In an effort to prevent President Biden from suffering an electoral embarrassment in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Biden’s backers in the Granite State launched a ballot write-in campaign on Monday. This grassroots organizing push, led by some of the biggest names in New Hampshire’s Democratic circles, comes just one week after Biden declined to place his name on the state’s primary ballot.
The decision to avoid the New Hampshire primary is a strategic move by the president, as the state is certain to hold a primary that is out of compliance with the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) revamped 2024 nominating calendar. This schedule, which was first suggested by President Biden late last year, removes New Hampshire from its century-old leadoff position. However, the DNC’s decision has not been well-received by many New Hampshire Democrats, who are concerned that the state’s influence in the primary process will be diminished.
According to the “Write-In Biden” campaign’s website, “the fate of our democracy itself hangs in the balance in the 2024 election.” This sentiment is echoed by the campaign’s leaders, who emphasize that this effort is a citizen’s grassroots movement, and is not officially endorsed or supported by either the president’s 2024 re-election campaign or the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
The campaign’s launch comes just days after three-term Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, filed at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire to place his name on the state’s ballot as he announced his primary challenge against the president. However, the leaders of the “Write-In Biden” campaign maintain that their efforts are not influenced by Phillips’ entry into the race.
The campaign has already garnered support from prominent Democratic leaders in New Hampshire, including all ten of the party’s state senators, dozens of state representatives, both 2024 gubernatorial candidates, and scores of current and former party leaders and elected officials. Notably absent from the list of supporters are the state’s all-Democrat congressional delegation; however, Rep. Annie Kuster did express her support for the campaign on social media.
According to campaign leaders Jim Demers and Kathy Sullivan, the goal of “Write-In Biden” is to educate New Hampshire voters on their right and ability to write-in the president’s name on the primary ballot. To this end, they plan to hire staff and raise funds in the coming weeks. However, their filing with the Federal Elections Commission limits their campaign to grassroots work and does not permit any digital or direct mail efforts.
This write-in campaign was sparked by New Hampshire’s upcoming move to leapfrog South Carolina and hold its primary seven days ahead of a similar contest, in accordance with a state law. This move puts the state out of compliance with the DNC and led to President Biden’s decision to not file to place his name on the ballot. However, “Write-In Biden” campaigners are optimistic that their efforts will lay the foundation for a winning general election in 2024, despite facing a primary challenge from environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and a well-funded campaign by Rep. Phillips.