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New Hampshire defies Democrats and sets date for 1st primary

New Hampshire Secretary of State Dave Scanlan announced that his state will hold its 2024 presidential primaries on Jan. 23.
A historical marker displayed outside the Statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire.
Posted at 3:03 PM, Nov 16, 2023

Defying an attempt by President Joe Biden and national Democrats to restructure the election calendar, New Hampshire has set a date to remain as the first state in the nation to hold its primary elections. New Hampshire Secretary of State Dave Scanlan announced Wednesday that his state will hold its 2024 presidential primaries on Jan. 23. 

Under the advice of President Biden, the Democratic National Committee voted in February to radically alter the election calendar and make South Carolina the first state to hold primaries, citing a lack of voter diversity in New Hampshire and breaking away from historical precedent. But New Hampshire law requires the state's Republican and Democratic primaries to be held at least one week before any others in the United States and gives the secretary of state sole authority to choose the date.

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Speaking before a crowd flanked by state leaders from both parties, Scanlan said New Hampshire's 2024 primary date would stick by tradition and fulfill the state's statutory requirement. 

"New Hampshire has held the first-in-the-nation presidential primary election for over 100 years," he said. "And we will vigorously defend it." 

President Biden and top Democrats were pushing for South Carolina to go first, primarily because its a state that helped propel him to the nomination in 2020. But the dispute between Democrats and New Hampshire also means President Biden won't even appear on the ballot this year after failing to file in time. Instead, Democrats are hoping a write-in campaign can still secure him the nomination.

New Hampshire's primary date falls one week after the Iowa caucus, and 11 days before the South Carolina primaries. In total, Scanlan said 21 Democrats and 24 Republican candidates filed to appear on New Hampshire's ballot.