New Hampshire lawmakers unable to comply with DNC primary schedule

WASHINGTON — New Hampshire lawmakers say they are unable to meet a key Democratic National Committee demand to remain a state running for president and are imploring the party not to respond with harsh penalties.

Democratic leaders in the state had previously tried to convince the National Party to rethink its 2024 presidential nomination timeline and a mandate that New Hampshire would repeal a state law requiring it to hold the first Democratic contest. These efforts were in vain.

Now party leaders plan to tell the DNC’s regulatory committee that New Hampshire Democrats ‘probably don’t have the power to change our election laws’ with Republicans controlling the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. .

“Punishing New Hampshire Democrats, who lack the ability to address election laws in the face of a Republican trifecta in the state, could have dire consequences for Democrats up and down the ticket in 2024,” a letter led by New Hampshire Senate Democratic leader Donna dit Soucy.

The letter specifically addresses a mandate from the DNC that New Hampshire expand absentee voting to maintain its position at the top of the schedule. It’s one of two election laws New Hampshire should change to prevent the national party from limiting its influence in the presidential nomination process.

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Democrats passed a bill that expands access to New Hampshire several years ago when they had a majority, but the state’s Republican incumbent Governor Chris Sununu voted it down.

“Given Governor Sununu’s veto in 2019, it is highly unlikely that he and the Republicans will change course now because of DNC demands,” Soucy wrote. “We believe the strong Democratic support for no-fault mail-in voting shows that New

The commitment of Hampshire Democrats to the goals set by the DNC.”

The letter bears the signatures of all of New Hampshire’s Democratic senators and state Democratic leaders. In a joint statement, the New Hampshire congressional delegation said it “strongly” supports the proposed changes to mail-in voting as well.

“We urge the DNC to understand the position we find ourselves in and the negative consequences their demands will have on Democrats from top to bottom in 2024,” said Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas. .

All four are Democrats.

Lawmakers called the DNC’s attempt to get New Hampshire to change its election laws “both unrealistic and unfairly punitive” given the GOP’s stranglehold on the state’s legislative bodies and executive office.

Imminent DNC ​​Deadline

A panel that oversees the presidential primary calendar has given New Hampshire until Jan. 5 to submit a letter signed by the governor and the House and Senate majority leaders committing to hold the Democratic presidential contest in status on February 6, 2024.

The state must also commit to expanding absentee voting in order to retain its place in the first window.

DNC rules expected to be finalized next month specify that New Hampshire must hold its primaries three days after South Carolina and on the same day as Nevada. By failing to meet the requirement, New Hampshire Democrats risk losing many of their national convention delegates.

State Democrats have battled with the committee and President Joe Biden since he proposed revamping the primary schedule last month to help elevate a more diverse group of voters.

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Hassan and Shaheen then boycotted the White House Congressional Ball, and New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley sent the DNC leader a terse letter.

Democrats still have a month before party members finalize the order at a meeting in Philadelphia. After that vote, state parties that don’t comply with the new rules could see their primaries pushed back or have their national convention delegates restricted.

Georgia and Michigan are among the states that are on course to hold their primaries in early 2024 if they can meet the conditions proposed by the regulatory group.

Democrats hold February 13, 2024 for the Georgia primary. Michigan is preparing to hold its contest on February 27.


USA Today

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