Manchester, New Hampshire – The upcoming New Hampshire primary will be missing a significant name from its Democratic ballot – President Joe Biden. This absence is due to a disagreement over the date of the contest, leading to a group of New Hampshire Democrats launching a write-in campaign for the President, even though he’s decided not to officially compete in the state.
Last year, the Democratic National Committee rearranged the primary calendar under Biden’s direction, moving South Carolina to the front. However, New Hampshire is obligated by law to hold the first primary in the country, and their Republican-run legislature refused to comply with the DNC’s rule change. This decision left the door open for Biden, with Secretary of State David Scanlan setting the date of the primary for Jan. 23, just ahead of South Carolina’s Democratic primary.
The write-in campaign began when the DNC changed its primary calendar last February, which sparked concern among seasoned New Hampshire Democrats. With Biden choosing not to engage with the primary, party leaders in the state began considering a write-in campaign. Kathy Sullivan, former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, expressed concern over the possibility of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. winning the primary and the implications it would have for President Biden.
The write-in effort involves two main groups – the grassroots group Granite State Write-In and Sullivan’s super PAC, Granite for America. Both have been actively mobilizing volunteers and distributing informational materials, with over 1,200 volunteers supporting the write-in effort.
Voting for Biden in New Hampshire involves filling in the oval on the write-in line on the Democratic ballot and legibly printing Biden’s full name, with the secretary of state’s office emphasizing that as long as the “intent” of the name listed is clear, the vote will likely count for Biden.
While Biden is expected to win the New Hampshire primary, organizers of the write-in effort are setting low expectations for his margin of victory. Similar write-in efforts have occurred in American politics before, such as Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s successful write-in campaign in the 2010 general election after being defeated in the Republican primary. All in all, the upcoming New Hampshire primary is shaping up to be an interesting and closely watched event in the Democratic nomination process.