Biden not appearing on New Hampshire primary ballot due to state's defiance of DNC schedule change

 January 19, 2024

New Hampshire will hold its traditional first-in-the-nation primary election next week but President Joe Biden won't be appearing on the ballot for Democratic voters in the Granite State, according to USA Today.

Biden's absence from the ballot is due to New Hampshire refusing to abide by an altered state primary schedule imposed by the Democratic National Committee that ousted the northeastern state from its century-long first slot in favor of South Carolina.

Now, in hopes of avoiding an embarrassing defeat for the incumbent president, an unofficial write-in campaign has been launched by Democratic volunteers in the Granite State to help ensure that Biden can still claim victory once all of the votes in the unsanctioned primary election have been counted.

New Hampshire defied DNC's primary schedule changes

In February 2023, and with President Biden's approval and encouragement, ABC News reported that the DNC voted almost unanimously to make explicitly race-based alterations to the usual order of early-voting primary states for Democrats, ostensibly to better represent the nation's diversity.

As such, the predominately white states of Iowa and New Hampshire were pushed back on the schedule from their traditional opening slots in favor of South Carolina and Nevada, followed shortly thereafter by Georgia and Michigan, and the relatively large populations of minority voters in those states.

To be sure, there was some pushback to the changes, particularly from New Hampshire, given that it not only takes great pride in its long-held status as the first-in-the-nation primary but also because it has a state law that requires it to hold its primary election at least one week before any other state.

Biden's unofficial write-in campaign

NBC News reported that New Hampshire ultimately ignored the DNC's primary schedule changes and moved its election up on the calendar to retain its traditional first-in-the-nation slot, despite DNC threats to strip the state of its delegates at the nominating convention in the summer as well as to punish candidates who participate in the unapproved early primary election.

As a result, President Biden did not register as a candidate in New Hampshire and has not run any ads or delivered any campaign speeches in the Granite State -- though he has dispatched several prominent Cabinet officials to the state on "official" business to tout the Biden administration's record on the president's behalf.

An unofficial and rather meager write-in campaign in support of Biden has also been launched by Democratic volunteers in the state who are anxious to avoid the potentially bad optics of the incumbent president losing the election to challengers who otherwise have no real chance of winning the party's nomination.

Of course, even that unofficial volunteer effort with a shoestring budget on Biden's behalf runs the risk of backfiring, in that it has been substantially outspent by some of the other candidates and, given the media attention, has possibly raised expectations for Biden's performance among New Hampshire voters that may not be achieved, which would be almost as embarrassing as a loss to one of the other candidates.

A case in point is Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), who is running as a younger and more vigorous alternative to Biden and has spent more than half a million dollars on ads in New Hampshire, including one that tells voters, "Joe wrote you off. Why should you write him in?"

Polling still shows Biden poised to win New Hampshire

The unsanctioned New Hampshire Democratic primary election will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, and even though he won't officially be on the ballot, President Biden is nonetheless expected to ultimately prevail.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls in the state over the past month, Biden draws approximately 58% support among voters, more than 48 points higher than Rep. Phillips at 9.8% and self-help author Marianne Williamson with 5% support.

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