First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary
By Hugh Gregg
Hugh, Gregg. "New Hampshire’s First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary", State of New Hampshire Manual for the General Court, (Department of State) No.55, 1997.
Effect of Party Rules on Presidential Primaries
Regardless of when the legislatures of the individual states decide to hold their presidential primaries, the candidates they select are still subject to the rules of their respective parties. The Democratic National Committee has a rule which prohibits the holding of any Democratic presidential primary, except New Hampshire’s, prior to the first Tuesday of March. The penalty for any state moving its primary before March would be that any Democratic delegates so elected would not be seated at the Democratic National Convention. The Republican Party has no similar rule.
Democratic National Chairman Don Fowler, supporting New Hampshire’s first-in-the nation primary, said, "It’s retail politics. It gives average people an opportunity to meet and judge the candidates on a personal basis. In a sense the people of New Hampshire are surrogates for the rest of the country."
It is only as a result of this Democratic rule that the other states continue to recognize Hampshire’s tradition of being the earliest to hold its primary.