New Hampshire Taps Jan. 23 for Presidential Primary Date

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(Bloomberg) -- The New Hampshire presidential primary will take place on Jan. 23, a date that makes it the second contest in the 2024 nominating process, a state official said.

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The announcement comes two months before the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses are scheduled to kick off the 2024 election cycle. The Jan. 23 date was widely anticipated because of a nearly 50 year-old state law that has required New Hampshire to hold its election at least a week before any other primary. Under a long-term understanding with Iowa, their caucuses don’t count.

“That date complies with our state statute requiring our presidential primary to be at least seven days before any similar event, and it preserves the position of the traditional Iowa caucus,” New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan told reporters Wednesday.

Caucuses differ from primaries in that voters meet to hear speeches and cast votes at the same time rather than on secret ballots throughout election day. New Hampshire’s open primary system allows voters unaffiliated with a party to vote for Democratic or Republican candidates, which has prompted many former Democrats to switch their registration to undeclared in recent months.

The New Hampshire primary date could overlap with former President Donald Trump’s civil defamation trial against writer E. Jean Carroll, which is set to begin on the same day as the Iowa caucuses. Trump is currently polling at 46.7% in New Hampshire, almost 30 points ahead of former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who is in second place, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling.

The Democratic National Committee this year has upended the longstanding truce between Iowa and New Hampshire by insisting that South Carolina — a state critical to President Joe Biden’s 2020 nomination — vote before both Iowa and New Hampshire on their calendar because of its demographic diversity. The new DNC calendar means that Biden’s name won’t appear on the New Hampshire ballot, but it is unlikely to harm his near-certain chances of becoming the Democratic nominee.

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