New Hampshire was the state that made Bill Clinton the comeback kid in 1992, propelling him to the presidency. Sixteen years later, Hillary Clinton won the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary in an upset.
And two years ago, in honor of the former president’s legacy, the New Hampshire Democratic Party became the only state party the country to name a major fund-raising dinner after Bill Clinton.
But on Tuesday, New Hampshire Democrats reversed course and announced they had voted to walk away from the Clinton name for the annual fall fete. The event once known as the Kennedy-Clinton dinner, which Bill Clinton headlined as recently as 2014, will now be called the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner.
Last week, members of the state Democratic Party were asked via paper ballot about whether they wanted to make another change and, if so, what the new name should be.
On the first question, party officials said a majority voted for the change — although they declined to release the total. For the second question on what to name the dinner, 52 percent picked Roosevelt over three other options: the Unity Dinner, the Victory Dinner, and Democracy for All.
State Republicans had criticized the dinner’s namesake, noting Clinton’s affair with an intern and other allegations of sexual misconduct.
One member of the Democratic party, Terry Shumaker, who served as a US Ambassador in the Clinton administration and is a close ally of the former president, expressed disappointment over the change and said he voted against it.
“But in the greater scheme of things I think President Clinton would agree with me that it is more important we elect Democrats in the fall given who is in the White House versus which figures from the past we name a political dinner after,” he said.
As recently as 2014, the same event was named the Jefferson-Jackson dinner, but activists called for a change. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are considered the forefathers of the Democratic Party — but they were also among the dozen US presidents who owned slaves.James Pindell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell. Click here to subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics.