NH Dems ask national party not to ‘punish’ them on primary

Jan 4, 2023, 4:02 PM | Updated: Jan 5, 2023, 11:08 am
FILE - Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, arrives to speak to a forum on the...

FILE - Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, arrives to speak to a forum on the future of the Democratic Party Dec. 2, 2016, in Denver. New Hampshire Democrats are asking the national party not to "punish" them while overhauling its 2024 presidential primary calendar. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — New Hampshire Democrats on Thursday asked the national party not to “punish” them while overhauling its 2024 presidential primary calendar, arguing that implementing the proposed shakeup may amount to a “poison pill” against their state’s traditional role as among the first to vote.

In a letter to the Democratic National Committee’s rulemaking arm, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley noted that state law mandates that New Hampshire hold the nation’s first presidential primary. He said changing it would require the support of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and GOP members of the state Legislature, who oppose doing so.

“The DNC has handed New Hampshire Republicans a salient political attack to use against both state and national Democrats,” Buckley wrote. “This is an unfortunate, reckless, and self-inflicted blow.”

A DNC rulemaking committee voted last month to remove Iowa’s caucus as the leadoff of the presidential nominating calendar it has held since 1972 and replace it with South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 3, starting in 2024. Nevada and New Hampshire would go next, three days later, followed by Georgia the following week and then Michigan the week after that. Much of the rest of the country would subsequently vote on Super Tuesday.

President Joe Biden has championed a reordered primary calendar to better reflect the party’s deeply diverse electorate — especially the steadfast support of Black voters, who are prominent in South Carolina. The proposed changes also follow a technical meltdown that marred the results of Iowa’s 2020 caucus. They are set to be approved by the full DNC at a meeting in Philadelphia next month.

The new order may be moot for the next presidential cycle since Biden has said he intends to seek reelection, meaning his party will have little appetite for building out a robust 2024 primary calendar that could allow for challenges from other Democratic candidates. Still, what the national party decides for 2024 could influence primaries in 2028 and beyond, and Buckley’s letter lays bare how not all states are supportive of sweeping changes.

New Hampshire Democrats say that their state has held the nation’s first presidential primary for more than a century and that Iowa only preceded it because of its caucus format. Some have vowed to simply hold the New Hampshire primary first regardless of the calendar set by the national party, but the rules committee proposal says states doing so could face sanctions.

Sununu, sworn in for his fourth term as governor on Thursday, referenced Democrats’ efforts to move New Hampshire’s primary behind South Carolina’s: “I have a message for President Biden: You can come and try to take it, but it is Never. Going. To. Happen.”

“We are not going to be blackmailed,” the governor said. “We are not going be threatened, and we will not give up.”

In the past, states attempting to jump ahead have risked losing delegates to the national party convention, discouraging presidential candidates from spending time campaigning in them. Buckley’s letter decried the “DNC’s threat to punish New Hampshire if it complies with state law.”

The state Democratic Party chairman wrote that any effort by the party or the Biden campaign to “withhold resources from the state until after the primary” would “gravely harm our efforts to build a general election coordinated campaign to reelect the president, elect Democrats up and down the ticket, and give Republicans the chance to out-organize our party in a state that has continued to trend blue.”

The DNC rules committee has also asked states now set to be among the first five voting in its primary to show progress toward expanding access to the ballot box through efforts like easing early voting rules. Buckley said New Hampshire Republicans have also opposed doing that, and called it “another area where the DNC’s requirements serve as nothing more than a seemingly deliberate poison pill for New Hampshire’s primary.”

“We ask that this committee not punish New Hampshire Democrats and recognize the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary in 2024,” he wrote.

Associated Press writer Holly Ramer contributed from Concord, New Hampshire.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Signage outside PayPal headquarters in San Jose, Calif., is pictured on March 10, 2015. PayP...
Associated Press

PayPal to cut 2,000 jobs in latest tech company cost-cutting

PayPal said Tuesday it will trim about 7% of its total workforce, or about 2,000 full-time workers
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-ABC journalist charged with child pornography offense

A well-known former investigative journalist for ABC News has been arrested on a charge of “transporting” images depicting the sexual abuse of children, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday. James Gordon Meek, 53, of Arlington, Virginia, was arrested Tuesday, months after his home was searched by federal authorities. Authorities found images of children engaged […]
1 day ago
This is a locator map for Afghanistan with its capital, Kabul. (AP Photo)...
Associated Press

Taliban asks Pakistan not to blame them for violence at home

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed foreign minister Wednesday asked Pakistani authorities to look for the reasons behind militant violence in their country instead of blaming Afghanistan. The comments from Amir Khan Muttaqi came two days after Pakistani officials said the attackers who orchestrated Monday’s suicide bombing that killed 101 people in northwest Pakistan staged the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Qatar Airways, Airbus reach settlement in A350 legal case

LONDON (AP) — Qatar Airways and Airbus have reached a settlement in a longstanding legal dispute over the safety of the A350 jetliner and billions of orders for other planes. The companies said in a joint statement Wednesday that the settlement was “amicable and mutually agreeable.” “A repair project is now underway and both parties […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Rivian logo is shown on one of the company's electric pickup trucks, Dec. 15, 2021, in Atl...
Associated Press

FedEx, Rivian, DraftKings join US companies cutting jobs

FedEx, Rivian Automotive, and DraftKings have joined a growing list of U.S. corporations announcing job cuts. FedEx sent an announcement to employees Wednesday informing them that the package delivery company is reducing the size of its officer and director team by more than 10% and consolidating some teams and functions. “Unfortunately, this was a necessary […]
1 day ago
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey speaks to reporters after taking the oath of office in Jeff...
Associated Press

20 attorneys general warn Walgreens, CVS over abortion pills

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Attorneys general in 20 conservative-led states warned CVS and Walgreens on Wednesday that they could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills by mail in those states. A letter from Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to the nation’s largest pharmacy-dispensing companies was co-signed by 19 other attorneys general, warning […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
NH Dems ask national party not to ‘punish’ them on primary