Biden wins New Hampshire primary through a write-in effort after declining to campaign there

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President Joe Biden won New Hampshire’s largely symbolic Democratic primary on Tuesday, prevailing in an unusual write-in effort after he refused to campaign or appear on the state ballot. Biden easily bested two longshot challengers, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, who were on the ballot along with a host of little-known names. His victory in a race he was not formally contesting essentially cements the president’s grasp on the Democratic nomination for a second term.

The New Hampshire race will likely not count toward amassing delegates for the presidential nomination after Democrats in the state bucked a Biden-championed revamp of the primary calendar that placed South Carolina at the fore of the Democratic race for the White House. Biden championed changing Democratic Party rules to put South Carolina first on Feb. 3, arguing that Black Democrats, the party’s most reliable base of support, and other voters of color needed to play a larger, earlier role in the primary. But Biden also won South Carolina’s primary in 2020, reviving his campaign after a blowout loss in New Hampshire, whose electorate is whiter and older than the rest of the nation.

New Hampshire Democrats rebelled against the new plan and pushed ahead with a primary on Tuesday, alongside the state’s Republicans. The Democratic National Committee has said that the contest won’t award delegates that ultimately select the nominee as a result of the rules violation. Biden shunned the primary as a result, but his allies organized hundreds of volunteers – and got help from a super PAC – to spread the word that New Hampshire Democrats could still write in his name.

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“I want to thank all those who wrote my name in this evening in New Hampshire,” Biden said in a statement. “It was a historic demonstration of commitment to our democratic process.” He went on to appeal to independent and anti-Trump Republicans “who share our commitment to core values of our nation – our Democracy, our personal freedoms, an economy that gives everyone a fair shot – to join us as Americans” and back his campaign.

The contest was overshadowed by the Republican primary, where former President Donald Trump followed up his win last week in Iowa with another victory to prove that he has seized control of his party’s nomination over his last remaining challenger, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley. New Hampshire allows unaffiliated voters to participate in either party’s primary.