Thu, Aug 4, 2022 6:06 PM
By Christian Wade, The Center Square
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is criticizing President Joe Biden over a news report that the Democrat mused about giving New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary position to his home state.
The Politico report cited anonymous sources as saying that Biden had asked advisers about moving up Delaware in the primary calendar – possibly even to the first place spot.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sununu ripped the idea of Delaware replacing his state in the pecking order as "brazen, bold and ignorant."
"Imagine if a former Republican president were trying to do the same. Think of the outcry there," Sununu said in televised remarks. "It's an insult to all the voters of New Hampshire that the Democratic Party thinks it is just so easy to do this."
The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee recently voted to upend the traditional order of presidential primary nominations by requiring state parties to apply to host primaries and make the case for why they deserve to be first in line.
Democrats from New Hampshire and 16 other states recently made their case before the DNC, which has delayed a decision until after the midterm elections.
In his comments, Sununu suggested that the delay was meant to give political shelter to incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, who is facing several Republican challengers in the upcoming election.
"The National Democratic Party has bad news for Democrats in New Hampshire, and they just don't want to deliver it before November," Sununu said. "Everybody reads the tea leaves and everybody knows where this is going."
Not so, says New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, arguing that Hassan and other members of the state's all-Democrat congressional delegation have been "powerfully making the case" to remain first in the nation.
"Sununu’s meltdown was not only wildly inappropriate, but way off base and he knows it," Buckley said in a statement.
Some Democrats have argued that the predominantly white electorate New Hampshire and Iowa – which holds its presidential caucuses ahead of New Hampshire's primary – aren't representative of Democratic voters or the nation as a whole.
That's part of the case that Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, made in his pitch to the DNC to make his state the first to host the next presidential primary.
New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary gives the 11th-smallest state by population outsize influence on presidential politics.
Flashy national campaigns with multimillion-dollar advertising budgets turn into shoe-leather operations where candidates knock on doors, walk through neighborhoods in downtown, and press the flesh at local haunts.
This isn't the first time that the state has had to defend its pole position in the nation's presidential nominating process.
In 2012, when Nevada and several other states proposed to shift their primaries forward during the contested Republican contest, then-New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner threatened to schedule the state's primary in December 2011 to prevent it from losing its first-in-the nation status.
The proposal by other states eventually fizzled out.