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New Hampshire Democrats Urge DNC to Keep Traditional Order of Presidential Primaries

New Hampshire has held the first primary for each presidential election cycle since 1920

Democrats in New Hampshire are asking their party to keep their state as the opening battlefield for presidential primaries after the Democratic National Committee voted to change the order for the 2024 election cycle.

Under the party’s new national regulations, states can apply to hold an early presidential primary by submitting a letter of intent to the DNC by May 6. Interested state will then complete official applications by June 3 and make a formal presentation later that month.

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee’s resolution permits a maximum of five states to hold their primaries before the first Tuesday in March. Since 2008, this right has been given to New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina.

New Hampshire has been the host of the nation’s first presidential primary for over a century.

The Iowa Caucus became the first electoral event of a presidential election cycle in 1972.

The rules committee will have six weeks to make its recommendation on the new early-state lineup, which will likely be announced at their meeting in early July,” reports Politico. “Later this summer, the rules committee’s roster of states will go to the full DNC membership for a vote to lock in the calendar for the 2024 presidential cycle.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley sent a letter to the DNC making the case for the New England state’s first-in-the-nation status.

For more than 100 years, and long before the DNC regulated the primary calendar, Presidential candidates have started their campaigns in New Hampshire,” Buckley wrote on April 24. “They have seen, up close and personal, just how seriously Granite Staters take their role in the first presidential primary in the nation and have come to appreciate the unique role that only New Hampshire can play in the race for the White House.”

He argued that launching campaigns from New Hampshire produces higher quality representatives for the party in the long term.

The state’s interest in retail “gives candidates a chance to test their message and build innovative organizing operations,” the chairman wrote.

He also said that New Hampshire’s battleground status, its mix of Republican and Democratic voters, and its geographic size gave any candidate an equal chance to showcase their messages. 

“The size of New Hampshire means campaigns can build robust organizing programs for less money than in larger states, while allowing candidates to travel the entire state easily within a day. Our media markets are relatively inexpensive and don’t require millions upon millions of dollars to fund paid advertisements. Candidates get a fair shot in the Granite State,” Buckley said.

Jamie Harrison, the DNC chairman, told WMUR in December 2021 that he was unsure of the fate of New Hampshire’s presidential primary.

“Well listen, every four years the DNC goes through this process in which we evaluate what happened in the past and look forward to what we’re gonna do in the future,” Harrison said, adding that he believed Buckley would advocate for New Hampshire Democrats.

“There isn’t a better state party chair in the country than Ray Buckley,” he said. “And so you’re in good hands.”

Other states have also advocated for the end of the traditional order of presidential primaries.

In March, the chairman of the New Jersey Democratic National Committee sent a letter to the party asking the DNC to make New Jersey one of the initial presidential primary states.

Moving to a new, modernized presidential nominating system would send a strong message that the Democratic Party is focused not on the past, but on the future,” writes Chairman Jamie Harrison. “Our party cannot cling to outdated traditions that do not help us reach new voters and motivate the diverse coalition of supporters needed to win elections and enact our pro-middle class agenda.”

Democrats in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Michigan have also signaled their interest in early-state status for the next presidential primaries.

In 2021, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law a bill giving the state the first primary of the 2024 presidential election cycle. The law shifted that state from an in-person caucus meeting run by political parties to a primary election run by the government. The primary is now legally required to be held on the first Tuesday of February of an election year.

New Hampshire Democrats remain resolved that tradition will win out in the end.

“The Granite State has kicked off the presidential nominating contest since 1920, and it has produced successful nominees for both parties. I am confident that proud tradition of nominating presidents will continue in 2024 and beyond,” Buckley concluded in his letter.

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