President Biden is breaking with 100 years of tradition with the news that he won’t file to place his name on New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary ballot.
The Biden 2024 re-election campaign announced on Tuesday that the president will pass on filing, due to the pledge by the Democratic National Committee to discipline candidates who compete in unsanctioned primaries like the one New Hampshire is planning to hold next year.
“While the president wishes to participate in the Primary, he is obligated as a Democratic candidate for President to comply with the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2024 Democratic National Convention promulgated by the Democratic National Committee,” Biden 2024 campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez wrote in a letter to longtime New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley.
“In accordance with this guidance, Biden for President will refrain from submitting a Declaration of Candidacy for the Primary ahead of Friday’s candidate filing deadline for the Primary,” Rodriguez explained.
New Hampshire has held the first presidential primary in both major political parties’ nominating calenders for a century, and Iowa’s held the lead-off caucuses for the Democrats and Republicans for half a century.
But Democrats for years have knocked both Iowa and New Hampshire as unrepresentative of the party as a whole, for being largely White 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 Democratic calendar nearly two decades ago to increase the diversity of the early states electorate.
While Republicans aren’t making major changes to their schedule, the DNC earlier this year overwhelmingly approved a calendar proposed by President Biden to move South Carolina to the lead position, with a Feb. 3, 2024, primary. New Hampshire and Nevada are scheduled to hold primaries three days later, with Iowa entirely losing its early state position. The president and supporters of the plan have argued that the plan would empower minority voters, whom Democrats have long relied on 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 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 New Hampshire’s governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature, state Democrats repeatedly argued that is a non-starter.
While he’s yet to set the date of the primary, New Hampshire Secretary of State Dave Scanlan said recently that the contest would likely be held in late January.
That would make New Hampshire non-compliant, and the state could lose half of its delegates to next summer’s Democratic presidential nominating convention, under DNC penalties passed last year.
While top Democrats in the Granite State are expected to lead a write-in campaign for Biden in the primary, the president’s decision to skip putting his name on the ballot could lead to a protest vote in New Hampshire.
While the president’s the commanding front-runner for his party’s nomination, polls indicate Biden has faced plenty of concerns from Democrats over his age and physical and mental stamina.
The president is already facing a long-shot primary challenge from best-selling author spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson, who is making her second straight White House run.
Biden was also facing an uphill primary challenge from environmental lawyer and high-profile vaccine critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is a scion of arguably the nation’s most famous family political dynasty.
But Kennedy announced at a campaign event in Philadelphia earlier this month that he would now seek the White House as an independent candidate.
Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who’s seriously mulling a primary challenge against Biden, may head to New Hampshire on Friday to file and launch a 2024 Democratic presidential campaign.
Buckley, responding to the Biden campaign’s announcement, took to twitter on Tuesday evening to write, “The reality is that Joe Biden will win the NH FITN Primary in January, win renomination in Chicago and will be re-elected next November. NH voters know and trust Joe Biden that’s why he is leading Trump in NH by double digits.”
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