New Hampshire Stands Firm on Trump's 2024 Primary Eligibility Amid DNC Schedule Conflicts

 September 14, 2023

Despite an ongoing debate concerning his eligibility and potential legal impediments, former President Donald Trump may yet appear on the ballot for New Hampshire's 2024 Republican presidential primary according to State Secretary, David Scanlan. Amidst legal challenges asserting that Trump should be barred from another presidential bid under a clause from the 14th Amendment, Scanlan announced that he has no plan to invoke the said amendment to obstruct Trump from appearing next year.

This decision comes at a time when New Hampshire's primary calendar could potentially clash with the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) proposed 2024 scheduling, igniting another debate concerning the state's predominant position in the sequence of primary elections. The following sections delve into these opposing dynamics, spectating the political landscape as it takes shape for the 2024 presidential race.

David Scanlan, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, has made it clear that he will not invoke the 14th Amendment as a means to bar Trump from appearing on ballots in the state's Republican presidential primary next year. Scanlan clarified that anyone meeting basic requirements like age, citizenship, and residency could appear on the ballots as per state law, provided they pay a $1,000 filing fee.

This declaration comes amidst a handful of lawsuits filed in New Hampshire and beyond claiming that the former president should be prevented from a rerun under a seldom-used clause of the 14th Amendment. The clause in question restrains those accused of participating in an 'insurrection or rebellion' against the Constitution from assuming office. High-profile Republicans such as attorney Bryant "Corky" Messner and Texas-based attorney John Anthony Castro, who is also aiming for a GOP presidential nomination, are among the critics questioning Trump's eligibility based on this clause.

Despite these legal challenges, both Scanlan and New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella emphasized that New Hampshire's state laws don't explicitly disqualify a candidate based on the 14th Amendment. They reflect a trend seen nationwide, as many state secretaries refuse to unilaterally exclude a presidential candidate. The matter of the 14th Amendment's bearing on a candidate’s eligibility seems destined for the U.S. Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the issue.

Adding another layer of complexity, New Hampshire's primary calendar might conflict with the DNC's proposed schedule for 2024. The DNC is attempting to modify the sequence of state primaries to better reflect the country's diversity, particularly among Black and Hispanic voters. However, such a modification has been met with resistance in New Hampshire, a state law-bound to hold the initial presidential primary. Complying with the DNC's new schedule without revoking that law might prove difficult.

Failure to abide by the DNC's proposed timing, however, could be costly. The DNC has warned New Hampshire that non-compliance could result in the state losing half of its delegates to the Democratic presidential nominating convention. Indications from Scanlan's designated candidate filing period suggest a potential date for the primary: January 23, 2023.

With the political landscape gearing up for the 2024 presidential race, the eligibility of former president Donald Trump is a much-debated topic. While the interpretation of a clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is being contested, New Hampshire's Secretary of State has made any decision to disqualify Trump from their forthcoming Republican primary dependent on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the issue of eligibility.

The state has proven resolute, remaining steadfast in its rights to determine its primary schedule even amidst potential conflicts with the DNC’s proposed 2024 timetable. New Hampshire, traditionally the first in the sequence of primaries, stands at a crucial crossroads; alter its primary sequence as per DNC's proposal and reflect voter diversity better or hold its ground and face penalties.

This complex mix of legal challenges pertaining to candidate eligibility, the balance of primary sequences, and their implications on national party politics is setting a fascinating, if controversial, precedent as the U.S. steadily approaches the 2024 presidential election.

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