Dozens of key Democrats are launching a write-in campaign for President Biden in New Hampshire’s primary election next year after the president declined to add his name to the ballot — the latest in a standoff between the Granite State’s election officials and the Democratic National Committee.
“Writing in Joe Biden for President in the 2024 New Hampshire Presidential Primary is important because our democracy matters more than petty party politics,” the group, “Write-In Biden,” states on its website. “While misguided DNC rules will leave Joe Biden off the primary ballot here in 2024, New Hampshire Democrats and Democrat-leaning Independents overwhelmingly support Joe Biden and plan to write him in.”
The group includes more than 100 prominent New Hampshire Democratic and independent figures, including state lawmakers and former party leaders.
Earlier this year, the DNC approved a plan to reshuffle the order in which states would appear in its 2024 primary calendar, moving South Carolina to the first spot, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada a week later, then Michigan. Proponents of the plan — including Biden himself — argued that South Carolina was much more diverse than Iowa and New Hampshire, which traditionally have held the first-in-the-nation caucus and primary election, respectively.
Iowa agreed to relinquish its first-in-the-nation status, after lengthy negotiations with the DNC. However, New Hampshire has not been so amenable to being moved. The state has traditionally been the first in the nation to hold its primary election — not only a point of pride for the Granite State but also a requirement enshrined in state law, which dictates the New Hampshire primary must be held at least seven days before any others.
New Hampshire officials have not yet set its 2024 primary date but are eyeing January and they have insisted they still plan to be the first state in the country to hold one. One certainty, however, is that Biden’s name will not appear on the ballot.
Biden’s campaign intentionally missed a filing deadline last week to appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot, saying doing so would be in violation of new DNC rules that changed the order of its primary calendar.
“While the president wishes to participate in the Primary, he is obligated as a Democratic candidate for President to comply with the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2024 Democratic National Convention promulgated by the Democratic National Committee,” Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, wrote in an Oct. 24 letter obtained by The Washington Post to Raymond Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan called Biden’s decision to forgo the state’s primary was “not unexpected but still disappointing.” In the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, Biden finished a disappointing fourth in the Iowa caucuses and fifth in New Hampshire. Biden won the South Carolina primary that year, on the other hand, and the state is often credited with saving his presidential campaign.
Scanlan also defended New Hampshire’s tradition of going first, pointing out that any United States citizen who is qualified to run for president can run a campaign there.
“Despite all the rhetoric about diversity in the presidential nominating process, this issue is really about who determines the eventual nominee — the national political party or the voters,” Scanlan said. “For over 100 years, New Hampshire has represented the purest form of democracy in the presidential nominating process, and we will fight to protect it.”
Scanlan said last week that write-in ballots would need to be counted by hand, though he said he was not worried about getting additional volunteers to help with that. He also told reporters that, in the case of voters misspelling names of write-in candidates, town moderators would be required by law to determine the voter’s “reasonable intent,” according to the New Hampshire Bulletin.
The “Write-In Biden” campaign comes days after Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) launched a long shot campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination that will focus heavily on New Hampshire. Self-help author Marianne Williamson also is running as a Democrat, just as she did in 2020. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. launched his campaign as a Democrat but recently announced he will run as an independent instead.
The “Write-In Biden” group is not affiliated with Biden’s reelection campaign or the DNC and avoids criticizing Biden for his decision to forgo the New Hampshire primary, instead praising his record.
“Supporting our democracy is much more important than party politics or misguided DNC rules. This is about doing what’s right for our country,” the group stated. “We in New Hampshire have said all along that whatever the DNC does, NH will follow its law and have the first presidential primary. Well, we’re having the first in the nation primary — and now it’s up to us to show the nation and world that Joe Biden is the president we need to protect our freedom.”
Tyler Pager contributed to this report.