The Republican National Committee warned New Hampshire against moving up its primary date, saying it will pull the GOP debate that's scheduled to take place there.
New Hampshire's response: Don't care.
A change being considered by Iowa Democrats to hold a mail-in caucus would effectively make that a primary and bump New Hampshire to having the second primary on the calendar, which would run afoul of the Granite State's half-century-old first-primary-in-the-country rule.
"The first presidential primary will be taking place in New Hampshire, regardless of what the political power brokers in Washington, DC think," New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement to Fox News regarding the RNC's warning. "We will not be threatened, we will follow our law, and we WILL go first. End of story."
Iowa's caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 15, 2024, which would put the New Hampshire primary Jan. 23. But if Iowa Democrats run afoul of their own state law — mandating caucuses must be held in person — and move forward with a mail-in component, aka a primary, on Jan. 15, New Hampshire will adjust.
"I am not willing to allow things to take place that are incrementally moving towards a primary because that gets the foot in the door," New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan said earlier this month. "So, we're going to take a pretty hard line on any effort to make a traditional caucus look more like a presidential primary."
Asked Thursday if the threat of losing a debate would influence his decision in hopscotching over Iowa, Scanlan said, "In a word, no."
Sununu in his statement to Fox News said, "Threatening to take a debate away from New Hampshire is a disservice to every campaign and candidate that has worked tirelessly to earn the votes of New Hampshire's Republican electorate."
The RNC plans to hold a debate in the four early caucus/primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada — ahead of their contest.
The second GOP debate will take place Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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