Why Does New Hampshire Get to Hold the First Primary?

Ethan Trex

© Rick Friedman/Corbis

Because the state wants it that way!

New Hampshire's primaries have informally been the earliest since 1920, but over the years, the state has passed laws to ensure that its primaries will remain the first in the nation.

In fact, New Hampshire's officials are bound by state law to hold the primary "on the Tuesday at least seven days immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election."

Why is the Granite State so desperate to stay at the front of the primary line? Because of the money at stake. Constantly mounting campaign expenses, including advertising, hotel rooms, and press coverage, can pump upwards of $250 million into the state's economy each election cycle.

What about Iowa, you ask? Iowa has caucuses, not primaries.

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