More than 20 New Hampshire Democrats warned President Biden this week that his push to move the first Democratic primary election from their state to South Carolina would have a devastating effect on the election of Democrats in upcoming elections and may hurt Biden’s re-election chances there.
Biden has supported holding the first votes in South Carolina to make sure that “voters of color” have more of a say in electing Democrats. But the New Hampshire Democrats, many of whom are longtime Biden allies, warned Biden in a letter sent Tuesday that his plan is creating big problems.
“While we share your desire to elevate more diverse voices in the process, we believe that the proposed schedule could wreak havoc on Democrats up and down the ticket in New Hampshire and unnecessarily jeopardize four critical electoral votes in your re-election campaign,” they wrote.
They explained that the Democratic National Committee is essentially asking a Republican-led state to change state law that says New Hampshire votes first – a request state Republicans have called “outrageous.”
The DNC is also asking the state to support no-fault absentee voting, another demand Republicans oppose. In their letter, Democrats said Republicans are using both of these requests to attack them, which is creating difficult headwinds for Democrats.
“And that is why we have grave concerns about the DNC’s requirements,” they wrote. “New Hampshire Republicans have begun to use this move to attack New Hampshire Democrats – an attack that they are already capitalizing on in the 2024 election cycle, when everything from the state legislature and governorship to the two battleground Congressional seats and presidency will be at stake.”
“We are especially concerned about how this will impact your re-election,” they added.
“We also fear – if you decline to file in the New Hampshire primary – that you may lose the first presidential primary of 2024, create an unnecessary distraction for your campaign, and diminish your great record over the past two years,” they wrote.
An extensive list of the signatures includes key Biden allies in the state that date back decades: Former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, former Ambassador Terry Shumaker, state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, state Rep. Steve Shurtleff, and former Gov. John Lynch.
“If the DNC and your campaign withhold resources from New Hampshire or wait to begin building an organization until after the primary, it will greatly hinder our efforts to help you build a general election campaign in the state and it will allow the Republicans to out-organize us up and down the ballot,” they wrote.
It is unlikely New Hampshire will heed the demands from Biden and the DNC to move their primary date, which would require action in the statehouse. Republicans have control of each chamber and the governor. New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu responded to Biden’s demands with a promise, “we will not be blackmailed… we will not be threatened, and we will not give up.”