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N.H. Secretary of State Bill Gardner (center) announces the date of the state’s 2020 presidential primary on Monday. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONCORD — New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner, on Nov. 25, set the date for New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation 2020 Presidential Primary, which will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020.

Gardner was joined by former Rep. Jim Splaine of Portsmouth, the son of a former governor and relatives of New Hampshire lawmakers who helped establish and safeguard New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation status through the years.

They included:

Sybil Dupuis, the great-granddaughter of Rep. Stephen Bullock of Richmond. Rep. Bullock authored the original legislation in 1913 to create the Primary, to be held on the third Tuesday in May 1916.

Elizabeth Hamlin Carter, great-granddaughter of state Rep. John G.M. Glessner of Bethlehem, who amended Bullock’s legislation in 1915 to change the date from May to Town Meeting Election Day in March, for voter convenience and to avoid having the town conduct an extra election.

Former House Speaker Richard Upton’s son, William Upton. Richard Upton produced legislation in 1949 to include the names of presidential candidates on the ballot as a separate preference poll, in addition to the listing of party delegates. This represented the first time voters could vote for candidates, not just delegates, on the ballot.

Cyrus Gregg, son of former Gov. Hugh Gregg. In addition, to being an author, historian and advisor to presidential candidates and their campaigns for over 50 years, Gov. Gregg was a tireless promoter of New Hampshire and a staunch defender of its First-in-the-Nation Primary.

Splaine, a former New Hampshire state representative and senator, who wrote the 1975 legislation ensuring the date of the New Hampshire Primary could be set up to seven days prior to March Election Day, ensuring its First-in-the-Nation status.

Perry Smith, nephew of Rep. Natalie Flanagan of Atkinson. Flanagan, who served for 30 years in the New Hampshire House, sponsored legislation during her time as chair of the House Elections Committee to provide critical flexibility for the Secretary of State in setting the primary date to maintain the state’s First-in-the-Nation tradition.

After introducing each guest, Gardner had them sign a poster, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first time the New Hampshire primary became first in the nation on March 14, 1920, after Indiana, which had previously been first, dropped its primary altogether, and Minnesota changed to a later date.

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