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Biden supporters launch write-in campaign, after president decides to skip NH primary

President Joe Biden arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden arrives on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

New Hampshire Democrats — including dozens of state lawmakers, former members of Congress, and a long list of activists that includes filmmaker Ken Burns — have formalized an effort to persuade voters to write-in President Joe Biden during New Hampshire’s presidential primary.

Biden declined to place his name on the primary ballot after New Hampshire pledged to follow the state law requiring the first primary be held here. The Democratic National Committee – with Biden’s backing – approved a 2024 calendar that made South Carolina, the first state Biden carried in 2020, the leadoff primary.

“The fight for our democracy starts here and now, and New Hampshire will show the nation and world that President Joe Biden is the leader we need to continue to move this country forward,” the group’s website declares.

The Write-In Biden website calls the DNC rules — which Biden’s campaign cited to justify his non-participation in the primary — “misguided,” asks voters to commit to writing-in Biden, and walks them through how to do it.

“Fill in the small oval next to the words ‘write-in’ at the bottom of the list of candidates," the website instructs. "Write ‘Joe Biden’ next to the printed words ‘write-in’ and return your ballot."

Those signed onto the effort include all 10 of New Hampshire's Democratic state senators and House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm, as well as the party's two gubernatorial candidates, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington.

Former U.S. Reps. Carol Shea Porter and Paul Hodes, AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett, former New Hampshire Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick and ex-New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan have also joined.

A campaign urging voters to write in a sitting president the New Hampshire primary is without precedent.

Months in the making, the website and public push comes as Biden continues to hold a large lead in all available polls of Democratic voters here. It also closely follows the entrance of another Democrat in the race, Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips.

Phillps has promised to support whomever ultimately wins the Democratic nomination, but is adamant that voters want a choice, and a new generation to lead the country.

“Eighty-three percent of Democrats under 30 years old want an alternative nominee, and I don't think the country knows this right now,” Phillips told a small audience who gathered to hear him speak during a visit to the Shaheen and Gordon law office in Dover Monday.

Billy Shaheen, a former DNC member and husband of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, invited Phillips to Dover.

“I think it’s a tradition in New Hampshire that you allow everyone an opportunity to present themselves,” he said.

Shaheen said he had "not yet" endorsed Phillips, but "it’s important for the Biden administration to know that there is an alternative, and people with other ideas."

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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