New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan officially announced on Wednesday that the state will hold its primaries on January 23, 2024 — in direct defiance of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) new primary calendar — preserving New Hampshire’s longstanding tradition as the first primary election in the nation.
This move comes after assurances from both Democratic and Republican officials in New Hampshire that they would not comply with the DNC’s attempt to demote the state to second place in the primary schedule.
Scanlan, speaking at a news conference, firmly defended New Hampshire’s position, challenging the DNC’s assertion that New Hampshire lacks the diversity necessary to lead the nation in selecting a presidential candidate.
“We did not take the first-in-the-nation primary from everyone, and we will vigorously defend it, Scanlan said. “The truth is, there is no individual state to truly reflect the makeup of America, and no state is more American than any other state.”
In his defense of New Hampshire’s diversity, Scanlan also humorously responded to a past comment by a former DNC chairman about New Hampshire residents’ unfamiliarity with living on dirt roads.
“The answer to that: Of course, we do. And I would add you cannot truly appreciate living on a dirt road until you have experienced it during New Hampshire’s mud season,” Scanlan quipped.
New Hampshire’s unique characteristics extend beyond its primary election status. The state, known for its libertarian leanings, has no seat belt or helmet laws for adults, no sales tax and no income tax. It is the only Republican-run state in New England, though its Washington representatives are Democrats. The state is also the home of the Free State Project, a libertarian movement focused on preserving limited government.
Gov. Chris Sununu, who spoke at the same news conference, highlighted New Hampshire’s accessible presidential candidacy process, where anyone can run for president by simply filing paperwork. He described the state’s primary as “the first filter” for the nation, countering the DNC’s attempt to alter this tradition.
“We haven’t changed one thing,” Sununu affirmed.
Scanlan criticized the DNC’s diversity argument, suggesting that the true issue lies with the DNC party elites attempting to control the nomination process. Currently, New Hampshire has 21 Democrat and 20 Republican candidates registered for the primaries.
This defiance by New Hampshire is viewed by some as a reaction to President Joe Biden’s poor performance in the state during the 2020 primaries, where he finished fifth. Despite winning the state in the general election against Donald Trump, Biden’s approval ratings within his own party remain low. The new primary date in New Hampshire means South Carolina’s Democratic primary, set for February 3, 2024, will now be second.
The DNC’s reordering of primary dates has caused Iowa to lose its first-in-the-nation caucus status, now set for January 15 but delaying results until after Super Tuesday on March 5. This reordering has led to concerns about the DNC’s intentions and the potential loss of delegates for states defying the DNC calendar, posing a risk of national consequences.
However, Biden, as the incumbent president, faces little competition. U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips has declared his presidential candidacy but is considered a long shot by his party. President Biden has stated he will not participate in the New Hampshire primary if it does not comply with the DNC calendar, while Robert F. Kennedy Jr., previously a Democratic candidate, has shifted to running as an independent
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