New Hampshire battles to retain first-in-the-nation presidential primary as DNC leaders meet to vote on possible changes
For more than 100 years, New Hampshire has hosted the first primary in the nation on the road to the presidential nomination.
But some Democrats want to change that, arguing that New Hampshire is too small, too rural and not diverse or reflective enough of a changing country despite the state hosting the first primary since 1920.
This weekend, the Democratic National Committee meets in Philadelphia to discuss making some changes to their presidential nominating calendar. Under the proposed plan, which is supported by President Joe Biden, South Carolina would become the first state on the presidential primary calendar — followed by New Hampshire and Nevada both three days later.
Battleground states Georgia and Michigan would also move up, while Iowa, the site of a chaotic caucus in 2020, is being told to move further back.
"This proposal by President Biden will reflect the strength of America's greatest asset and that is our diversity," said Jaime Harrison, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
But Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who is also thinking about a 2024 presidential bid, called the proposal an "absolute joke."
"It's not based on anything to ensure that the voters in America will have a better first filter. It's just based on a personal preference of a candidate," Sununu said.
New Hampshire Democrats could still try to hold their primary first, but the national DNC could punish them by taking away the state's delegates for the Democratic convention.
Meanwhile, the proposed plan is facing opposition from state Democrats like Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman, who said he isn't against adding additional states to the calendar, but New Hampshire needs to remain first.
Residents like Amanda Wihby, who co-owns the Red Arrow Diner, worries it may impact her business if Democrats go through with a plan to drop the granite state as their first primary stop.
"Every four years, they descend upon us, and I think a lot of people, customers, would be disappointed if it was taken from us," Wihby said.
Resident Stu Holtshouser of Manchester, New Hampshire, agreed with Wihby's sentiments.
"I like it being first," he said. "I think it's good for the state, and I think it is a good reflection of the country."
But his brother Bill visiting from North Carolina said, "If the objective is to get a more diverse perspective in that first tranche of states that go, then a different approach might be warranted."
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