The two Democratic New Hampshire senators criticized President Biden’s proposal to add South Carolina to the party’s primary election calendar ahead of the Granite State, insisting the radical shake was “misguided” and a “short-sighted decision.”
The drastic proposed reset would result in South Carolina starting the 2024 Democratic nominating contests on Feb. 6 of this year, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada a week later — ending the Granite State’s 104-year status as a state running the process directs.
News of the potential reorganization sparked fury in New Hampshire as the rulemaking arm of the Democratic National Committee was scheduled to meet in Washington on Friday to vote on the reorganization.
“It is tremendously disappointing that the President failed to understand the unique role New Hampshire plays as the first primary state in our candidate selection process,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) said in a statement.
“It’s a shame that the White House’s short-sighted decision risks diverting candidates’ attention and denying voters critical opportunities to engage with candidates and hear their vision and policy priorities.”
Still, Shaheen vowed that the DNC vote would not affect New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation status.
“As frustrating as this decision is, it will not affect when we choose our primary date: New Hampshire state law requires that we will hold the ‘first-in-the-nation’ primary. That status remains unchanged as we are bound by state law,” she said.
Shaheen’s colleague Maggie Hassan echoed those concerns, saying, “I strongly oppose the President’s deeply misguided proposal.”
“But make no mistake,” Hassan continued. “New Hampshire law is clear and our elementary school will continue to be first in the nation.”
Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) also doubled down, insisting the Granite State will enforce its first state law.
“Regardless of today’s events, New Hampshire will still host the nation’s first primary in accordance with our state law,” Kuster said in a statement.
“The nation’s first primary cannot be granted or revoked by the DNC, and I look forward to New Hampshire continuing to host robust presidential primary.”
Under state law, the New Hampshire presidential primary must be held at least seven days before “similar elections” in any other state. The Iowa Caucuses, the first competition since 1972, is not considered a “similar election” for these purposes.
Other states have previously attempted to violate party rules and jump closer to the front lines, only to be threatened with having their delegates not counted among their chosen candidate securing the party’s nomination.
The DNC had no immediate response to Shaheen, Hassan and Kuster’s statements.
In a letter to Democrats Thursday, Biden, 80, cited the need for more diversity in the nomination process as a catalyst for the calendar change.
“We need to ensure that voters of color have a voice in selecting our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the early window,” Biden wrote in a letter to members of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee.
“Black voters in particular were the backbone of the Democratic Party but were pushed back in the early primary process. We rely on these voters in elections, but have failed to recognize their importance in our nomination calendar. It is time to stop taking these voters for granted and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process.”
After the first three contests, the Democrats’ tentative plan would be to hold the presidential primary in Georgia on February 20, 2024, followed by Michigan on February 27.
The Republican National Committee has previously announced that its first four nominating contests would be held in traditional order in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/12/02/nh-lawmakers-rip-bidens-proposal-to-shake-up-primary-calendar/ NH lawmakers scrap Biden’s proposal to change primary calendar