The people of New Hampshire vs. Joe Biden

Last updated on January 20, 2023

What do you do when you are one of the guardians of your state’s most precious political and cultural institution — the very thing that defines New Hampshire — and the president you love and the party you’ve served your whole life, tells you to destroy it?

To find out, we spoke to Ray Buckley. Buckley has served as the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party since 2007 and he was involved in every New Hampshire presidential primary campaign since he was an organizer for Jimmy Carter.

A big part of his job is protecting the status of the New Hampshire primary, which by state law is required to be the first in the nation. Any Democrat who wants to be president makes a point of becoming Ray Buckley’s friend. When Buckley got a call in December from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the worst part was that it was Joe Biden who had screwed him. Biden had decided to end New Hampshire’s decades-long reign of hosting the first presidential primary — at least for the Democrats. In its place: South Carolina, the state that resurrected Biden’s candidacy in 2020.

On this episode of Playbook Deep Dive, Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza speaks to Buckley about New Hampshire’s fight to preserve their first-in-the-nation primary.