CONCORD, NH — President Joe Biden will not file to be on the primary ballot in New Hampshire this election cycle, his 2024 campaign told the state Democratic party on Tuesday.
“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 For President Campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News.
The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee sent out guidance on Tuesday advising Democratic campaigns to refrain from filing to be on the primary ballot in New Hampshire, a source familiar said. Earlier this year, the Democratic National Committee released a plan to make South Carolina the first presidential primary voting state following Biden’s recommendation, overtaking Iowa and New Hampshire, but New Hampshire law requires the state to hold the nation’s first primary.
“In accordance with this guidance, Biden for President will refrain from submitting a Declaration of Candidacy for the Primary ahead of Friday’s candidate filing deadline for the Primary,” Rodriguez wrote.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley responded to the letter in a post on X, writing, “The reality is that Joe Biden will win the NH FITN Primary in January, win renomination in Chicago and will be re-elected next November. NH voters know and trust Joe Biden that’s why he is leading Trump in NH by double digits.”
DNC Chair Jamie Harrison in February said the new primary calendar “puts Black voters at the front of the process in South Carolina.” He added, “The Democratic Party looks like America, and so does this proposal.”
In 2020, Biden came in fifth place in New Hampshire, but his victory in South Carolina gave him the momentum needed to ultimately win the Democratic nomination.
Earlier Tuesday before the letter was reported, New Hampshire’s Secretary of State David Scanlan said, “I think it’s a mistake that he’s not putting his name on the ballot.” As the state’s top elections official, Scanlan ultimately chooses the date of the primary.
On the presidential primary ballot in New Hampshire, there will be a list for all of the candidates and then a line for write-ins. That means even though Biden will not be listed on the ballot in New Hampshire, people voting in the Democratic primary in the state will have the option to write his name on the ballot.
“If 50 percent of the voters write in Joe Biden’s name, then the challenge will be preparing to count those write-in votes up at the end of the night when polls close,” Scanlan, a Republican, said during a speech at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“One thing that we will be recommending strongly to the local election officials before the primary election is that they enlist additional help to be able to speed up the write-in counting process,” Scanlan said.
In his speech, Scanlan explained why he believes New Hampshire should maintain its first-in-the-nation status.
“It’s a small state geographically. It has a small media market compared to other state states in the country, especially the large ones. We are a purple state politically,” Scanlan said. “We have regular high voter participation. And it is very easy for any United States citizen who qualifies to run for president to actually try and make it happen.”
New Hampshire has not set its primary date yet. Scanlan said the primary date will be announced “sometime after the filing period.”
Even though Biden’s name will not be on the primary ballot, his campaign manager said he expects it will appear on the general election ballot in November 2024.
“Consistent with New Hampshire law and the Secretary of State’s guidance, the president looks forward to having his name on New Hampshire’s general election ballot as the nominee of the Democratic Party after officially securing the nomination at the 2024 Democratic National Convention where he will tirelessly campaign to earn every single vote in the Granite State next November,” Rodriguez wrote.