Joe Biden Not on the New Hampshire Primary Ballot – President Joe Biden won’t be making the trip to New Hampshire this week to file to be on the Granite State’s primary ballot next year. In what is a break with a centuries-old tradition, the sitting president will not appear on the state’s Democratic ballot.
The move comes as the Democratic National Committee has pledged to discipline candidates who compete in unsanctioned primaries including the one to be held in New Hampshire.
“While the president wishes to participate in the Primary, he is obligated as a Democratic candidate for President to comply with the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2024 Democratic National Convention promulgated by the Democratic National Committee,” Biden for President campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodriguez said via a statement to the media.
“In accordance with this guidance, Biden for President will refrain from submitting a Declaration of Candidacy for the Primary ahead of Friday’s candidate filing deadline for the Primary,” Rodriguez added.
South Carolina Will Be First
The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee sent out guidance on Tuesday, in which it advised Democratic campaigns to refrain from filing to be on the primary ballot in New Hampshire. The DNC had released a plan earlier this year that would make South Carolina the first presidential primary voting state following Biden’s recommendation, overtaking Iowa and New Hampshire – as the latter has been viewed as unrepresentative of the party as a whole with few major urban areas.
South Carolina, which in recent cycles has been the third or fourth primary state, is more diverse than either Iowa or New Hampshire. The Palmetto State will now hold the first Democratic primary on February 3, 2024, which the president and his supporters have argued will empower minority voters.
However, New Hampshire law still requires the state to hold the country’s first primary. To comply with the DNC, it would need to scrap its law protecting its first-in-the-nation primary status, but also expand access to early voting. As Republicans currently control New Hampshire’s governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature that has been a non-starter.
What This Really Means: Nothing
This doesn’t really impact the primary race, as Biden has no credible primary challengers – more so after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced that he would run as an independent. Moreover, the presidential primary ballot in New Hampshire will include a line for write-ins, which will allow people voting in the Democratic primary to have the option to write in the president’s name.
However, there has been speculation that the president’s decision to skip putting his name on the ballot would lead to a protest vote. GOP candidates could certainly use such a move in an attempt to gain momentum.
Democrats in New Hampshire are already working to ensure that won’t happen, and are putting the pieces in place for a serious write-in effort – so that Biden doesn’t lose the first contest in his reelection campaign.
“We have had a growing number of prominent Democrats express interest in being on a grassroots committee. We have received a significant amount of financial pledges. We have done all of the research with the FEC and everything that’s needed. So now it’s just the final decision of whether to pull the trigger or not,” Jim Demers, a Democrat in New Hampshire who is helping with the preparations, told USA Today.
“The reality is that Joe Biden will win the NH FITN [first in the nation] Primary in January, win renomination in Chicago and will be re-elected next November. NH voters know and trust Joe Biden that’s why he is leading Trump in NH by double digits,” wrote New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley on X – the social media platform formerly known as X.
Yet, New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan – the top election official in the Granite State and who chooses the date of the primary – said, “I think it’s a mistake that he’s not putting his name on the ballot.”
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.