Biden Opts Out of New Hampshire’s 2024 Primary: Implications and Next Steps

by Lucas Garcia
2024 New Hampshire Primary

President Joe Biden’s decision to abstain from participating in New Hampshire’s 2024 primary has added an unexpected dimension to the electoral process, posing challenges not just for his own campaign but also for state election authorities and voters. Although the New Hampshire primary’s details for the coming year are still being finalized, the outline of the event is gradually emerging.

When Will the 2024 New Hampshire Primary Take Place?

The authority to set the date for New Hampshire’s 2024 primary rests solely with Secretary of State David Scanlan, who has not yet made a determination. For the past four decades, the primary has been scheduled for the Tuesday following the Iowa caucuses, slated for January 15. The state’s regulations also dictate that the primary be held at least a week before any comparable event. According to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) official calendar, the earliest subsequent contest is the South Carolina Democratic primary on February 3. Therefore, the only Tuesday meeting these conditions would be January 23.

The Underlying Contest for Primacy in the Democratic Nomination Process

This development is the latest in an ongoing debate within the Democratic Party about which states should initially shape the party’s presidential nominations. Historically, Iowa and New Hampshire have initiated this process for both major parties. However, their primacy has been challenged, leading to states shifting their positions in the nomination calendar and causing an increasingly earlier start to the primary season.

President Biden had advocated last year for restructuring the primary calendar, proposing South Carolina as the opening state. The DNC endorsed this proposal, positioning South Carolina’s primary for February 3, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on February 6. Despite this, New Hampshire intends to maintain its status as the first primary, in defiance of the party’s regulations, thus inviting potential penalties from the DNC. President Biden chose to honor the party rules he advocated for by abstaining from the New Hampshire ballot.

Will Biden Influence the New Hampshire Primary?

Even though Biden’s name will not be pre-printed on the New Hampshire ballot, some Democratic state leaders are spearheading a write-in campaign for him. Past precedents exist; President Lyndon Johnson won the state’s primary as a write-in candidate in 1968, although he subsequently withdrew from the race.

Raymond Buckley, Chairman of the State Democratic Party, declared on social media that Biden would ultimately win the New Hampshire primary, secure re-nomination in Chicago, and achieve re-election the following November.

Counting of Write-In Votes

According to the Secretary of State, local officials will account for write-in votes on the night of the election, along with the votes cast for other candidates. These figures must be publicly disclosed and submitted to the state office by 8 a.m. the next day. Whether these initial tallies will include a breakdown by individual write-in candidates remains uncertain.

The Fate of New Hampshire’s Democratic Delegates

Party regulations do not prohibit write-in candidates from acquiring delegates, who are distributed proportionally based on the statewide and district-level votes. The more substantial question is the potential actions the DNC might take to penalize New Hampshire Democrats for defying the calendar rules. Various options include stripping the state of its delegates or reducing their voting power at the next year’s national convention in Chicago.

What Will a Biden-Excluded Primary Ballot Look Like?

To enter the New Hampshire primary, a candidate must file a Declaration of Candidacy and pay a $1,000 fee. As of the most recent update, 13 Democratic and 21 Republican candidates have completed this process. The deadline for filing is Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

Election Night Coverage by Big Big News

The Associated Press (AP) will disseminate vote totals for both the Democratic and Republican primaries in New Hampshire. For the Democrats, this will include any available breakdown of write-in votes by candidate as provided by the New Hampshire Secretary of State. The AP will not make projections and will only announce a winner when no feasible scenarios exist for trailing candidates to close the gap. The reporting process could be delayed if a significant number of write-in votes are involved and the breakdown is not immediately available.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News correspondents Holly Ramer in Concord, New Hampshire, and Will Weissert in Washington, D.C.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2024 New Hampshire Primary

What is the main focus of this report?

The main focus of this report is to analyze the implications and ramifications of President Joe Biden’s decision not to participate in New Hampshire’s 2024 primary.

Who has the authority to set the date for New Hampshire’s 2024 primary?

The authority to set the date for New Hampshire’s 2024 primary lies solely with the Secretary of State, David Scanlan.

Why is Biden’s absence from the New Hampshire ballot significant?

Biden’s absence adds a layer of complexity to the electoral process and raises questions about delegate allocation, party regulations, and the overall Democratic nomination process.

How will write-in votes be counted in the New Hampshire primary?

Local officials will process ballots with write-in votes on election night, along with the votes for other candidates. The results must be publicly disclosed and submitted to the state’s Secretary of State by 8 a.m. the next day.

Will Biden still influence the New Hampshire primary despite not being on the ballot?

Although Biden’s name will not appear on the ballot, some state Democratic leaders have initiated a write-in campaign on his behalf. This campaign could potentially influence the primary’s outcome.

What are the potential penalties New Hampshire could face for holding its primary earlier than allowed?

The Democratic National Committee could choose to penalize New Hampshire by stripping the state of its delegates or reducing their voting power at the national convention.

What is the deadline for candidate filing for the New Hampshire primary?

The deadline for filing the Declaration of Candidacy and paying the $1,000 fee for the New Hampshire primary is Friday at 5 p.m. ET.

Who will be providing the election night coverage?

The Associated Press will be providing election night coverage, including any write-in vote totals and details by candidate that the New Hampshire Secretary of State makes available.

More about 2024 New Hampshire Primary

  • New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Official Site
  • Democratic National Committee Rules and Regulations
  • Joe Biden’s 2020 South Carolina Primary Win
  • History of First-in-the-Nation Primaries
  • Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 Write-In Campaign in New Hampshire
  • 2008 DNC Delegate Controversy involving Michigan and Florida
  • Associated Press Election Coverage Guidelines

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StrategistSteve October 27, 2023 - 1:08 am

Skipping NH is risky but could pay off if SC comes first. High stakes move for Biden.

JohnDoe October 27, 2023 - 7:30 am

Wow, never thought Biden would skip NH. thats a game changer for sure.

CuriousCarol October 27, 2023 - 7:47 am

Who are the 13 Dems who’ve filed so far? any surprises?

DataDerek October 27, 2023 - 8:27 am

Good point on how AP handles projections. In a race this uncertain, we need all the accuracy we can get.

FreelancerFiona October 27, 2023 - 9:36 am

this is ripe for a follow-up article. So many angles to cover!

Emily92 October 27, 2023 - 2:14 pm

Super detailed report! So if I get it, Biden’s move’s got a lot of folks on edge, huh?

PoliticalJunkie October 27, 2023 - 2:46 pm

Is NH gonna lose its delegates? That would be massive, specially for a swing state.

InsightfulAnna October 27, 2023 - 5:10 pm

wait, write-in votes have to be counted the same night? That’s gonna be a long election night for sure.

EconNerd October 27, 2023 - 6:35 pm

Delegates, write-ins, dates…this is so much more complex than I thought. Politics is messy.

NHLocal October 27, 2023 - 10:45 pm

I’m from NH and this is just wild. Didn’t see it coming at all. What’s next?


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