• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Updated Jan 23, 2024, 8:47pm EST
politics

Biden wins New Hampshire primary — despite not being on the ballot

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
TweetEmailWhatsapp

Sign up for Semafor Principals: What the White House is reading. Read it now.

Title icon

The News

President Joe Biden easily won the low-stakes New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday, despite his name not appearing on the ballot.

Major networks and news outlets called the race not long after polls closed at 8 p.m. The Biden campaign did not compete in the contest, but Democrats relied on an ad-hoc write-in movement — a grassroots campaign urging voters to write the president’s name on the ballot — to ensure a victory over Democratic opponents Rep. Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson. A group of progressive activists also encouraged voters to write “ceasefire” on the ballot to protest the president’s support for Israel’s war in Gaza.

“Congratulations to President Biden, who absolutely won tonight — but by no means in the way that a strong incumbent president should,” Phillips told supporters in Manchester. “We just earned 20% tonight, and no one knew who we were 10 weeks ago.”

AD

Haley’s loss to Trump, said Phillips, made him “the only one standing in the way of that man.”

Biden is the first incumbent presidential candidate in decades to not appear on his party’s primary ballot in the state. That’s because the Democratic Party changed its primary schedule this year, kicking New Hampshire out of its historical place as the venue for the nation’s first primary. The party chose South Carolina to go first, saying the state’s demographics, particularly its percentage of Black voters, better reflect the nation.

New Hampshire Democrats, upset by the decision, decided to hold their primary first anyway. The Biden campaign said the president is obligated to comply with party rules, so he wouldn’t compete in the state. All other Democratic presidential hopefuls appeared on the ballot.

AD

But the contest was “meaningless,” the Democratic National Committee declared, after opting to penalize New Hampshire for its insubordination by taking away its delegates. Behind the scenes, New Hampshire Democrats said they weren’t worried about the penalty as it wouldn’t affect the outcome of the nomination.

Title icon

Know More

There was some late drama over an apparent AI-powered dirty trick. A robocall impersonating Biden told recipients not to vote in Tuesday’s presidential primary, saying “it’s important that you save your vote for the November election,” NBC News reported Monday.

“Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again. Your vote makes a difference in November, not this Tuesday,” the call said.

AD

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office is investigating the calls, which they said look like an “unlawful attempt” at voter suppression. It’s not clear how many voters received the message.

Semafor Logo
AD