New Hampshire’s Republican attorney general is taking aim at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for what he argues are “false, deceptive, and misleading” comments about the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
And longtime state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley, reacting to Monday’s move by state attorney general John Formella, emphasized that “it’s safe to say in New Hampshire” — where most baseball fans support the Boston Red Sox and despise the rival New York Yankees — “the DNC is less popular than the NY Yankees.”
Formella cited a Jan. 5 letter sent to Buckley by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee — which oversees the party’s nominating calendar — telling the state party chair to inform local Democrats that New Hampshire’s upcoming presidential primary — which is in violation of the national party’s 2024 nominating calendar — is “meaningless.”
The state attorney general said calling the primary meaningless violates New Hampshire voter suppression laws.
NEW HAMPSHIRE HOLDS TO TRADITION, THUMBS ITS NOSE AT BIDEN AND NATIONAL DEMOCRATS
The sign outside the New Hampshire capitol in Concord honors the state’s cherished century-old tradition of holding the nation’s first presidential primary in the race for the White House. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser )
The development is the latest in a more than yearlong family feud between DNC and Democrats in the state that for a century has held the first primary in the race for the White House.
Democrats for years have knocked both Iowa — whose caucuses kicked off both major parties’ nominating calendars for five decades — and New Hampshire as unrepresentative of the party as a whole because the state has a largely White population with few major urban areas. Nevada and South Carolina, which in recent cycles have voted third and fourth on the calendar, are much more diverse than either Iowa or New Hampshire. Nevada and South Carolina were added to the Democrat calendar nearly two decades ago to increase the diversity of the early states’ electorate.
NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMOCRATS DEFY BIDEN, DNC OVER PRIMARY DATE
While Republicans aren’t making major changes to their schedule, the DNC last year overwhelmingly approved a calendar proposed by President Biden to move South Carolina to the lead position on Feb. 3. New Hampshire and Nevada were scheduled to hold primaries three days later, with Iowa entirely losing its early state position. The president and supporters of the new calendar argued that it would empower minority voters, upon whom Democrats have long relied but have at times taken for granted.
But New Hampshire has a nearly half-century-old law that mandates that it hold the first presidential primary, a week ahead of any similar contest.
To comply with the DNC, New Hampshire would have needed to scrap its state law protecting its first-in-the-nation primary status and expand access to early voting. However, with Republicans in control of the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature, Democrats repeatedly argued that was a non-starter.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire (center) speaks after N.H. Secretary of State Dave Scanlan (left) set the date for the state’s 2024 first-in-the-nation presidential primary, on Nov. 15, 2023 at the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)
In November, New Hampshire Secretary of State announced that the state’s 2024 presidential primary would be held on Jan. 23, eight days after Iowa’s Republican caucuses.
The state faces sanctions from the DNC, which could result in the loss of half of New Hampshire’s delegates to next summer’s national convention.
And the holding of an unsanctioned primary has led the president to keep his name off the New Hampshire ballot. However, Granite State Democrats have launched a write-in campaign in an attempt to prevent an electoral embarrassment for the president as he runs for a second term in the White House.
The DNC letter last week to Buckley stated that “the NHDP must take steps to educate the public that January 23rd is a non-binding presidential preference event and is meaningless and the NHDP and presidential candidates should take all steps possible not to participate.”
“No delegates or alternates shall be apportioned based on the results of the January 23, 2024 event,” the DNC added.
The state attorney general’s office, in their letter, noted that “regardless of whether the DNC refuses to award delegates to the party’s national convention based on the results of the January 23, 2024, New Hampshire democratic Presidential Primary Election, this New Hampshire election is not ‘meaningless.'”
The letter goes on to state that the “RBC’s statements to the contrary are false, deceptive, and misleading” and constitute “an attempt to prevent or deter New Hampshire voters from participating in the January 23, 2024, New Hampshire democratic Presidential Primary Election.”
File photo of longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley, in his office at the state party headquarters in Concord, N.H. (NHDP )
Buckley, in his statement, noted that “state law requires the New Hampshire Secretary of State to conduct the first-in-the-nation primary and he is going to follow the law — period. Nothing has changed, and we look forward to seeing a great Democratic voter turnout on January 23rd.”
There are plenty of Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire who see the upending of their lead-off positions as sour grapes from Biden, who finished a disappointing fourth in the 2020 Iowa caucuses and fifth in the New Hampshire primary — before a second-place finish in Nevada and a landslide victory in South Carolina propelled him toward the nomination and eventually the White House.
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Biden faces long-shot primary challenges from two Democrats who will be on the ballot in New Hampshire.
Three-term Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, formally announced his presidential bid as he filed at the State House on Oct. 27 to place his name on the state’s ballot. Also on the Granite State ballot is the other challenger, bestselling author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson, who is making her second straight White House run.
While the 81-year-old president is the commanding front-runner for the nomination, polls indicate Biden faces serious concerns from Democrats over his age. Those surveys also suggest that many Americans, including plenty of Democrats, don’t want the president to seek a second term in the White House.
There are concerns among Granite Staters that the move by the president and the DNC to revamp the nominating calendar, and his absence from the primary ballot, could lead to a ballot box setback for Biden in New Hampshire.
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