President Joe Biden won the New Hampshire primary, allaying concerns among Democrats that lagging enthusiasm for his campaign and his absence from the ballot could lead to an embarrassing defeat.
Those concerns led Biden loyalists to launch an unofficial write-in campaign for the president, encouraging incumbent Democrats to go to the polls and show support for the incumbent. He was not among the 21 candidates listed on the ballot because New Hampshire violated the primary calendar set by the National Democratic Party.
While the Biden campaign welcomed the result as a positive sign of enthusiasm for the 81-year-old's re-election bid, the victory was symbolic. Due to internal party conflict, Biden did not file for the primary and the results will not yield any nominated delegates. A byproduct of the infighting was an unusually tense race amid concerns that the president, already struggling to galvanize the Democratic Party, would fail to muster enough support to avoid a bad outcome.
As those concerns grew, Biden surrogates began promoting a write-in campaign aimed at Granite State Democrats and “undeclared” independents who wanted to speak at the Democratic primary. Biden did not campaign in New Hampshire. In Northern Virginia on Tuesday, he and Vice President Kamala Harris held a rally for abortion rights as part of the soft launch of their 2024 general election campaign.
Biden's absence from the ballot is the most visible fallout from his and the DNC's decision to move South Carolina to the front of the primary calendar for its diversity and role in revitalizing the former vice president's 2020 primary campaign. However, the state of New Hampshire decided to schedule its primary anyway ahead of South Carolina, in accordance with their own laws, creating a stalemate that ultimately led the DNC to call the results “meaningless” before the vote.
The Biden campaign will be watching the race between Trump and Haley closely. If Trump wins by a landslide, Tuesday's results could be the start of a rematch of the last presidential election. Haley tried to temper her supporters' expectations, but a weak showing could spell the end of her campaign.
This story has been updated with additional details.