What The New Presidential Primary Law Does

Governor John Lynch will sign House Bill 1125
in the Executive Council Chambers at
12:30 PM on Thursday, April 27th.
What Our New Presidential Primary Law Does
(Copy Of Legislation Appears Below)
In recent days, weeks, and months, we have seen political activists, and the politicians of other states in all parts of our country, trying to figure out a way to reduce New Hampshire's role in the presidential selection process.   That's nothing new.  We have seen similar efforts in past years, and we've always done what we have needed to do to respond and to remain first.

Through the years, we have retained our lead-off position by being intelligent in the laws we have written, and patient in the ways we have applied them. With the passage of House Bill 1125, we have done everything we need to do, and more, to protect the New Hampshire First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary well into the future. 

With this law, we have completed the process begun in 1975 of giving our Secretary of State all of the flexibility he needs to adjust our presidential primary date to respond to any of the national parties or other states, big and small.  

What we need of Presidential candidates is that they run here, not just that they support New Hampshire.  This law will allow for them to make the legal and binding commitment to run here by filing early, before the date of our primary is even announced by our Secretary of State.  That eliminates the ability of the national parties and other states from keeping the candidates from running in New Hampshire.

This law will also allow us to further protect our lead-off tradition by having the first major election event of those years, because the Secretary of State could set our primary ahead of any caucus, if he believes that is necessary to protect our tradition.

New Hampshire's First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary has never been a gift from the national parties, and we haven't kept our lead-off status just my some miracle.  Our state law protects our tradition.  This new update to that law will protect it even more.  We have kept our status of being "first" through the years by being smart, and out-maneuvering the other states.  In the future, we will do the same.

And as I said when I sponsored the law in 1975 putting into statute the first requirement that we would be the lead-off state, and the updates since then, the New Hampshire First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary isn't about us - - it's about an American democracy where candidates running for president who might not have great wealth or powerful connections can come here to meet with voters one-by-one, face-to-face, eye-to-eye.

Instead of talking to us or at us through a television screen or just through paid advertisements prepared by consultants, they have to talk with us.  That's democracy at its best.

What we need now are Democrats and Republicans throughout New Hampshire to unify and to urge all candidates to get on with the race, because we will have the first presidential primary in 2008, 2012, and beyond.  It would also be good for the political activists of the other states and of the national parties to put their battles against New Hampshire aside, and start going about the business of talking about issues of concern to the nation. 

There will always be threats to the New Hampshire First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary.  With this law now complete, we will always be prepared to respond to those threats. 

Jim Splaine
NH State Representative
Portsmouth & Newington
201 Oriental Gardens
Portsmouth, NH  03801
Telephone:  (603) 436-0718

HB 1125 - 2006 SESSION

AN ACT relative to the filing period for candidates at the presidential primary.

SPONSOR: Rep. Jim Splaine, Rockingham 16

COMMITTEE: Election Law


This bill permits the secretary of state to change the filing period for candidates at the presidential primary.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.


In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six

AN ACT relative to the filing period for candidates at the presidential primary.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 Presidential Nominations; Declaration of Candidacy; Filing Period. Amend RSA 655:47, II to read as follows:

II. Declarations of candidacy shall be filed between the first Monday in November and the third Friday in November, or during such other time period as the secretary of state shall announce.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.


The NH First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary Law:
Election Dates - Section 653:9

653:9 Presidential Primary Election. ? The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a Tuesday selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election, whichever is earlier, of each year when a president of the United States is to be elected or the year previous. Said primary shall be held in connection with the regular March town meeting or election or, if held on any other day, at a special election called by the secretary of state for that purpose.