President Joe Biden

Could Biden Actually Lose The New Hampshire Primary?

President Joe Biden could be at risk of losing New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary now that his name will no longer appear on the ballot and another Democratic candidate has emerged.
President Joe Biden (White House Photo) By Mary Lou Master, DCNF.

President Joe Biden could be at risk of losing New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary now that his name will no longer appear on the ballot and another Democratic candidate has emerged.

Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota announced he would be challenging Biden in 2024 during an interview with CBS News’ Robert Costa that aired Thursday, citing concerns over the president’s electability.

Biden’s campaign notified the New Hampshire Democratic Party (NHDP) on Tuesday that it will not participate in the state’s primary, as it conflicts with the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) rules, which could provide Phillips an opening in the nominating contest.

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The DNC announced a new schedule in February, endorsed by Biden, replacing South Carolina at the top of the calendar, and pushing back New Hampshire’s primary and Iowa’s caucus. The NHDP decided to keep its first-in-the-nation status, while Iowa’s Democratic Party caved to the DNC in early October, prompting Biden’s reelection campaign to decline participating.

“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,” Biden campaign manager Julia Chavez Rodriguez wrote in a letter to the state party. “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.”

Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson will be the only two Democratic candidates to officially be on the primary ballot, though, a write-in effort for Biden is underway in the key early state.

“The reality is that Joe Biden will win the NH FITN Primary in January, win renomination in Chicago and will be re-elected next November,” NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley wrote in a tweet Tuesday. “NH voters know and trust Joe Biden that’s why he is leading Trump in NH by double digits.”

A late September poll conducted by CNN and the University of New Hampshire indicated Biden is leading former President Donald Trump in New Hampshire 52% to 40% for a 2024 head-to-head matchup.

New Hampshire state Rep. Steve Shurtleff, the former Democratic speaker of the state House, isn’t supporting anyone in the primary yet, but told the Daily Caller News Foundation he likes Phillips and thinks he has a chance in the key early state.

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“I do like Rep. Phillips and believe he could win the [New Hampshire] Primary,” said Shurtleff. “[Buckley] is leading a write-in campaign for President Biden. As a life-long Democrat I find that to be somewhat disingenuous. The President told the DNC to have NH move its 100-year-old first-in-the-nation primary to after [South Carolina] and the same day as Nevada. The NHDP can’t move the primary date because state law says our [New Hampshire] Secretary of State has to set the primary date. Then the president says he won’t file in [New Hampshire] because the NHDP didn’t change their primary date, like the DNC told them to do, at the presidents direction.”

“So now the chair of the NHDP is leading the write-in effort on behalf of President Biden. I don’t believe [New Hampshire] voters would or should reward the presidents for his efforts to abolish the historic [New Hampshire] primary,” Shurtleff added.

The CNN/University of New Hampshire survey found that 68% of likely Democratic primary voters have a favorable view of Biden, but only 31% of Democrats said they were “enthusiastic” about the president’s reelection. Biden had 78% support among the small Democratic field, with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has since switched his candidacy to independent, garnering 9% and Williamson receiving 6%; 3% supported another candidate and 4% remained unsure.

Rich Gulla, president of the New Hampshire-based union group State Employees’ Association (SEA), welcomed Phillips’ candidacy in a statement to the DCNF.

“We welcome and will listen to all of the candidates for president who come to the Granite State. It ensures that our members and voters are well-informed and can make choices that align with their values and priorities,” said Gulla. “The New Hampshire Primary promotes a healthy and inclusive political discourse, fostering a more robust democracy by considering diverse perspectives. In an era where information can be easily filtered and distorted, being an informed and engaged citizen who takes the time to listen to all candidates is a crucial step toward making well-rounded decisions that benefit the country.”

Other New Hampshire Democrats have balked at Phillips’ candidacy, and questioned why he would challenge Biden’s reelection bid.

“He doesn’t impress me. Trump presents an existential threat to the country. Yet this unqualified guy seeks to divide the Democratic Party by running against a good, accomplished president because – why?” Kathleen Sullivan, former chair of the NHDP, told the DCNF. “And he’s tone deaf; ran an ad the day after Lewiston bragging about learning to shoot when he was a kid. Seriously? Doesn’t even mention he’s a Democrat. No. He does not impress me. At all.”

Mass shooter Robert Card killed 18 people and injured 13 more on Wednesday evening in Lewiston, Maine. Phillips launched an advertisement on Friday ahead of his official campaign launch at the New Hampshire state House, where he recalled learning how to shoot a gun for the first time as a child in New Hampshire.

“I am today announcing my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States of America,” Phillips said in a speech Friday. “I do so not in opposition to President Biden, who has my affection and my gratitude, rather with two core convictions: that I am the Democratic candidate who can win, who can win the 2024 election. And second, it is time for the torch to be passed to a new generation of American leaders.”

Phillips’ campaign pointed the DCNF toward the congressman’s announcement speech upon request for comment, and Biden’s campaign did not immediately respond.

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