New Hampshire AG Sends DNC Cease And Desist Letter
New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary has long been a point of pride for the state, but it is now at the center of a fierce battle between the Republican attorney general and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Attorney General John Formella has accused the DNC of making "false, deceptive, and misleading" comments about the state's primary, which is in violation of the national party's 2024 nominating calendar. In a letter to state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley, the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee declared that the upcoming primary is "meaningless" and directed the state party to inform voters of this fact.
However, according to Formella, this statement from the DNC violates New Hampshire's voter suppression laws. He argues that calling the primary meaningless is an attempt to discourage voters from participating and deprive them of their right to vote.
The ongoing feud between the DNC and New Hampshire Democrats began when President Biden proposed changes to the party's nominating calendar. Iowa, whose caucuses have kicked off both major parties' races for five decades, was to be replaced by South Carolina as the lead state. Nevada would also move up, with New Hampshire and Iowa losing their early state positions altogether. The president and supporters of this new calendar argued that it would give minority voters a greater voice in the nominating process.
But New Hampshire refused to comply with these changes, and with Republicans in control of the state legislature, Democrats argued that this was not even an option. The state has a law that mandates it hold the first presidential primary, and any alterations or expansion of early voting would be a violation of this law.
The state's Secretary of State announced that the 2024 primary would be held on January 23, eight days after Iowa's Republican caucuses. This has led to potential sanctions from the DNC, including the loss of half of New Hampshire's delegates to the national convention.
The president himself has also chosen to keep his name off the New Hampshire ballot, and there is a write-in campaign being launched by state Democrats in an attempt to prevent an electoral embarrassment for the president as he seeks a second term in the White House.
In their letter to Buckley, the DNC stated that "the NHDP [New Hampshire Democratic Party] must take steps to educate the public that January 23rd is a non-binding presidential preference event and is meaningless." This was met with strong opposition from Formella, who wrote that "this New Hampshire election is not 'meaningless' and that the DNC's statements are "false, deceptive, and misleading." He believes that the DNC is attempting to dissuade voters from participating in the primary, which is a violation of state law.
Buckley, for his part, maintains that the state will follow its law and hold the first-in-the-nation primary on January 23. He dismissed the DNC's letter, stating that nothing had changed and that the party looked forward to seeing a strong turnout on election day.
However, there are concerns among New Hampshire Democrats that the DNC's push to revamp the primary calendar, along with President Biden's absence from the ballot, could weaken the state's influence in the nominating process. Some believe that this is sour grapes from the president, who finished poorly in both Iowa and New Hampshire during his bid for the presidency in 2020.
Despite Biden's commanding lead in the polls for the 2024 nomination, there are concerns among Democrats over his age, and many Americans do not support the idea of him seeking a second term. This, coupled with the potential effects of the DNC's actions, has led to uncertainty around the future of New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.