On Wednesday (December 11th, 2019), New Hampshire announced that it will hold the first-in-the-nation presidential primary in February 2020, defying the Democratic National Committee’s attempts to cut its traditional early state status.
The New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who has traditionally been in charge of scheduling the state’s primary, said the primary will take place on February 11, 2020. The announcement comes after a series of back-and-forth debates between Gardner and the DNC.
The DNC had threatened to suspend New Hampshire’s “First in the Nation” primary status due to the state’s complicated rules over voter registration. The DNC argued that New Hampshire’s “permanent residency” requirement limited access to the state’s voters, as it would require those without full residency to pay New Hampshire taxes and register for at least 30 days prior to the primary.
However, Secretary Gardner maintained that the primary date would remain the same, arguing that the DNC was violating his state’s right to choose the date of its primary. “The DNC hasn’t followed their own rules, and all we’re asking is for them to follow their own rules,” he said. “A primary is a day of celebration here in New Hampshire.”
In response to Gardner’s announcement, DNC Chair Tom Perez released a statement, saying that “New Hampshire’s failure to comply with the DNC rules renders its August 16 certification of our presidential candidates invalid” and that the DNC “will withhold New Hampshire’s delegates” if the state does not move to rectify its “invalid” certification.
Despite the threats from the DNC, Secretary Gardner has committed to upholding the traditional date of the New Hampshire primary. The decision will ultimately be up to the DNC, who may decide to strip the state of its status as the “First in the Nation.”