Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) refused to attend the White House congressional ball on Monday. The two New Hampshire senators miss out in protest of President Joe Biden’s support for changes in the Democratic primary schedule. The new calendar proposed a reduction in the state of New Hampshire’s influence in the primaries.
New Hampshire was displaced from the calendar last week when a panel of the Democratic National Committee voted to support South Carolina as the first state on the primary calendar. Iowa was also displaced and will no longer be first in the nation in the presidential nominating process. The president supported the measure hoping that a more diverse focused calendar would give minorities a voice earlier in the process in their respective states.
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Before trailing candidates drop out, states usually at the bottom of the list have been moved to the top due to their more diverse populations. Biden said that candidates have dropped out because of poor performances in small states early in the primaries “before voters of color cast a vote.” Democrats claim this has happened too often in the past 50 years.
The plan is awaiting final approval, which will be voted on at the next DNC meeting. But New Hampshire’s lawmakers are concerned that the calendar moves will boost Republican votes in their state. A Shaheen spokesperson said the proposal makes Democrats vulnerable in 2024 by pushing the state to the bottom. Further, complaints that the president didn’t leave New Hampshire’s spot alone and just moved diverse states up in the rankings a little bit were reportedly expressed.
Democrats in the “live free or die” state worry that the calendar moves have granted Republicans the vote. Shaheen’s spokesperson said Republicans have just been waiting to target Democrat and Independent voters in their state. Concern that Republican influence in the primaries could pivot to local, state, and other federal elections are growing for the Senators.
Hassan’s office also confirmed her refusal to attend the ball Monday evening. The Senator wrote, “We will always hold First in the Nation Primary, and this status is independent of the President’s proposal or any political organization.” No Republicans have made mention of their view on the alleged opportunity to “steal” the New Hampshire vote.