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With its meet and greets, N.H. is best suited to be first primary

Pete Buttigieg supporters watched coverage of the New Hampshire primaries on Feb. 11, 2020, while attending a watch party for the former South Bend, Ind., mayor. Buttigieg finished second, behind Bernie Sanders, in the race to become the Democratic nominee for president. Joe Biden, the eventual nominee, and winner in the general election, came in fifth.Erin Clark / Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

The Democratic National Committee is taking a wrong turn in proposing removing New Hampshire’s place as the first-in-the-nation primary (“Biden’s primary calendar passes first hurdle,” Page A1, Dec. 3).

The order of the nominating contests has little influence on either the nomination or the election. The aphorism that no candidate could get elected president without winning the New Hampshire primary ended when Bill Clinton was elected in 1992.

The value of placing New Hampshire first is that it requires candidates to do meet and greet campaigning, something that is getting lost in the overemphasis on political ads and campaign money. This benefits voters who can meet the candidates up close and personal and helps candidates hone their campaign skills.


In addition, about 40 percent of New Hampshire voters are independents, a key constituency necessary to winning the presidency. While New Hampshire generally leans blue in presidential elections, it cannot be taken for granite (sorry, couldn’t resist).

While I understand the Democratic Party wants to emphasize the importance of the South Carolina primary for the nomination, with its influence of Black voters, its place as the second Democratic primary on the calendar in the last election was enough to give Joe Biden momentum toward winning the nomination. Yet no Democratic presidential nominee has won South Carolina in the general election since Jimmy Carter.

Why not keep purple state Iowa the first caucus and Nevada, with its large Latino population, second. Keep the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries first and second, respectively, followed by newly purple Georgia and Michigan with their large Black populations.

Leonard H. Golder


The writer was a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2018 in the Third Congressional District in Massachusetts. He also was an alternate delegate from Massachusetts in 1984 to the Democratic National Convention.