New Hampshire's 'first-in-the-nation' primary celebrates 100th anniversary

Photo by cmh2315fl on Flickr/Creative Commons

By Michelle Amidzich, News Editor

Vermont’s next-door neighbor, New Hampshire, will celebrate its 100th Anniversary as “first-in-the-nation” for the presidential primary election on Tuesday, February 11.

New Hampshire technically held its first presidential primary in 1916, because the new and changing era allowed states to select their delegates to the convention. This was done to encourage popular participation and discourage “backroom deals” at party conventions.

However, the year 1920 is special to the Granite State because it held the first primary in the country for the presidential election. Since then, they have not broken tradition.

New Hampshire state law requires their presidential primary to take place seven days before any other state with a “similar election.” New Hampshire does not consider the Iowa caucuses to be a “similar election,” which is why their primary is a week after Iowa and can still be considered “first-in-the-nation.”

Under the New Hampshire law, their Secretary of State is authorized to move the primary date in order to maintain first place status. The election date used to be the second Tuesday in March, but as they had to maintain their first-place position, it gradually shifted back to where it is now – the second Tuesday of February.

The City of Manchester is celebrating the “FFTN” anniversary through February 11. Activities include a trolley tour and scavenger hunt, a primary trivia night, and candidate events.

“It’s an exciting time for Queen City residents, presidential candidates and the national press – and this year for the 100th Anniversary, we’ll host events across the city to commemorate the political role Manchester has played over the last century,” said Mayor Joyce Craig in a recent interview.

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