Political junkies woke to some surprising news from Nevada this week, and its impact could be felt all the way to New Hampshire.
As reported by The Intercept, the entire staff of the Nevada Democratic Party quit en masse after Socialists swept the party’s leadership roles. The state party staff, largely loyalists to Nevada’s political boss, former Sen. Harry Reid, walked out–and reportedly took $450,000 with them–after the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Left Caucus beat out the party establishment’s slate of candidates.
It’s news in New Hampshire because Reid has declared war on the state’s First in the Nation presidential primary, insisting it should go to Nevada. “I think we’re entitled to be the first state,” Reid told the Los Angeles Times. “Why? Because the power structure of this country is moving West.”
Having a state party run by Socialists is unlikely to help Reid’s cause with the national DNC.
And the overlaps between Nevada and New Hampshire don’t end there.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, a longtime member of the Democrat establishment and former Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee, is also facing a challenge from his left.
Emmett Soldati, an avowed progressive from Somersworth, is Buckley’s opponent in the race to head the state party. Soldati has taken a pledge to support initiatives like the Green New Deal, and he’s criticized a lack of diversity in the NH Democratic Party.
“Bold, progressive blood flows through my veins,” Soldati said in a video announcing his candidacy.
The NHGOP seized upon the opportunity to interject itself, tongue-in-cheek, into the Democrats’ leadership fight. “After his 2020 efforts led to Republicans retaining the Corner Office and flipping the New Hampshire Legislature and Executive Council, Ray Buckley absolutely deserves another term as Chairman,” NHGOP Chairman Steve Stepanek said in an “endorsement” of Buckley last month.
“As New Hampshire Democrats begin to vote in their divisive officers’ election between establishment Ray Buckley and socialist Emmett Soldati we look forward to seeing which New Hampshire Democrat emerges to carry their pro-Income Tax banner and secure Senator Maggie Hassan’s defeat in 2022,” Stepanek added.
NHDP State Committee members have been voting remotely since mid-February, and the results of the elections will be announced at their State Committee meeting this Sunday.
A Republican source told NHJournal the NHGOP believes Buckley’s ouster is unlikely. But if Soledati wins, the New Hampshire Democratic Party will likely see a similar “en masse” abandonment from their staff.
And even some of Buckley’s biggest GOP opponents concede privately that he’s an effective ally in the fight to keep the FITN in New Hampshire, an effort led almost entirely by progressives in Buckley’s party. Prominent Democrats, including former DNC chair Tom Perez, have said New Hampshire should no longer go first, in part because the state is ‘too white.’
“The status quo is clearly unacceptable,” Perez told The New York Times.
Last month, Democrats in the Nevada General Assembly unveiled a bill to move the Silver State ahead of New Hampshire.
Nonetheless, defense of New Hampshire’s first in the Nation status is a bipartisan issue among Granite State politicos. “We are confident that we can successfully tell the NH story and retain the First in the Nation primary,” Buckley told WMUR last month.
The sentiment is the same among Granite State Republicans.
“In the 100 years New Hampshire has been the gold standard in the “First in the Nation” primary, no one has put forth a valid argument as to why another state should replace New Hampshire,” state Rep. Fred Doucette (R-Salem) told NHJournal.
“Our election integrity here in New Hampshire is beyond reproach. The experience, integrity, and knowledge of our long-standing Secretary of State Bill Gardner should and is held up as a model for other states to emulate.”
“State law mandates New Hampshire is first in the nation. PERIOD. No one can do it better than the Granite State,” Doucette said.