Less than 48 hours after being elected New Hampshire Republican State Party chair, Chris Ager is already calling out his Democratic counterparts for their failure to protect the First in the Nation presidential primary.
“Chairman Buckley, it is time for you, Rep. Chris Pappas, and the rest of our Democrat federal delegation to secure our First in the Nation primary as Republicans did many months ago,” Ager said in a statement Monday.
The Democratic National Committee is scheduled to approve its new primary calendar at its Winter Meeting this weekend in Philadelphia. It moves the Granite State out of the top spot. The full Democratic National Committee will vote on the 2024 presidential nominating calendar on Saturday.
The Biden campaign has informed the New Hampshire Democratic party that, if it holds an unsanctioned primary outside the official calendar, President Joe Biden “will not set foot” in New Hampshire and his campaign won’t organize or spend money in the state.
Despite repeated public statements from DNC members that the new, Biden-backed calendar has overwhelming support Buckley told Politico, “We are eternal optimists” and indicated he believed the party will change course. “We are hoping and continue to encourage the president to file in New Hampshire and campaign in New Hampshire,” Buckley said.
However, Buckley has also rejected calls for members of the delegation like U.S. Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen to use their leverage in a 51-49 Senate to save the FITN.
“If any one of the four members of our congressional delegation did something, it would be so out of character that I would probably be the most astonished person on Earth,” Buckley said.
Now Ager is calling them out.
“If Chairman Buckley fails to protect our First in the Nation primary, the NHGOP will happily invite leading contenders against President Biden to campaign here,” Ager said. “Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, Bernie Sanders – you are all welcome in New Hampshire and we are ready to help facilitate those visits.”
In his victory speech at the NHGOP committee Saturday Ager told the crowd that not only is the 2024 primary secure, “But we’re already working to secure 2028.”
“This is a smart move by the new GOP chairman,” said Wayne Lesperance, political science professor and president of New England College. “After all, protecting the primary is a full-time, non-partisan obligation of all Granite Staters. That the national Democrats have brought into question our first-in-the-nation status is unfortunate. It would be good for the primary and an unprecedented show of civic duty for Dems to respond positively to the Republican call to action!”
Neither Buckley nor the New Hampshire Democratic Party responded to multiple requests for comment.