A powerful panel of the Democratic National Committee is convening next week to make a much-anticipated decision on the likely reshuffling of the top of the party’s nomination calendar for 2024.
On the agenda when the Rules and Bylaws Committee meets Thursday is whether Iowa and New Hampshire — which have held the first two contests in the DNC’s presidential primary and caucus schedule in half a century — will retain their traditional leadership positions, or whether the Party will shake up the order and place a more diverse state in the leadoff slot.
The panel was originally scheduled to meet in early September to decide which states they recommend are given carve-out status, meaning those states can hold their primary for the presidential nomination in a window before March 2024 if the remaining states are allowed to start hosting their competitions. However, the meeting was postponed until after the November 8th midterm elections.
“We’ve said from the start that we believe New Hampshire will remain the number one leader in the nation,” longtime Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said monitor. “New Hampshire is doing an excellent job of hosting the nation’s first elementary school and should continue to do so. End of the story.”
Earlier this year, the DNC applied to reapply Iowa, New Hampshire (which holds its first presidential primary in a century), and Nevada and South Carolina — which have held the third and fourth contests on the Democrat calendar in the past few cycles early status in the 2024 calendar. Other states interested in the top of the calendar were also allowed to apply. The DNC is also considering granting carve-out status to a fifth state. The four existing early states plus 13 others are still fighting for pre-window status.
Many Democrats have rapped on Iowa and New Hampshire for years for being too white, lacking larger urban areas, and not representative of a Democratic party that has become increasingly diverse in recent decades. Nevada and South Carolina are much more diverse than Iowa or New Hampshire.
To complicate matters further, Nevada Democrats last year passed legislation that would convert the state’s presidential convention into a primary and aim to put competition for the lead in the White House race ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire bring to. And compounding Iowa’s troubles was the botched coverage of the 2020 election conventions, which became a national and international story and an embarrassment for Iowa Democrats as well as the DNC.
The current conventional wisdom is that Iowa is likely to lose its leadership position, while New Hampshire is likely to lose its early one, given its 2020 caucus coverage issues and the fact that it has skewed toward the GOP in recent general election cycles State will retain status thanks in part to the conduct of a smooth primary, which allows independents to compete in both party contests – and which remains a hard-fought battleground in general elections.
A major sticking point, however, is New Hampshire state law, which protects its first-in-the-nation status and gives the secretary of state the power to move the date of the contest to protect primary tradition. There would likely be a showdown if the DNC left New Hampshire second on the calendar but took another state’s primary to the top of the rankings.
“The state law is very clear,” Buckley said.
There’s no drama when it comes to the GOP nomination calendar. The Republican National Committee earlier this year voted not to make any changes to their current order of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada that pre-empt their schedule.
Two political battles took place last week in the battle for the seat of the House of Representatives in Manchester’s Ward 6.
Most obvious was the actual vote count, which after a count, count, and recount Tuesday ended with Republican incumbent Larry Gagne defeating Democratic challenger Maxine Mosley by 26 votes.
But just as important was the political fireworks over the optics after Democrats sued after the first recount showed Moseley won by a vote. They wanted Mosely declared the winner, but a judge allowed the count to continue.
New Hampshire Democrats, who have long argued that the state’s Republicans have attempted to stifle turnout by working to limit voter access, have faced claims that they are the ones counting against everyone voices were.
“In an attempt to subvert the will of Manchester Ward 6 voters, the New Hampshire Democratic leaders engaged in appalling, hypocritical and outrageous conduct to prevent all legal votes from being counted,” Republican Gov. Chris argued Sununu in a statement.
The governor thanked Republican Secretary of State David Scanlan “for protecting the integrity of our elections and ensuring that voters’ voices are fully represented.”
And State House Majority Leader David Osborne charged that “the Democratic Party has attempted to gain a seat in the legislature by infiltrating and disenfranchising voters.”
Buckley argued the law was on her side.
“The judge ruled that the Secretary of State acted outside the law. That’s exactly what we said,” Buckley said. “The Secretary of State does not have the legal authority to tell a recount. The judge ordered the recount. It should have gone there from the start.”
Former state senator Melanie Levesque, a Democrat, has announced that she will challenge Scanlan for his elected position as secretary of state.
“Once you have a Secretary of State who acts above the law and outside the law, what’s next?” said Buckley. “It is in no way an appropriate role for a Secretary of State. And while Republicans would happily pass it off as something else, the situation was exactly that. He had no authority to request a recount of a recount.”