New Hampshire Maintains First-in-Nation Primary Status for 2024, Contravening Democratic Party’s Revised Schedule

by Joshua Brown
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New Hampshire Primaries 2024

In defiance of the Democratic Party’s revised primary schedule, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State, David Scanlan, announced on Wednesday that the state will hold its presidential primaries on January 23, 2024. This decision sustains New Hampshire’s longstanding tradition of hosting the nation’s first primaries, a practice that dates back over a century.

Under state law, New Hampshire is required to conduct its Republican and Democratic primaries a minimum of seven days before any similar elections, with the Secretary of State holding exclusive authority over the scheduling. Continuing the practice established by his predecessors, Secretary Scanlan, a Republican, chose the date after considering the scheduling decisions of other states.

The Republican presidential nomination process will commence with the Iowa caucus on January 15, 2024. Following closely, New Hampshire’s primary is poised to be a pivotal moment, especially for GOP contenders vying to demonstrate their viability against former President Donald Trump, who is currently leading in the race for the nomination. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in particular, has strategically emphasized New Hampshire in his campaign.

While Iowa’s Democrats will also caucus on January 15, they will not immediately announce presidential results, adhering to new party guidelines. These guidelines were influenced by President Joe Biden’s stance that Black and minority voters should have a more significant and earlier influence in the process. Notably, both Iowa and New Hampshire have populations that are over 90% white.

However, Secretary Scanlan criticized the use of racial diversity as a basis for altering the presidential nominating calendar, labeling it a dangerous precedent. During a press conference to announce the primary date, he questioned the implications of such criteria, asking at what point other demographic factors might be used to disqualify a state from holding an early primary.

The Democratic National Committee has ratified a new schedule, positioning South Carolina, with its substantial Black population, for a primary on February 3, 2024. This will be followed by Nevada three days later. Additionally, Michigan has been advanced to vote prior to Super Tuesday, which is set for March 5, 2024.

President Biden has chosen not to appear on the New Hampshire ballot and does not plan to campaign there, although a group of prominent state Democrats is organizing a write-in campaign to support his re-election.

Following the withdrawal of former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina from the race, the Republican field is starting to consolidate. Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are among those competing to become the primary challenger to Trump.

Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire described the state as being driven by grassroots efforts, highlighting its unique political culture where personal engagement and not just name recognition or financial resources are key to electoral success.

For comprehensive coverage of the 2024 election, visit AP’s election page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Primary Elections

What is the significance of New Hampshire’s presidential primaries for 2024?

New Hampshire’s presidential primaries for 2024 hold significance as they continue the state’s tradition of being the first to vote, despite the Democratic Party’s efforts to revise the primary schedule.

Why did New Hampshire’s Secretary of State schedule the primaries for January 23, 2024?

State law mandates that New Hampshire’s primaries must occur at least seven days before similar contests. Secretary of State David Scanlan, a Republican, exercised his authority to set the date, following the practice of his predecessors.

How does this impact the Republican nomination process?

New Hampshire’s primary, occurring eight days after the Iowa caucus, provides a crucial opportunity for GOP candidates to demonstrate their competitiveness, especially against former President Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Why did Iowa’s Democrats delay the announcement of presidential results?

Iowa’s Democrats chose to delay the release of presidential results to comply with new party rules advocated by President Joe Biden, aimed at giving Black and minority voters a more prominent role in the nominating process.

What is the Democratic National Committee’s revised schedule for 2024?

The Democratic National Committee approved a new calendar, featuring a primary in South Carolina on February 3, 2024, followed by Nevada three days later. Additionally, Michigan was moved to vote before Super Tuesday on March 5, 2024.

Why is President Biden not appearing on the New Hampshire ballot?

President Biden has opted not to appear on the New Hampshire ballot and is not campaigning in the state. However, some of the state’s top Democrats are organizing a write-in campaign in support of his re-election.

Who are the prominent Republican contenders in the 2024 presidential race?

With the withdrawal of former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Tim Scott, the Republican field is starting to consolidate. Notable contenders include Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy, all vying to become the primary challenger to Trump.

How does New Hampshire’s political culture differ from other states?

Governor Chris Sununu described New Hampshire as a “bottom-up state” where personal engagement is crucial for electoral success, unlike the heavy reliance on name recognition and financial resources in other states.

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