President Joe Biden will be the only candidate on multiple state primary ballots for the upcoming 2024 presidential election after state Democratic parties worked to undermine his challengers.
Biden will be the only Democratic candidate on the ballot in three states, such as North Carolina, where the State Board of Elections certified Biden as the only candidate on the ballot on Dec. 19 for the state’s primary election on March 5. The board’s decision came at the request of the state’s party and followed a separate decision by Florida’s Democratic Party to only submit Biden’s name for the state primary on March 19.
The Democratic presidential primary election in North Carolina in 2020 featured over a dozen candidates. Florida’s Democratic primary that year was also competitive, though was contested only by three candidates — Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.
“We are disappointed that the North Carolina Board of Elections abdicated their authority to protect North Carolina voters from the North Carolina Democratic State Party’s attempt to circumvent democracy,” candidate Marianne Williamson wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday. Her frustration was echoed by Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who accused the party of hypocrisy over its claims to democracy.
“Democrats suppressing competition, suppressing voters, and suppressing debate. In America,” Phillips, another candidate, wrote on Twitter. “Coronating an unelectable candidate and disenfranchising voters enables the erosion of democracy itself.”
Apart from North Carolina and Florida, Tennessee is the only other state Democratic primary in which Biden is the sole candidate. Phillips had filed to run in the state’s primary, but was not certified due to his failure to meet the signature requirement, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office.
Other states appear to be holding competitive Democratic primaries that do not exclude Biden’s challengers. Williamson and Phillips have been certified on the primary ballots in South Carolina, Michigan, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia and Georgia.
Some primaries will only feature a few candidates, such as Nevada, where only Biden and Williamson will appear after Phillips missed the state’s filing deadline. Williamson will not be on the primary ballots in Alabama and Maine, while Biden will not be on the primary ballot in New Hampshire, having withdrawn from the election after the state disobeyed the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) decision to reschedule the primary calendar.
The DNC’s overt support for Biden as the incumbent president and its decision to not hold any primary debates has prompted at least one presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., to withdraw from the Democratic primary and run as an independent candidate.
Biden has sought to emphasize the defense of democracy as a core theme of his candidacy, contrasting himself with former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“I’ve made the preservation of American democracy the central issue of my presidency. I believe in free and fair elections, and the right to vote fairly and have your vote counted,” Biden said in a recent television advertisement released by his campaign.
The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.