Another Diss of N.H. Primary, This Time From a Top Democrat

Oct 13, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid might want to steer clear of New Hampshire this fall foliage season.
Credit Via Flickr/Center for American Progress / https://flic.kr/p/8znzKY

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid just made a whole lot of New Hampshire enemies. It didn't take much. He simply insulted the First in the Nation Primary.

 Speaking at a panel hosted by the Washington Post Monday, Reid said New Hampshire (and Iowa, as well) should be stripped of the top spot in the nominating calendar for failing to represent the rest of the country.

"You go to New Hampshire, there are not any minorities there, and nobody lives there," Reid said. "It's a place that does not demonstrate what America is all about, for a number of reasons.

"I don't mean to denigrate New Hampshire or Iowa but they shouldn't be the ones choosing who's going to be president."

Cue outraged Granite Staters.

"Senator Reid’s disparaging comments about New Hampshire are as insulting as they are wrong, and an apology would certainly be appropriate." That was Gov. Maggie Hassan, who's looking to join the ranks of the Senate Democrats Reid now presides over.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the state's other top Democrat, also said Reid should apologize, but attributed his anti-New Hampshire tirade to ignorance, not malice.

"I think he doesn’t understand and the New Hampshire primary and why it is so important to the presidential selection process," Shaheen told reporters. "And clearly he hasn’t been to New Hampshire." 

To be fair, Reid was an equal-opportunity offender, dissing Iowa as well for its small, homogenous electorate. But for members of New Hampshire's political class, keenly sensitive to any insults to the state's role, remarks like Reid's aren't to be taken lightly.

This dust-up comes just two weeks after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he thinks other states should get a chance to host the nation's first presidential primary contests. Priebus's remarks were met with similar umbrage from New Hampshire's top political brass.

Let's just hope neither Reid nor Priebus decide to make a last minute leaf-peeping tour to the state this fall. They'll only find shade.