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DNC gives NH another month to comply with plan to make SC first 2024 primary

Sign celebrating the New Hampshire presidential primary
Marc Nozell
Sign in Concord recognizing the New Hampshire presidential primary.

The Democratic National Committee is giving New Hampshire another month to endorse the party's plan to have South Carolina lead off the party’s 2024 presidential primary calendar.

The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee had already twice extended New Hampshire’s deadline to comply with the DNC plan, endorsed by President Joe Biden, that would require New Hampshire to repeal its nearly 50-year-old law mandating that the state hold the first presidential primary every four years.

During its meeting Thursday in Washington, the committee indicated little appetite to try to force anything on New Hampshire — just yet. Instead the emphasis was on giving New Hampshire further opportunity to get behind the party's proposed primary schedule.

"We want to recommit to that principle, and continue to work with the New Hampshire Democratic Party toward that goal," Rules and Bylaws Chairman Jim Roosevelt said before the committee voted unanimously to give New Hampshire until Oct. 14 to comply.

DNC members and Biden say letting South Carolina vote first — where Black voters dominate the Democratic electorate, and where Biden won his first 2020 primary — better reflects the party’s demographics than New Hampshire.

But top Democrats here say New Hampshire still deserves to go first – and will.

"We have done everything in our power to comply with the DNC's requests with regard to our primary calendar and have every intention of complying with New Hampshire state law from which the primary date is set," New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley said. "We look forward to putting this unnecessary distraction behind us and focusing on electing Granite State Democrats."

New Hampshire election officials for decades have thwarted other states' efforts to leapfrog them in the primary calendar, and New Hampshire may yet thwart the DNC in 2024.

Under DNC rules adopted last year, if New Hampshire complies with state law, and holds a primary that’s not sanctioned by the national Democratic Party, the state could lose half of its delegates to the national convention in 2024.

Earlier this week, Secretary of State David Scanlan said he fully intends to schedule New Hampshire’s primary ahead of any other state’s.

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Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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