By Jarrett Renshaw
(Reuters) - New Hampshire on Wednesday officially set the date of its presidential primary for Jan. 23, defying a plan pushed by U.S. President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party to have the state give up its first-in-the-nation primary.
New Hampshire will remain first on the primary calendar, but faces punishment from the Democratic National Committee, including the loss of delegates to the Democratic convention.
The dispute between New Hampshire and the Democratic Party also means Biden’s name will be missing from the New Hampshire presidential primary ballot this year.
Biden ousted Iowa and New Hampshire from the first spots on the party's nominating calendar in favor of South Carolina, a more diverse state. Biden credits South Carolina and its large Black population with catapulting him to the White House in 2020.
The move forces any Democratic challenger to Biden to compete first in South Carolina instead of Iowa and New Hampshire, two largely white states that rejected him in 2020. The winner of the New Hampshire primary is not expected to get any delegates necessary to secure the nomination, making South Carolina the first vote of any consequence.
The official date sets the table for the Republican nomination for the candidates seeking to challenge Biden in the general election. They will compete in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15 before turning to New Hampshire, followed by the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 8 and South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 24.
For Democrats, South Carolina’s primary will be on Feb. 3, followed by Nevada’s on Feb. 6.
(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Bill Berkrot)