particularly when it comes to President Biden and what he along with several others described as the DNC’s “poison pill.”

“And the further evidence to that was the fact that they said New Hampshire can go with Nevada second, after South Carolina, but only if a Republican governor sends them a letter saying that they were gonna repeal the law,” Levesque continued, briefly interrupting himself with a hearty guffaw. “How outrageous is that? I mean, talk about a poison pill.”

But New Hampshire has long had a law on the books that requires the state to hold its presidential primaries before any other similar contest in the nation.

And New Hampshire’s Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said in the letter sent Thursday in response to a DNC deadline to states, that it was an impossibility for Democrats, who do not have control of the entire state legislature or the governor’s office, to change that law even if they wanted to do so.

Where this leaves things is unclear.

The 2024 Republican presidential primary is already underway and the party is sticking with the traditional calendar of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada going ahead of all other states and territories.

It’s hardly a given that other states can comply with the DNC demands.

It could be that New Hampshire will continue to hold the nation’s first presidential primary, as state law requires, but that the Democratic National Committee will not formally recognize it, creating a controversy in a swing state.

Fox News: New Hampshire’s GOP governor to DNC: ‘We will not be threatened … we will not give up’ The letters came on the day that the DNC had set as the deadline for the five early voting states in its proposed calendar to show that they are moving toward meeting the national party’s necessary requirements — or else they would forfeit their early slots in the new schedule. For New Hampshire, that means scrapping a state law that protects its cherished first-in-the-nation primary status and passing legislation to expand access to early voting.

New Hampshire Democrats are warning the national party they will not be able to meet some of the demands the Democratic National Committee laid out in its planned makeover of the presidential nomination calendar.

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy and others in the state party sent a letter to the DNC that they’ve done what they can to fulfill the demand to expand early voting because the GOP controls the governor’s mansion and the state legislature.

“Given Governor [Chris] Sununu’s 2019 veto, it is highly unlikely that he and the Republicans will change course now because of demands from the DNC,” the letter reads. “We believe that the strong Democratic support for no-fault absentee voting shows New Hampshire Democrats’ commitment to the goals laid out by the DNC.”

"And this is an issue that we, across party lines stand in unison on. The NH State Democrat Party, The NH State Republican Party, The Democrat led Federal Delegation and the Republican Governor, House and Senate all stand together pushing back on this attempt to erode such an important process. It's as strong of a bipartisan message as you've ever seen in New Hampshire," Sununu added.

The DNC could take punitive action against the state Democratic Party at its next meeting in February.

On Thursday, Sununu sent a letter to Soucy regarding the DNC’s actions, calling them misinformed and stating the DNC’s support of South Carolina, which had much lower primary turnout than New Hampshire’s.

“I have a message for (the DNC) and President Biden – you can try to come and take (the primary) – but that is Never. Going. To. Happen. It’s just not in our DNA to take orders from Washington,” he said in the letter to Soucy. “We will not be blackmailed. We will not be threatened, and we will not give up. You see – the New Hampshire Primary has stood the test of time, giving everyone a fair shot. No matter your name ID, the money in your campaign account or the elected office you held before running for President, for over 100 years, New Hampshire has given voice to lesser known candidates and provided a pathway to the presidency for anyone dedicated enough to test their mettle with the voters of New Hampshire.

“Please be advised that New Hampshire law requires our state to hold our presidential primary election seven days or more before the date on which any other state holds a similar election,” [Senate Majority Leader Sharon] Carson wrote in her own letter. “I do not intend to propose or support any change to our existing law.”

And in a press conference Wednesday, Senate Republicans included protecting the state’s first-in-the-nation primary among its top priorities this session. Senate President Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican, has appointed Sen. Regina Birdsell, a Hampstead Republican, to lead that effort. She said Wednesday that she and Sen. Daryl Abbas, a Salem Republican, will sponsor a resolution and a state constitutional amendment seeking to protect the tradition.


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