Dear Commissioner,


Throughout the Commission’s meetings and hearings, there have been two critical concerns about the current nominating calendar: frontloading and diversity.


Addressing these two challenges is critical to our party, our future nominees and our ability to motivate our supporters and attract additional voters. All of us want to resolve these concerns with an approach that will utilize our resources and build on our strengths to achieve electoral success in 2008 and beyond.


Throughout the life of this Commission, New Hampshire has been an engaged, cooperative partner in the effort to improve the primary system. We have embraced efforts to move diverse states to the front of the calendar.


However, we have become alarmed at recent press reports about the possible direction this Commission may take in drafting its final report. We are concerned that the problem of frontloading could be exacerbated – making the process narrower and less democratic – with devastating consequences for the swing states of Iowa and New Hampshire.


Any primary calendar that leads off with new caucuses at the font of the calendar and before the New Hampshire primary would explode the very problem of frontloading. It will result in decreased input from regular people and grassroots activists. There could also be serious future political damage to the Democratic Party in New Hampshire – which has a newly-elected Democratic governor and was the only state to turn from red to blue in 2004.


There is a better alternative – a compromise that adds diversity and decreases frontloading. At the October 1 Commission meeting, New Hampshire offered a compromise proposal that was distributed as a scenario outline to Commissioners at the meeting (a complete version of the proposal is attached). This proposal would add early diversity and decrease frontloading by scheduling one or two new contests in a prominent position at the front of the presidential nominating calendar, between the New Hampshire primary and the beginning of the period open to any state.  It also calls for extending the calendar backward – to give all states more influence in the nominating process and help our Party nominate a candidate who has been thoroughly tested by voters across the nation.


The proposals being discussed in the press have the dangerous potential of making any problems with the Party’s nominating calendar worse, just to move other states early. We appreciate your consideration of the attached alternative proposal and look forward to discussing it in more detail with you.




Kathy Sullivan

NH Democratic Party Chair