HAMPTON, N.H. — President Joe Biden easily won the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday as a write-in candidate. Biden won 64% of the vote, beating nearly two dozen opponents, including Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and Marianne Williamson.
The Democratic National Committee opted to boot New Hampshire from its first-place spot in the primary, instead holding its first primary in South Carolina to more accurately represent the diverse Democratic electorate and amplify voices of color. When New Hampshire proceeded with its primary per state law, the DNC stripped New Hampshire of its delegates, and the Biden campaign failed to submit the necessary paperwork to appear on the ballot.
In response, a grassroots group of voters and party leaders organized a successful write-in campaign to secure Biden’s win.
Janet Polasky, a Portsmouth voter who volunteered for the write-in campaign, said she believes the write-in campaign’s success highlights the party’s unity.
“The fact that there’s so much excitement says something about democracy in New Hampshire and about how voters feel about Biden,” Polasky said. “I think people were really impressed with what he has been able to accomplish as president despite opposition from Republicans.”
Andrew Smith, a professor of practice at the University of New Hampshire, said the Biden campaign needed a successful write-in campaign to ensure momentum heading into the general election. Smith, who is also the director of the UNH survey center, noted that Democrats ran a write-in campaign in 1968 for then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, who beat Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-Minn) in the Democratic primary by six points.
“The press coverage on that was that Johnson was a weak president presiding over a divided party and that he had to go,” Smith said. “That’s what the Democratic Party couldn’t afford. They didn’t want to have that message.”
Many voters who opted for a write-in vote for Biden highlighted his track record on climate and infrastructure and his leadership in navigating the country through the COVID-19 pandemic.
John Riordan, a New Hampshire voter, said that Granite Staters have personally benefited from legislation that Biden has signed into law, such as the Inflation Reduction Act. The act allocated funds for ‘climate-smart’ farm practices designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reduce emissions through sustainable farming techniques.
“Climate is the issue of the millennium,” Riordan said. “He really put together a coalition that got legislation I don’t think anybody else could have gotten.”
Hampton voter Chris Muns said he voted for Biden because he believes the president has done a better job governing than former president Donald Trump.
“Biden’s record of success the last three years is phenomenal,” Muns said. “He brought the economy back from the brink after the pandemic, and he’s done things that Trump only talked about in his administration, like passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The fight to make sure he gets reelected starts today.”
New Hampshire resident Barbara Destefano said she believes New Hampshire voters will ultimately choose Biden over Trump in the general election.
Biden beat his opponent Phillips by more than a three-to-one margin, whereas Trump beat Haley by just 11%. Christopher Galdieri, a politics professor at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., said he believes this could spell trouble for Trump in the general election.
“Trump has been running for this nomination as if he were an incumbent president,” Galdieri said. “But the fact is that he’s gotten 51% and 54% of the vote in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those are good, solid wins, but those aren’t the sort of numbers that you would expect from an incumbent president trying to get renominated.”