By leaving out New Hampshire Biden39s campaign stays under the

By leaving out New Hampshire, Biden's campaign stays under the radar: News Orange

While all eyes are on Donald Trump, the favorite to win Tuesday's Republican primary in New Hampshire, President Joe Biden has decided to skip that state and keep his campaign under the radar at the risk of a false start.

After the caucus in Iowa, the primaries traditionally begin in New Hampshire, which determines the nomination of the two candidates who will compete against each other for the White House next November.

However, due to disagreements over this electoral calendar, the current president's name will not appear on the ballot for the Democratic primary this time.

However, at the initiative of supporters, voters will continue to write his name on the ballot. By counting these votes, Joe Biden risks coming third in this northeastern state, behind two other candidates: Democratic entrepreneur Dean Phillips and writer Marianne Williamson, author of personal development books.

Joe Biden takes the state “for granted (…) He should be campaigning in New Hampshire, he should be in front of the voters,” Mr. Phillips said during a recent debate with Ms. Williamson, in which Mr. Biden did not take part .

“He should be on the ballot in New Hampshire for heaven’s sake. He is the president,” he added.

In the 2020 primaries, Joe Biden lost heavily in this predominantly white state and was subsequently saved by strong African American support in the state of South Carolina.

– Holy cow –

After his election, he asked Democratic Party leadership to place South Carolina ahead of New Hampshire and Iowa on the calendar to capitalize on better initial momentum. But New Hampshire, controlled by Republicans and for which being the first state to adopt primaries is a sacred cow, firmly refused.

Local activists, while disappointed and upset that Joe Biden did not participate in the vote, decided to tell his supporters that they could still put his name on the ballot themselves.

On Saturday, about twenty of them braved the winter cold in Manchester, the state's largest city, by waving signs: “Ask me if I can write to Joe Biden.”

Candidate and Congressman Dean Phillips came out to offer them coffee.

“We’re all frustrated that (Biden) isn’t on the ballot,” said Kathy Sullivan, 69, a retired lawyer from Manchester.

“But we’ll put that aside because it’s really important that Joe Biden beats Donald Trump in November.”

Dan Seferian, a 62-year-old retiree who came from Reading, Massachusetts, with his wife Colleen, criticized Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips for not supporting Joe Biden's re-election campaign.

“I think they have to support the party and the outgoing president. Phillips is a young man. He could run in 2028. He should have waited his turn,” he told AFP.

– frustration –

Some donors who support the president fear that putting Joe Biden's name on the ballot would hand him an unnecessary defeat, leading observers to wonder how many votes were received.

The vote could therefore still be seen as a measure of the president's popularity, whereas the result could otherwise have simply been ignored.

Democratic presidents seeking reelection typically receive about 80% of the vote in New Hampshire primaries, and party strategists estimate that Joe Biden will need to receive about 60% of the vote to avoid humiliation.

“A victory is a victory, and I think we can get it,” said New Hampshire Rep. Donna Soucy, a campaign co-chair.

“We worked very hard across the state on this effort (to write Biden's name), and I think today's voters — those of us standing out here in the cold — are a testament to the enthusiasm for President Joe Biden. “

She admitted she was frustrated by Biden's non-attendance, but blamed party officials in Washington rather than the president himself.

“It's a little more complicated to express our support in this election, but we're going to do it anyway because we're loyal to our president,” she said.

published January 21 at 8:32 p.m., AFP