DemDaily: Tonight’s New Hampshire Democratic “Primary”

January 23, 2024

As New Hampshire Republicans vote for their state's GOP nominee for the 2024 presidential election today, Granite State Democrats are holding their own "primary" -- albeit without Joe Biden on the ballot.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) last year voted to reshuffle its early nominating calendar -- updating it for the first time in 15 years to give preference to battleground states, electoral diversity and union representation. Any state party or candidate defying the newly sanctioned order risks penalties from the national party.

Under the revamped order, South Carolina moved into the first place slot, scheduled on February 3, followed by New Hampshire on February 6. That decision, however, put the DNC's order at odds with a New Hampshire law -- implemented for more than a century -- requiring that the state be the first primary in the presidential nominating process.

Democratic and Republican presidential primaries are historically held on the same day. While primary dates vary by election cycle, they must be approved by both the respective parties and the state governments in which they take place.

New Hampshire Republican leaders, who control the state legislature and executive branch, made it clear from the outset that no exception would be made to the law, declaring January 23 the date for both party primaries.

New Hampshire Democrats, loath to give up their first-in-the-nation primary status, also opposed the change and deferred to the state's January 23 primary date under state law.

As this violation of the new DNC party rules and calendar made it an unsanctioned primary, President Biden, who advocated for the new line-up, decided not to file for inclusion on the state's ballot and did not campaign in the state.

State Democrats' rogue status also means that none of the 23 pledged delegates to the Democratic Convention, normally allotted during the primary process, will be approved or awarded by the DNC.

As New Hampshire's Democratic "primary" is unsanctioned without a delegate selection plan approved by the DNC, it is technically a "state sponsored public opinion."

As the presumed nominee, Biden's absence from the ballot is not expected to impact his campaign, but a notable turnout for either of his minor Democratic opponents -- Congressman Dean Phillips (MN) or self-help author and 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson -- could serve as an embarrassment.

Accordingly, "grassroots" Biden supporters in New Hampshire launched a “Write-In Joe Biden” campaign to ensure that the President still officially wins the state and that “on the night of the New Hampshire primary, the eyes of the world will turn to the very first votes cast of the 2024 election [by] thousands of New Hampshire voters supporting President Joe Biden.”

New Hampshire allows independent or undeclared voters to participate in either party’s primary and permits same-day voter registration. As write-in votes must be counted by hand, final results may be delayed.

The drama of the year-long showdown between state and national Democrats -- expected to play out further in the months leading up to the August 19-22 Democratic Convention in Chicago -- was briefly eclipsed over the weekend by reports of voter suppression.

On Monday, the New Hampshire Attorney General's office announced it was investigating "an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election," -- a fake robocall sent to voters from what sounded like President Biden. The voice, generated by artificial intelligence, encouraged them not to go to the polls today, saying, "Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday." The message concludes with a phone number of a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair who now works for a super PAC supporting the Biden write-in campaign.

The president looks forward to having his name on New Hampshire’s general election ballot as the nominee of the Democratic Party after officially securing the nomination at the 2024 Democratic National Convention, where he will tirelessly campaign to earn every single vote in the Granite State next November.” -- Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden Campaign Manager

Most polling sites in New Hampshire close at 7:00pm Eastern Time tonight, with some open until 8:00pm.

DemList will keep you informed.

DemDaily: DeSantis Bows Out Ahead of New Hampshire 1/22/23
DemDaily: Trump Dominates First In The Nation Primary. Iowa 1/16/23
DemDaily: Haley and DeSantis: The Race for Second Place 1/12/23
DemDaily: Christie Concedes Presidential Primary 1/11/23
DemDaily: Tonight's Showdown! The Fifth Republican Debate 1/10/23
DemDaily: The 2024 Presidential Primary Calendar! 1/4/23
DemDaily: The GOP Primary: A Snapshot 12/12/23
DemDaily: Countdown to Iowa. The Fourth Debate 12/8/23
DemDaily: The Dwindling GOP Field 12/5/23
DemDaily: New Hampshire First? 11/17/23

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Kimberly Scott

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Resources: AP, CNN, The Hill, NPR, Politic

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