(The Center Square ) — The Democratic National Committee used the threat of action involving state delegates at the summertime national convention in extending a deadline for New Hampshire to submit a primary plan in compliance with new calendar rules.
The unanimous vote on Thursday by the Rules and Bylaws Committee gives the New Hampshire Democrats until Oct. 14 to present an approved primary date, one that would void the state’s first-in-the-nation-primary status. New rules say it can’t be before March 5, lifting South Carolina to first in the nation.
New Hampshire is wrangling with a 1975 state constitutional law to be first, and has always placed importance on gaining candidates’ attention so as not to be overlooked. Of the Electoral College’s 538 electors, New Hampshire has four. Six states, all with three, have fewer and five states have the same number.
New Hampshire, by far, gets the most attention from campaigns among those dozen states. It could be given a waiver by the national committee, though that seems unlikely with the latest vote having no dissenters.
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlon has yet to set a date for the primaries, which include the Republican races as well. The state law specifically says the primary must be held a week prior to any other state’s primary contest. Published reports indicate Scanlon is likely to choose Jan. 23.
Iowa’s state law requires its caucuses to be held before any other state. Republicans there have a Jan. 15 date for business without declaring the presidential race. The new schedule from the Democratic National Committee doesn’t have Iowa among any of the early states.
The new calendar, first proposed in February, has South Carolina on Feb. 3, a Saturday. New Hampshire and Nevada were to be up next on Feb. 6. South Carolina was the state that turned the struggling campaign of President Joe Biden in 2020.
Scanlon and Gov. Chris Sununu have steadfastly said the state will not comply with the new Democratic National Committee primary calendar. In a social media post, Sununu said New Hampshire will not comply with the arbitrary demands and deadlines coming from Biden and the national committee.
“We will not back down. New Hampshire will be going first whether Joe Biden likes it or not,” Sununu wrote on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
Scanlon reiterated the state’s commitment to maintain its traditional status during a news conference Wednesday.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that we’re going to be going ahead of South Carolina, which puts us into January,” said the secretary of state.
He voiced his concern about the state losing delegates over the decision to bypass the new rules; however, he stressed the importance of hosting the primary first to receive candidates’ attention.
“It is more important for New Hampshire to have the early primary because it allows maximum participation from anybody that wants to put their name out there as a candidate,” Scanlon added.