Political world turns eyes to New Hampshire
NASHUA, New Hampshire — New Hampshire is once again the epicenter of the political world — at least for the next five days.
The state that hosts the nation’s first presidential primary will hold its first can’t-miss event for the Republican field of 2016 presidential contenders — the First-in-the-Nation Republican Leadership Summit — on Friday and Saturday.
New Hampshire’s blend of Rockefeller Republicans and tea party faithful can make it tricky terrain for Republicans, who will play to a more socially conservative base in Iowa than they’ll find in the Granite State.
But the wide array of candidates — which range form libertarian-inclined Rand Paul, to brassy East Coaster Chris Christie to culturally conservative Scott Walker — have plans to test the waters, fanning out across the state over the weekend for additional speeches, meetings, fundraisers and meet-and-greets of their own.
And once they’ve left, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton will be in town.
A week after kicking off her presidential campaign and on the heels of a three-day swing through Iowa, Clinton will be in New Hampshire on Monday and Tuesday. She is scheduled for similarly small-scale events as her Iowa trip: roundtables with students, educators and business leaders, as well as private meetings with Democratic activists and officials, a campaign aide said.
Though Republicans can face challenges in New Hampshire, it’s a place that’s treated the Clintons well. Bill Clinton found his political resurrection in the Granite State during his 1992 campaign, and it’s where Hillary salvaged her cratering 2008 campaign as well. She eventually succumbed to eventual Democratic nominee Barack Obama, but not until after many more months of campaigning thanks in large part to her surprise win in the New England primary.
New Hampshire voters are proud — and protective — of their first-in-the-nation primary status. Iowa voters weigh in first, but they attend caucuses, rather than casting ballots like they would in a general election.
Though the primary date hasn’t been set yet, it will likely be in late January or early February 2016. From now until then, though, New Hampshire voters are sure to see plenty of 2016 candidates, particularly from the broad Republican field as the candidates jockey for momentum.
The entire GOP field — declared and undeclared candidates — gets their first taste of the “Live free or die” state at the First-in-the-Nation Republican Leadership Summit hosted by the New Hampshire Republican Party on Friday and Saturday in Nashua.
Candidates are scheduled to deliver speeches throughout both days. Leading up to and following the summit, presidential hopefuls have packed their schedules.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was on hand for town halls; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush scheduled several meetings with voters and the press; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will hold a meet-and-greet on Sunday.
By Eric Bradner