In an unprecedented turn of events, President Joe Biden finds himself excluded from the New Hampshire Democratic primary ballot.
This unusual situation arises amidst a reshuffling of the primary calendar by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), under Biden's guidance.
At the heart of this story is a clash between traditional primary scheduling and a significant write-in campaign to support President Biden in New Hampshire.
The decision to prioritize South Carolina in the primary calendar, elevating diverse voices early in the presidential nominating contest, has led to a rift with New Hampshire. Traditionally holding the first primary, New Hampshire's Republican-run legislature did not adjust its schedule to align with the DNC's changes. Consequently, President Biden is not listed on the New Hampshire Democratic primary ballot.
Granite State's Response to Calendar Changes
Secretary of State David Scanlan, in an attempt to accommodate Biden, delayed setting the primary date. Despite these efforts, the New Hampshire primary was scheduled for January 23, ahead of South Carolina's, resulting in Biden opting out of the state's election. This decision was made to avoid concerns about delegate allocation in unsanctioned contests.
The DNC officially changed its primary calendar in February of the previous year. This led to unforeseen consequences in states like New Hampshire, which has a law mandating it to hold the first primary. The conflict between state law and DNC rules culminated in Biden's absence from the ballot.
Despite Biden not appearing on the ballot, many New Hampshire Democrats have shown their intent to vote for him. A group of state party leaders in New Hampshire initiated a write-in campaign for Biden, seeing it as crucial to maintaining his momentum in the 2024 presidential race.
The Write-In Campaign: A Grassroots Movement
The idea for a write-in campaign emerged as Biden's engagement with the New Hampshire primary seemed unlikely. Spearheading this effort are two main groups: Granite State Write-In and Granite for America. The former, a grassroots group with over 1,200 volunteers, focuses on local campaigning, while the latter, a super PAC, supports Biden through mailers and digital ads.
Voting for Biden in New Hampshire requires residents to write his name on the ballot. This method, while unconventional, has garnered significant support, with Biden expected to win the New Hampshire primary, according to polls.
The organizers of the write-in campaign, while optimistic, are managing expectations regarding the victory margin. They are aware of the challenges in mobilizing voters for a write-in candidate, as opposed to one listed on the ballot.
The Political Implications of the Primary
An interesting aspect of this primary season was the candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who initially ran as a Democrat but later switched to a third-party candidacy. Kathy Sullivan, a prominent Democratic figure, expressed concerns about the potential impact of Kennedy's candidacy on Biden's campaign.
"To have Robert F. Kennedy Jr. win the New Hampshire primary, it would have been a bad day for President Biden," said Kathy Sullivan. The implications of such an outcome could have been significant for Biden's reelection campaign.
A potential loss by Biden in New Hampshire, despite his non-participation, could have created a challenging narrative for his 2024 reelection campaign. The write-in campaign is seen as a strategic move to counter this potential narrative.
Historical Precedent and Campaign Challenges
There is a precedent for successful write-in campaigns in American politics, notably with Sen. Lisa Murkowski's victory in 2010. This historical context provides a glimmer of hope for Biden's supporters in New Hampshire.
However, the challenges of a write-in campaign are significant. Kathy Sullivan, reflecting on the difficulty of this endeavor, said, “As I keep reminding folks, this is not easy. It's not the typical election and so it becomes a bit of a heavy lift.”
“As I keep reminding folks, this is not easy,” Sullivan previously said. “It's not the typical election and so it becomes a bit of a heavy lift, because you are having to encourage people to get out and that when they go to vote, his name will not be on the ballot.”
Conclusion: The Future of Primary Elections
The situation in New Hampshire raises questions about the future of primary elections and the role of traditional scheduling versus party rules. As the 2024 election cycle progresses, the impact of this write-in campaign on Biden's overall strategy will be closely watched.
The outcome of the New Hampshire primary, whether a victory or loss for Biden, will likely influence the narrative around his reelection campaign. The success of this write-in campaign could
set a precedent for future election strategies in similar situations.
In the end, this primary season in New Hampshire serves as a reminder of the dynamic nature of American politics, where unexpected twists can emerge and reshape electoral strategies.
- President Joe Biden is not listed on the New Hampshire Democratic primary ballot due to a scheduling conflict.
- A significant write-in campaign, led by state Democrats, supports Biden's victory in the primary.
- The DNC's reshuffling of the primary calendar and New Hampshire's traditional scheduling have led to this unique situation.
- Organizers face the challenge of mobilizing voters for a write-in candidate.
- The outcome of this primary could significantly impact the narrative around Biden's 2024 reelection campaign.