RNC threatens to pull New Hampshire debate if state moves up presidential primary

Fox’s first appearance – The Republican National Committee is warning New Hampshire not to move up the date for the nation’s first presidential primary.

The RNC’s debate committee discussed with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on a conference call Thursday that plans were in place for New Hampshire if the state leapfrogged the Iowa caucuses to top the party. has decided to threaten to cancel the Republican presidential primary debate. Nominated calendar. A source familiar with the call informed Fox News Digital of the decision.

New Hampshire Republican Governor Chris Sununu responded to the RNC hours later in an exclusive statement to Fox News.

“No matter what the political power brokers in Washington, D.C. think, the first presidential primary will be held in New Hampshire,” Sununu wrote. “We will not be intimidated, we will follow the law, and we will go first. End of story.”

New Hampshire has hosted the first White House primary in a century and has been second only to the Iowa caucuses on the Democratic and Republican nomination calendars for the past half century.

While the Republican National Committee has not made any dramatic changes to its nominating calendar, its rival Democratic National Committee voted overwhelmingly in early February to significantly change the top dates of the 2024 election cycle. , dislodging Iowa and New Hampshire from their long-standing leadership positions. .

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A sign outside the state capital building in Concord, New Hampshire, spotlights the state’s valuable position over the past century in hosting presidential primaries. (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

According to the nomination calendar proposed by President Biden and approved by the DNC, South Carolina will hold its first Democratic primary on February 3, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada three days later.

But New Hampshire has a law in place for nearly half a century that requires the first presidential primary to be held a week earlier than similar races. And the state is likely to hold its primary on Jan. 23, eight days after the Iowa caucuses scheduled for Jan. 15. That would keep New Hampshire out of favor with Democrats, but it would not affect the Republican primary. .

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But the Iowa Democratic Party last week voted along with Republicans to hold its caucuses on Jan. 15, and is considering supplementing traditional caucuses with a mail-in structure, and New Hampshire’s Secretary of State Dave Scanlan has warned that the Iowa Democratic caucuses may be held. It looks too much like a primary and violates Granite State law. The move by the Iowa Democratic Party would also violate a new law in the Hawkeye State that requires caucuses to be held in person.

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Iowa caucus exhibit at Iowa State History Museum, January 15, 2020 (Fox News)

Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufman recently accused Scanlan of being “too wild” about the possibility of moving up the primary date in a radio interview. “I’m going to take a pretty hard line against any effort to make traditional caucuses more like presidential primaries,” Scanlan told reporters last week.


Ahead of the campaign, the RNC plans to hold debates in all four presidential primary and caucus states that offer early voting: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Republican candidates on stage at the first Republican debate.

Republican presidential candidates take the stage during the first Republican nomination debate at the FISERV Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 23, 2023. (Fox News)

But the RNC is now warning New Hampshire that jumping to the top of the calendar ahead of Iowa could result in the state’s debate being dragged into the national party committee.

Sununu, who has been an active critic of the DNC’s efforts to knock New Hampshire out of the top spot in the primary, fired back at the RNC Thursday night over its possible withdrawal from the debate.

“New Hampshire provides a level playing field for all candidates and can propel a candidate to the presidency. Threatening to take debates away from New Hampshire is an important step in the It is a disgrace to all campaigns and candidates who have worked tirelessly to win the election,” Sununu said in a statement to Fox News.

Scanlan also dismissed the RNC’s warning, saying it does not factor into his decision-making process.Question from NH Journal If it affects the primary date, New Hampshire’s secretary of state said, “The short answer is no.”

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