OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Democrat National Committee’s decision to remove New Hampshire’s status in the first in the nation primary is facing backlash from some Democrats. One in particular, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, announced that she would be boycotting the White House’s Congressional Ball that was held on Monday, USA Today reported.
“As Senator Shaheen has said, the President’s proposal unnecessarily makes Democrats in New Hampshire, from the top to the bottom of the ticket, vulnerable in 2024,” her spokesperson Sarah Weinstein said “Tonight, Senator Shaheen is focused on helping to make New Hampshire’s case heard.“
For New Hampshire to remain in the calendar’s early voting window in February — although no longer the nation’s first Democratic presidential primary — the New Hampshire Democratic Party must submit a letter signed by the Republican governor and majority leaders in the Republican-controlled state legislature. If not, the state’s primary date will be relegated to March with other states.
The DNC’s calendar has five states voting in its early window: South Carolina on Feb. 3, New Hampshire and Nevada on Feb. 6, Georgia on Feb. 20, and Michigan on Feb. 27. States in the early voting window wield significant influence over the eventual nominee.
The letter asks for a statement of intent from the governor and leaders on two points: repealing state law that mandates New Hampshire hold its presidential primary first and also expanding early voting. Both those changes would need to be made by Feb. 1. The state’s Democratic Party has until Jan. 5 to submit the letter.
New Hampshire Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan announced they are skipping the White House congressional ball Monday in protest over President Biden's support of a plan to end their state's century-long reign as the nation's first primary. https://t.co/AWzoca1yl1
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) December 5, 2022
But Republican New Hampshire New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu was furious with the Democrat plan.
“New Hampshire will not be blackmailed by Joe Biden and his political hacks in the Democrat Party,” his office said.
“For them to tell us that we have to change our law, we have to change our voting guidelines, my answer is sorry, but no way,” New Hampshire’s state Senate majority leader, Republican Jeb Bradley said.
But the White House has defended its plan to change the primary date.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the president was keeping his promise of promoting diversity.
“Senator Shaheen has a statement. She’s apparently not coming to the ball tonight. She’s upset that the President endorsed a proposal to put South Carolina ahead of New Hampshire. And she says that New Hampshire is now vulnerable for her party, which — does the President have a response to that?” a reporter said.
“So, look, we honor — we honor the Hatch Act, as I mentioned many times before, here, as we are talking about a potential election — a 2024 presidential election,” the press secretary said.
“But, looking backward, it is the ultimate irony, you know, that the 2020 election was — was proven by the Trump administration’s Homeland — oh, sorry — I think I got ahead of myself there.
“We take the law very seriously here. And so, that’s the number one thing. And again, I want to be very careful because of 2024, and it places strict limits on what I can say, because of the Hatch Act, about future elections and, of course, political party processes,” she said.
“I know I was asked this question many times before about the DNC. And so, I’ve always referred folks to go to the DNC.
“But again, as a candidate in 2020 and, as we have heard the night of New Hampshire primary, Joe Biden was very clear that, to him, respecting our diversity as a nation and breaking down barriers for our people is a fundamental principle,” the press secretary said.
“And — and so, he believes that what Democrats in office stand for — and he has upheld that principle as President.
“And so, again, you’ve seen him do that throughout his almost two years in administration, making sure that we see the diversity within his administration that is represented clearly across — across the country. And he wants to honor those values.
“And so, that’s as far as I’m going to get from here about the specific calendar. Again, don’t want to get into po- — politics as it relates to political parties,” she said.