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Biden wins the New Hampshire primary after Democrats write him on the ballot

President Biden speaks during a campaign rally at Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va., on Tuesday. Biden's name was not on the Democratic primary ballot in New Hampshire.
Saul Loeb
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AFP via Getty Images
President Biden speaks during a campaign rally at Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va., on Tuesday. Biden's name was not on the Democratic primary ballot in New Hampshire.

Updated January 23, 2024 at 10:38 PM ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. — President Biden won the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Tuesday, an unusual race that he skipped after his party changed its rules in favor of seeing South Carolina hold the first nominating contest of the year.

As a result, Biden wasn't on the printed ballot. But Biden won regardless, according to a race call by The Associated Press.

The victory comes after a grassroots campaign urged Democrats to write in his name and a super PAC raised about $1.5 million to back the effort.

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The outcome is more symbolic than anything. The Democratic National Committee broke with tradition this year and chose South Carolina to hold its first primary of the year, on Feb. 3. But New Hampshire has a law requiring it to go first, so it went ahead with its vote anyway.

As a result of the dispute, New Hampshire's delegates won't be seated at the Democratic National Convention in August, and the results won't count toward Biden's official nomination.

The snafu gave an opening to Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., to launch a long-shot challenge against the incumbent president.

But Phillips' push prompted the New Hampshire Democratic establishment to organize a write-in campaign to try to ensure Biden was not embarrassed by the primary results.

The Biden-Harris campaign, for its part, steered clear of the state and the write-in effort.

In a statement Tuesday night, Biden thanked "all those who wrote my name in this evening in New Hampshire. It was a historic demonstration of commitment to our democratic process."

He added: "It is now clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. And my message to the country is the stakes could not be higher."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Democratic challenger and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips listens to supporters during a campaign rally on Monday in Manchester, N.H.
Brandon Bell / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Democratic challenger and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips listens to supporters during a campaign rally on Monday in Manchester, N.H.
Campaign signs asking voters to write in President Biden on the primary ballot are seen in Loudon, N.H., on Friday.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Campaign signs asking voters to write in President Biden on the primary ballot are seen in Loudon, N.H., on Friday.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
Jeongyoon Han