NH Secretary of State Due to Announce Date for New Hampshire Primary
NH Secretary of State Due to Announce Date for New Hampshire Primary

By Alice Giordano

The New Hampshire secretary of state will announce the new date of the state’s presidential primary in four days at an upcoming press conference, the state agency reported today.

According to the press release, Secretary of State David Scanlan will reveal the primary date at 2 p.m. on Nov. 15 in the Hall of Flags of the New Hampshire State House in Concord.

“For over 100 years, New Hampshire has represented the purest form of democracy in the presidential nominating process, and we will fight to protect it,” Mr. Scanlan said last month in his pledge to pick a date that preserves the New England state’s first-in-the-nation primary for choosing the U.S. President. 

The date is expected to be sometime in early to mid-January, ahead of the new South Carolina primary date assigned by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). 

The DNC set Feb. 4, 2024,  as the date for the South Carolina primary, with New Hampshire scheduled for Feb. 6, the same day as Nevada’s primary.

 The new date for New Hampshire was assigned by the DNC, under the direction of President Joe Biden, and has since remained a controversy in the state where both Democrats and Republicans have vowed to fight any date that puts it second to South Carolina.

The reordering has been seen as a means to diminish New Hampshire’s influence on the presidential election. In 2020, President Biden finished fifth in the key battleground state’s primary election while pulling in a 29-point win over other candidates in South Carolina.

Despite the controversy, New Hampshire continues to be the epicenter for campaigning, with top GOP contenders former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov.  Ron DeSantis, and former President Donald Trump holding frequent events there. 

President Trump is having a rally in Claremont on Veterans Day.

The controversy grew when President Biden announced he would not participate in New Hampshire’s primary. Initially, Democratic leaders criticized his lack of participation, calling it meddling.

Last month, however, a unified write-in campaign was launched by New Hampshire Democrats as a means to keep President Biden in the running for the party nomination in the key primary state.

The campaign was led by former New Hampshire Democratic leader Kathleen Sullivan who warned in a June op-ed piece in the Union Leader, that “President Biden would create a vacuum” if he bypassed the New Hampshire primary, noting that “an insurgent candidate could emerge to fill the vacuum.”

“An insurgent candidate could draw crowds, receive press attention, win the primary, and make people question the inevitability of a Biden nomination,” she wrote.  

As former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Ms. Sullivan was once a staunch defender of the state’s historic first-in-the-nation (FITN) primary rank.

Ms. Sullivan also warned about the possibility of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. using his resources to win the nomination in New Hampshire. Mr. Kennedy is now running as an Independent.

The Biden write-in campaign was launched less than a week after Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, a moderate Democrat, stood in front of the New Hampshire state capitol and announced he had registered for the New Hampshire primary to challenge President Biden for the nomination.

Mr. Phillips cited the president’s age and weakening mental faculties as the reason. He said he admired President Biden for his work in the past, but that it was time for him to step aside for new Democratic leadership in The White House.

Despite President Biden’s historically low approval ratings, Democrats have been quick to denounce Phillips’s candidacy, calling him a long-shot candidate and a betrayer of the president.

In addition to Mr. Phillips, author Marianne Williamson has put her name on the ballot.

In all, there are 21 candidates, largely political unknowns, registered to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. President in New Hampshire.

On the Republican side, there are 22 registered candidates on the ballot in New Hampshire. Several are also what the secretary of state called “lesser-known candidates.” They include a chess player, an IBM employee, and a pastor.

President Trump and President Biden remain the frontrunners in their respective parties. 

As New Hampshire works to hold onto its first-in-the-nation primary status, questions remain about how President Trump’s upcoming trials will shape election outcomes in other states.

There are more than 20 primaries scheduled in April and May, after at least three of the former president’s trials are scheduled to be either completed or underway. Another 16 states participate in Super Tuesday on March 5, the day after his trial on charges of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is scheduled to begin.

The trial on charges he unlawfully had classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida is slated to begin in May. He is currently on trial on allegations he over-inflated the value of his New York City real estate. 

The Republican National Convention will take place July 15-18 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Democratic National Convention is slated for Aug. 19-22 in Chicago, Illinois.

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