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Potential Biden challenger Marianne Williamson heads to New Hampshire

Author and activist Marianne Williamson, who is considering a second campaign for president against President Biden, plans to visit New Hampshire in the coming weeks to help her make “a more informed decision” about her political future, she said in a statement.

The visit comes as the New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley has warned national Democratic leaders in a letter that the current plan to deny the state the first primary in the nation will force an unsanctioned event and “create an opening for an insurgent candidate — serious or not — who can garner media attention and capitalize on Granite Stater’s anger about being passed over by [Biden’s] campaign.”

Biden finished fifth in the 2020 Democratic primary in the state, with just 8 percent of the vote, and a poll this month by the University of New Hampshire found Biden remains vulnerable to challenge. He received 18 percent support in a hypothetical New Hampshire primary matchup against several politicians who have said they will not challenge him for the nomination. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg drew 23 percent, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also drew 18 percent.

Williamson dropped out of the 2020 presidential race before the Iowa caucuses after running a campaign that was best known for her appearances at televised party debates, where she spoke out against the “dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred” that former president Trump had unleashed in the country.

“New Hampshire is an important state and I had a wonderful time there when I ran before,” Williamson said in a statement Wednesday to The Washington Post. “I felt a deep connection to my New Hampshire supporters and I’m going back in a few weeks to connect with some old friends as well as new ones. I won’t be doing any public talks, but I’ll be on the ground talking to people and it will help me make a more informed decision.”

Williamson said she had not been invited to the state by New Hampshire Democratic Party, which is embroiled in the heated dispute with Biden advisers and national party leaders over the order of nominating contests next year. The Rules and Bylaws Committee of the national party voted Wednesday to give New Hampshire until June 3 to show it can hold the second primary contest in 2024, on the same day as Nevada and after South Carolina.

A long-standing New Hampshire state law requires the state to hold the first primary contest in the nation, and empowers the secretary of state to move the primary date to accomplish that goal. Democrats in New Hampshire, who oppose the new calendar proposal, have said they lack the power to force Republican leaders in the state to change the law.

If New Hampshire follows through on its threat to run an unsanctioned process, the Democratic National Committee has said it will not seat any elected delegates from the state at the nominating convention and could sanction any candidates who campaign in the state.

Mo Elleithee, a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, said an appearance by Williamson should put more pressure on New Hampshire Democrats to find a way to comply with the new calendar.

“I think this ought to put even more pressure on the New Hampshire Democratic Party to figure out how to get this done,” Elleithee said. “If I were them I would be very careful right now about giving out the impression that they are opening the doors to challenging the president.”

Buckley pushed back, in a statement on Thursday, saying the state party does not want to see Biden’s reelection jeopardized.

“We have repeatedly warned the DNC that their proposed schedule and sanctions on New Hampshire will undermine President Biden by opening up the door to a primary challenge,” Buckley said. “To date, these warnings have gone completely ignored. It is our hope that they will join us in understanding how much their misguided plan will stoke divisions and that they will work with us to reach a solution.”

Williamson argued in a Wednesday appearance on Rising, a streaming news show produced by the Hill newspaper, that she might have more impact in a 2024 presidential campaign by running as a Democrat than by pursuing a third-party bid.

“If I run, there are forces within the Democratic Party who would be trying to invisibilize me,” said Williamson, who also scheduled an event in the state last October. “I think they will have an easier time invisibilizing me if I run third party. If I do run, and I run as a Democrat, I will be more inconvenient to the people who need to be inconvenienced.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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