In a bare-knuckled missive to the Democratic National Committee, New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley warns the new presidential primary calendar, and the rules it imposes on states, will hurt the party’s 2024 “electoral prospects across the board.”
The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee passed the new calendar, proposed by President Joe Biden, last month. It puts South Carolina in the First in the Nation (FITN) primary and pushes New Hampshire into a same-day even with Nevada. They also passed a litany of rules for the “pre-window” primary states and penalties for those not complying with the new regime.
In a letter first reported by Politico, Buckley wrote to DNC Chair Jaime Harrison that the party’s requirements “would effectively end the New Hampshire primary as we know it, removing it from the pre-primary window for the foreseeable future.” Among the problematic mandates is a letter from the governor and legislative leaders committing to overturn New Hampshire’s law mandating the presidential primary occur at least seven days before any similar contest.
“The DNC is requiring New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Republican Senate Majority Leader, and Republican House Majority to comply with Democrats’ demands and move the date of the primary,” Buckley wrote. “Already, Republican Governor Chris Sununu has declared the proposal: ‘dead on arrival.’ Republican Senate Majority Leader [sic] Jeb Bradley echoed his sentiments, saying of the DNC’s request: ‘Not happening. Not happening at all.’”
(Bradley is the Senate President, not Majority Leader.)
And, Buckley notes, New Hampshire is the only pre-window state being asked to change its voting laws in order to participate.
“It is our hope that the people of New Hampshire are not penalized by arbitrary and unfair requirements placed on them by the DNC, and that these requirements do not punish our Democratic delegation and President Biden in the elections to come,” Buckley wrote.
New Hampshire’s all-Democrat federal delegation, known for their party loyalty and willingness to vote with leadership nearly 100 percent of the time, has been unusually vocal in the complaints over how President Biden and the DNC have handled the FITN issue.
A recent NBC News report carried the headline:” ‘How dare he?’ New Hampshire seethes at Biden’s planned changes to the 2024 Democratic presidential primaries.” It quoted senior Senator Jeanne Shaheen recounting a conversation with Biden.
“The delegation spoke with the president, he listened to what we had to say and then he submitted a proposal to the rules and bylaws committee that totally disregarded it,” Shaheen said.
But thus far, there are no signs the rest of the party is backing down. The full DNC is widely expected to pass the new rules, including stringent punishments on candidates who participate in New Hampshire’s primary, in February.
On Tuesday, the DNC sent out a press release quoting Democratic Party leadership from Minnesota and Maryland praising the new calendar.
“Our president and DNC picked a strong squad and we fully support them. Our time will come here in Maryland. But for right now, we’re ready to do our part and continue to be a beacon for the rest of the nation’s Democrats,” said Maryland state party chair Yvette Lewis. “To the president, and to the states that were chosen: Maryland has your back.”
Buckley concluded his letter expressing hope the two sides would “find a solution that honors the spirit of President Biden’s vision for a diverse, thoughtful Democratic primary process.”
That’s an unlikely outcome at this point.