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State Dems applaud preserving the state's first-in-nation primary status


State Democratic party officials are applauding the national party's decision to preserve the primacy of New Hampshire's role in choosing the next presidential nominee.

Meeting in Atlanta, the Democratic National Committee on Saturday approved a primary schedule that would set the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1, 2016, followed by New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary eight days later.

Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley applauded the DNC for working to establish a "smart primary calendar" that "continues to protect the Granite State's important status as 'First in the Nation.'"

Gov. Maggie Hassan also praised the DNC's efforts to protect New Hampshire's primary in what will be its centennial year.

Noting the state is renowned for its "vibrant civic society," Hassan said the presidential primary here is "a quintessential Granite State tradition that reflects our critical role in American democracy."

While Secretary of State Bill Gardner - whom Hassan called the primary's "most ardent champion" - is tasked by state law with setting the official date, officials said the DNC's calendar should eliminate the controversies of past cycles, when other states tried to capture some of the national spotlight by scheduling their own early contests.

With the primary eight days after the Iowa caucus - and 11 days before the Nevada caucus - Buckley said, "New Hampshire voters will have the maximum amount of time to meet and learn more about the presidential candidates."

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