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The DNC restores New Hampshire’s delegates after a second nominating event unknown to many Democrats

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic National Committee ‘s rulemaking arm voted Tuesday to seat New Hampshire’s full slate of delegates at the party’s convention this summer, ending a bitter feud with the state over its presidential primary no longer being the first in the nation.

The move follows an event this past weekend, when the New Hampshire Democratic Party invited state committee members to witness “the final steps of the delegate selection process” a few hours before its scheduled State Committee Meeting.

In an updated delegate selection plan submitted by the state party and shared by the DNC, the state party calls what occurred on Saturday a “party-run delegate selection primary,” though several committee members told The Associated Press that they were unaware that it was considered a primary or a nominating event — and it was unclear if the invitation to attend it was distributed to anyone other than committee members.

The state party has not provided results of the event, though Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement that the “delegate selection process is complete.”

That gathering effectively circumvents for party purposes the Jan. 23 vote that President Joe Biden won via a write-in campaign. It ends threats of sanctions against the state’s Democrats for refusing to defer to South Carolina, which Biden allies wanted at the front of the calendar to prioritize Black voters over majority-white Iowa and New Hampshire, historically the two states that have gone first.

Kathy Sullivan, a former state party chair and DNC member who didn’t attend Saturday’s event, said it involved only a few Democrats casting ballots that only listed Biden.

“No one would call this a primary except the DNC, and trying to say this complies with the DNC rules is ridiculous, but I guess they needed to save face somehow and needed some Kabuki theater to make it look like they had not totally capitulated, even though they in fact totally capitulated,” Sullivan wrote in an email. “Despite all the threats, the drama, the wasted time and energy, all of our delegates are being seated. No punishment. No penalties. We win!”

Typically, a primary would require attendees to state their voting preference, whereas a delegate-selection meeting — as the party described the event to committee members before it took place — chooses the actual people who will represent each candidate for president at the nominating convention.

Neil Levesque is the director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, the site of Saturday’s event. “I didn’t know about it until this morning, and the details haven’t been forthcoming,” Levesque said on Monday.

Still, what happened over the weekend was enough for the DNC to push forward with Tuesday night’s vote. Jim Roosevelt, co-chair of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, cheered the matter being resolved.

“We as a committee, and as a national committee, have gone through a difficult number of weeks and months getting to this point and I believe New Hampshire has gone through a difficult number of weeks and months where some things we’d like to have seen take place did not,” Roosevelt said. “As it happens, all that is behind us now.”

The fight dates back to December 2022, when President Joe Biden directed the DNC to reorder its presidential primary calendar to better empower voters of color, who make up the party’s most loyal base.

The committee installed South Carolina’s primary first for 2024 this past Feb. 5, and pushed back Iowa, where a caucus had leadoff since 1972, and New Hampshire, which had held the contest’s first primary for more than a century.

New Hampshire rebelled and held January’s primary not sanctioned by the national party, and the DNC threatened the state with sanctions, including that its delegates wouldn’t be seated at the national convention in Chicago starting Aug. 19.

Tuesday evening’s vote allows the state to go to the convention as normal. DNC rules approved for this cycle suggest punishment for Democratic primary candidates who campaigned in the unsanctioned primary, which included Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson.

That won’t matter, though, since neither won any delegates to the convention. Biden didn’t campaign in New Hampshire or appear on the ballot, but won it easily via a write-in campaign organized by some of the state’s top Democrats.

The primary fight overall was largely moot since Biden is a sitting president seeking reelection and faced only token primary opposition.

Still, ending the feud was potentially important to both sides since the DNC plans to reexamine the order of its primary calendar for 2028 after Election Day this fall — which could reignite a struggle to go first.

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Associated Press writer Holly Ramer contributed to this report from Concord, New Hampshire.

Will Weissert And Leah Askarinam, The Associated Press


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