Biden Won't Be on the Ballot in the Nation's First Primary

New Hampshire says it will be held on Jan. 23
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2023 7:10 PM CST
New Hampshire Is Keeping Its Primary First in the Nation
In this Nov. 7, 2016, photo, a ballot box is set for residents to vote at midnight in Dixville Notch, NH.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

The 2024 election could get off to an embarrassing start for President Biden. The state has confirmed that it plans to keep its first-in-the-nation status by holding its presidential primaries on Jan. 23, a week before South Carolina's Democratic primary, Politico reports. Under an overhaul of the primary calendar spearheaded by Biden, South Carolina was supposed to be first. Biden kept his name off the ballot in New Hampshire in anticipation of the state violating the Democratic National Committee's calendar, and while Democrats are organizing a write-in campaign, he could still lose to Marianne Williamson or Rep. Dean Phillips, who will both be on the ballot.

Under New Hampshire law, the secretary of the state has the authority to set the primary date. State law requires the date to be either the second Tuesday in March or a week before another state holds a similar primary, whichever is earlier, the New York Times reports. "New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primary election for over 100 years," New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan said Wednesday. "And we will vigorously defend it." Politico reports that Scanlan, a Republican, was flanked by the leaders of the state Democratic and Republican parties when he made the announcement.

Biden and other Democrats had said they wanted a more diverse state than New Hampshire at the top of the primary calendar. Scanlan said they shouldn't use racial diversity as a "cudgel" to rearrange the calendar. Diversity is not the real issue at play in this debate. At stake is who gets to determine the nominee of a party: the elites on a national party committee by controlling the nominating calendar, or the voters," he said. Biden finished fifth in New Hampshire in the 2020 Democratic primary, behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but scored a huge win in South Carolina weeks later. (Last month, Iowa Democrats came up with a compromise to comply with the new calendar.)

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