For over a century, New Hampshire has proudly hosted the first primary election in the United States, solidifying its status as a pivotal state in the presidential race. However, the 2024 primary calendar brings a significant departure from tradition, raising questions and reshaping the political landscape.
Delegates at Stake: Republican and Democratic Dynamics
With 22 delegates at stake for Republicans and 32 for Democrats, New Hampshire’s position is crucial in the nominating process. Yet, due to the state running its primary ahead of the Democratic National Committee’s schedule, it’s anticipated that no Democratic delegates will be awarded after Tuesday’s vote.
Republican Showdown: Trump vs. Haley
The Republican race took an unexpected turn as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis withdrew from the competition, leaving a showdown between former President Donald Trump and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.
Controversy and Commitment: New Hampshire’s “First-in-the-Nation” Status
Amidst controversy over New Hampshire’s commitment to maintaining its “first-in-the-nation” primary status, the state finds itself at a critical juncture in this unique primary season on January 23.
Trump’s Target: Recapturing Victory in New Hampshire
After a historic win in the Iowa caucuses, Trump looks to New Hampshire, the state that played a pivotal role in his 2016 GOP nomination. A CBS poll conducted in December 2023 showed Trump with a double-digit lead over Haley among likely GOP primary voters. However, this was before the exits of DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy.
Open Primaries: Undeclared Voters Hold the Key
New Hampshire’s primary system is “open,” allowing undeclared voters, a significant bloc constituting over 39% of registered voters, to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary. This flexibility is crucial for Haley, aiming to sway both conservative and undeclared voters away from Trump, while registered Democrats and Republicans each make up about 30% of the voting demographic.
Record Turnout Anticipation: Secretary of State’s Projections
Anticipating record turnout, New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan predicts approximately 322,000 Republicans and 88,000 Democrats participating in their respective primaries. The deadline to switch party registration expired in early October, restricting registered voters to one party’s primary.
DNC’s Scheduling Shift: Biden Absent on the Ballot
Despite being embraced as the first primary state by Republicans, the Democratic National Committee’s early primary schedule, supported by President Biden, disrupted the traditional Iowa-to-New Hampshire slate. New Hampshire Republicans resisted the DNC’s changes, leading to Biden not appearing on the state’s primary ballot, a rare move for a sitting president.
Democratic Challengers: Absence of Biden Spurs Primary Competition
With the absence of President Biden on the ballot, Democratic primary challengers have emerged. Representative Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson are among the 21 Democrats on the ballot, challenging the status quo.
Voter Sentiments: Frustrations and Diverse Perspectives
As New Hampshirites express frustration with the political climate, registered Republicans exhibit a range of views. While some support Trump’s policies, others, like Ralph Lewis, view Nikki Haley as the candidate to unify America. However, concerns about Trump’s legal issues and divisiveness are voiced by some Republicans like Brenda Bell and Bruce Gurley.
Critical Chapter Unfolds: 2024 Primary Season Dynamics
The 2024 primary season in New Hampshire unfolds against a backdrop of evolving political dynamics and shifting voter sentiments, setting the stage for a critical chapter in the nation’s presidential race.