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New Hampshire Democrats Denounce President Biden's 'Betrayal,’ Call for Challengers

The Democratic National Committee voted to hold the first 2024 presidential primary in South Carolina — breaking with the traditional order

President Joe Biden has provoked the ire of Democrats in New Hampshire for allowing the state to lose its historic First-in-the-Nation primary.

The Democratic National Committee voted to alter its primary schedule ahead of the 2024 presidential election to reflect the party’s values. New Hampshire and Nevada will now share the second primary date while South Carolina will host the party’s first presidential primary. Iowa, which typically hosts the first presidential caucus, will no longer be one of the states to hold an early primary.

“What happened with the DNC was a total betrayal by Joe Biden,” New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas said during an interview with WMUR on Feb. 26. “The New Hampshire Primary is part of who we are in New Hampshire. It helps define the kind of democracy – the direct democracy – we have that still flourishes today.” 

“We were not necessarily anticipating the president to come forward with a plan to reorder the primary calendar,” Pappas told Close Up’s Adam Sexton. Pappas said Biden has campaigned in New Hampshire and understands the “value” of its primary. 

“It is a big disappointment that he decided to push the DNC to make these changes,” the Congressman said. “The fact is New Hampshire does not choose for the rest of the nation. New Hampshire helps set the tone and helps set the parameters of the conversation in a way that makes for better nominees and better presidents.”

“We’re going to continue to invite candidates to come to New Hampshire,” Pappas said. He added that he believes Biden was looking to make a calendar that is “as easy as possible for him should he choose to run for reelection.”

“He obviously was saved by the South Carolina primary last time around and so he has recommended putting South Carolina first,” said Pappas. “But the fact is no one president or political leader should be shaping this calendar. This is a primary that is open to people of all political parties. It’s Republicans, Democrats and independents voting on the same day.”

Pappas said the responsibility of scheduling the New Hampshire primary day falls to the Secretary of State and the single day of voting will occur “regardless of if Joe Biden runs for president again.” He added that while the Democratic Party is “strong” in New Hampshire, it is in many respects a down-ticket swing state.

The DNC plans to issue fines for punitive damage if New Hampshire does not comply with the political party’s schedule. New Hampshire Democrats have previously argued that not hosting a First-in-the-Nation primary would violate the current state law

Top New Hampshire Republicans, including Governor Chris Sununu, Senate Majority Leader Sharon M. Carson, and House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, have said repealing the law is a “non-starter” and linked demands to do so from the DNC to “blackmail.”

President Joe Biden told the DNC’s leadership that the first month of the “presidential nominating process has been a treasured art of our democratic process” for fifty years but that “it is time to update the process for the 21st century” in a Dec. 1 letter.

“We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominees much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window,” Biden wrote. “Our early states must reflect the overall diversity of our party and our nation – economically, geographically, and demographically. This means more diverse states earlier in the process and more diversity in the overall mix of early states.”

The new DNC primary schedule, which the committee approved on Feb. 4, Georgia and Michigan would hold the fourth and fifth early primaries. 

Pappas and the other Democratic members of the Congressional delegation – Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster – co-signed a letter denouncing the vote and vowing to host the primary as it was “for more than a century” regardless of “what party powerbrokers or those in Washington think.”

No party committee gave New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary. Granite Staters created this process to put the power in voters’ hands and give every candidate a fair shot, no matter their cash-on-hand or status within the party,” the group wrote. “While President Biden and the DNC continue to push a plan of political convenience, they will not be successful in the end. We will continue to work together as a delegation and with state leaders to protect the primary and make sure New Hampshire’s law is followed.”

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