Occasional Reports, Notes and Commentaries on the Road to the White House
in New Hampshire
Eric M. Appleman
Report Feb. 18, 1999
Nationally, conventional wisdom says that Vice President Gore and the as-yet-undeclared Texas Gov. George W. Bush are the frontrunners, although Elizabeth Dole has also been attracting notice lately. Will a year of retail politics change things?
Here is how the candidates and prospective candidates looked one year out, "at the starting line."
Republicans: Open Field
The New Hampshire Republican presidential primary could be a wide open affair. Among those most active in the pre-campaign period were Lamar Alexander and Steve Forbes, along with Dan Quayle. One big prize will be the support of Sen. Judd Gregg, who swept to an easy re-election win in 1998.
Democrats: Gore in the Driver's Seat
New Hampshire residents have more than a decade's experience with Al Gore, dating back to his 1988 presidential campaign. As Vice President, Gore has visited the state several times a year, often bringing with him federal dollars. Thus far, Gore’s only challenge is from former Sen. Bill Bradley. Jesse Jackson and Sen. John Kerry may enter the race.
Republicans: Open Field
Former Gov. Lamar Alexander.
Alexander, who announced his exploratory committee on January 8,
to have the best organization in the state. He hopes to build on his
in the 1996 Republican primary, when he finished third behind Buchanan
and Dole, with 22.6% of the vote (47,148 votes). "He had a pretty good
organization last time out, and most of it is intact," NH GOP chair
Duprey said. Alexander's PAC, the Campaign for a New American Century,
had a second floor office on North Main Street in Concord, manned by
Buckley, who did field organizing for Bill Zeliff's unsuccessful 1996
for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Buckley says Alexander has
"retained well over 90-percent of the people who were with us last
Of 80 state representatives who backed Alexander in 1996, 56 are still
serving, and Buckley counts them as still in Alexander's camp.
put on a convincing display of organizational muscle in Rye on August
1998 when his second New Hampshire Republican lobster bake drew about
people. The Eagle-Tribune of Haverhill, MA described it as
biggest Republican campaign event ever in the state." Alexander's We
Parents political action committee ran some television advertising in
Hampshire in the latter part of August and early September 1998.
made at least ten visits to the Granite State in 1997-98. He has the
of RNC national committeeman Tom Rath, former Executive Councilor Bill
Cahill and District Five Executive Councilor Bernie Streeter.
Gary Bauer. Bauer's
for Working Families opened an office in New Hampshire on August 3,
chaired by Ellen Kolb, former president of NH Right to Life; Karen
helped CWF-NH as a consultant. Campaign for Working Families was active
in the 1998 elections. For the September 8 primary, CWF spent about
in support of nine State Senate candidates and 21 House candidates; in
late October CWF made a $60,000 independent expenditure for radio and
in support of gubernatorial candidate Jay Lucas. Bauer himself made
a dozen visits to the state in 1997-98. He has a strong appeal to the
Coalition and right-to-life constituencies, however these groups have
less clout in New Hampshire than in Iowa. Bauer can be expected to
former Buchanan supporters if, as appears likely, Buchanan does not
the race. (Bauer established his exploratory committee February 1).
Pat Buchanan. In
made only one visit to the state, on April 16, 1998 to promote his book
Great Betrayal. A Buchanan campaign appears unlikely. Nationally,
a few of Buchanan's advisors have signed on with other prospects; here
in New Hampshire, Peter Robbio, who managed the state campaign for
in 1996, has gone over to Forbes. After two campaigns, enthusiasm for
may have waned. Of course, Buchanan did finish first in the 1996 GOP
and there are still many loyal Buchanan supporters. The Buchanan
in some form, could be re-activated if he were to make a third bid.
Gov. George W. Bush.
Bush has not been to New Hampshire in over three years (he attended the
Republican Governors Association meeting in Nashua, Nov. 19-21, 1995),
NH GOP chair Steve Duprey says there are "a great number of Bush
in the state. Bush has made "a lot of friends" campaigning during his
campaigns. "He would have a strong following," Duprey said. Among those
who might play prominent roles in a Bush campaign is RNC national
Ruth L. Griffin of Portsmouth.
Elizabeth Dole. Dole
in New Hampshire many times campaigning for her husband and has
impressed many of the activists she has met on those visits."There are
a committed group of Dole-ites from '96 standing at the ready," GOP
chair Steve Duprey said. "She would be a serious candidate and a good
Duprey said. In November 1998 some activists here began conversations
the idea of a Dole candidacy. Toni Pappas of Manchester, a former state
representative and 1996 congressional candidate, has emerged as the
leader of the draft Elizabeth Dole movement. Attorney Alec Koromilas of
Dover has been another prominent Dole booster. Dole's January 4
that she was resigning from the American Red Cross prompted a lot of
which her February 8 speech to the Greater Manchester Chamber of
did little to dampen. NH GOP assistant chair Barbara Russell, who was
in Bob Dole's 1996 campaign, is officially neutral.
Steve Forbes. In the
Hampshire Republican primary, Forbes finished a disappointing fourth
12.2% of the vote (25,505 votes). In the years since then, he has built
a strong organization in New Hampshire through Americans for Hope,
and Opportunity, his national issue advocacy organization. AHGO-NH
are Patty Humphrey (of Chichester, wife of former Senator Gordon
Wally Stickney (Salem), and Bob Winn (Rye). As of February 1999,
had a mailing list of about 8,500 names. Paul Young, Forbes' point
in New Hampshire, is highly regarded. Peter Robbio, who ran Pat
1996 campaign in New Hampshire, has been on Forbes' team for some
AHGO-NH has run a few limited radio and television ad campaigns in the
state. For example, on Jan. 7-10, 1999 it ran a four-day, $30,000
ad campaign on WMUR-TV; the ad focused on Forbes' mainstay policy
flat tax, health care, education, and Social Security. In addition,
paid for two, live half-hour TV call-in shows on WMUR-TV. "NH Speaks
Steve Forbes" aired on April 21 and on September 16, 1998. In 1997-98
made ten trips to New Hampshire, totaling 13 days. One of his bigger
was a Memorial Day picnic, May 30, 1998 at Mt. Sunapee State Park with
Cheshire and Sullivan County Republican committees (Patty Humphrey
that, unlike Lamar Alexander, they did not hand out free lobsters). As
is the case nationally, Forbes has reached out to social conservatives
in New Hampshire. On February 6, 1999 he was one of three likely
to appear at the NH Christian Coalition’s "First in the Nation Primary
Gala Celebration;" he hosted a breakfast the next morning. Paul Young
that Forbes is best positioned to rebuild the Reagan coalition. Forbes
seems to have left open the possibility that he might compete in a
primary that would infringe on the 7-day window protecting the New
first status, and this might hurt him among some voters.
Rep. John Kasich.
close with both New Hampshire congressmen, Reps. Bass and Sununu, who
with him on the Budget Committee. He made five visits to the state in
but did not appear to have made much progress toward building an
On Jan. 28, 1999, Kasich 2000, the exploratory committee, announced
of Bruce Berke as New Hampshire advisor. Berke, president of Capitol
of New Hampshire, served as campaign manager for Charlie Bass in 1994,
and chaired Bass' 1996 re-election campaign. He has extensive
on New Hampshire primary campaigns: Baker '80, Reagan '84, Dole '88,
'92, and Dole '96.
Alan Keyes. John A.
an attorney and former state representative from North Hampton, is
most prominent supporter in New Hampshire. Keyes made three brief
to New Hampshire in 1997-98; he has been focusing more attention on
where his strong pro-life message resonates with social conservatives.
In the 1996 New Hampshire Republican primary, Keyes finished sixth with
2.7% of the vote (5,572 votes), however Keyes supporters note they have
been building a strong nationwide network and that the Clinton scandals
may heighten the effectiveness of his moral message.
Sen. John McCain.
Warren Rudman is co-chairman of McCain's exploratory committee. In
McCain made four brief visits to the state. While conventional wisdom
that McCain's high-profile stands on tobacco and campaign finance
have hurt him among Republican activists, he could well strike a spark
with independent-minded New Hampshire voters. McCain has a lot of
work to do, but the just-announced (Feb. 17) appointment of Mike
a former executive director of the NH State Republican Committee, as
England political director of his exploratory committee, should get him
Former Vice President Dan Quayle.
Like Alexander and Forbes, Quayle has built a strong organization in
Hampshire. In June 1998, he named Ovid Lamontagne, the 1996 Republican
gubernatorial nominee, as New Hampshire chair of his political action
Campaign America. Lamontagne, in the words of one Republican activist,
is "a worker, not a figurehead" who "has a dedicated, loyal group of
Another heavyweight supporter is former Gov. John Sununu, who has
Quayle on some of his visits. Manchester lawyer Marc Chretien served as
Campaign America's New Hampshire Field Director from May-October 1998;
although Chretien took a job in Washington, Campaign America and now
exploratory committee run out of a space in his offices. Brian
who was field director for Lamontagne's 1996 campaign and ran
Mayor Wieczorek's successful re-election campaign, started with
America in May 1998 and has been the day-to-day point person for
America and the exploratory committee. On a February 11 visit Quayle
launched his New Hampshire campaign, naming Sununu national
Lamontagne NH state chairman and Gordon MacDonald, a former top aide to
Sen. Gordon Humphrey, state director. Campaign America has shown itself
to be smart politically; in August 1998 it contracted with veteran
operatives Dave Carney and James McKay to run State Senate campaigns
the November election, earning the gratitude of the New Hampshire
State Committee. Dan Quayle and Marilyn Quayle made nine visits to New
Hampshire in 1998 (Dan four and Marilyn five).
Sen. Bob Smith.
a strong showing in his home state will ignite his long-shot candidacy.
Smith’s national field person, Ed Corrigan, is from Merrimack, New
The plainspoken New Hamsphire Senator may be able to attract some
Buchanan supporters. However, he will not be able to count on favorite
son support, as, for example, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) did in the 1992
caucuses. In 1996 Smith was re-elected to the Senate by a very narrow
(49%-46%). Jeff Woodburn, outgoing chair of the New Hampshire
Party, has vowed to pay $100 to the first GOP official to endorse Smith
in his presidential bid. Although Smith has launched an innovative
Stock in America’s Future" program, there are serious questions about
he will be able to raise sufficient money. The Union Leader and
the Concord Monitor have both editorialized against Smith’s run
Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
ventured into New Hampshire once, on October 19, 1998, and did a number
of events including an appearance at Dartmouth College in Hanover and a
speech at the Nashua Federated Republican Women's Club annual dinner.
his positions in support of such issues as abortion rights, national
control laws, and homosexual rights, Giuliani would have a strong
to moderate Republicans, but he has not taken any steps to build an
and is thought to be likely to run for U.S. Senate.
Jack Kemp. Kemp,
the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee, made a visit to New
on March 27, 1998, when he spoke at the Strafford County Lincoln Day
in Rochester. He may have a few lingering supporters from his 1988
Kemp had opted out of running for president in 1996 because he didn’t
the stomach for the fundraising; there is no reason to believe he will
run this time around.
Gov. George Pataki. Following
his successful 1998 re-election campaign, Pataki has markedly stepped
his political travels. He is scheduled to deliver the keynote address
the Manchester GOP Lincoln Day dinner on March 18.
Sen. Fred Thompson. Thompson
made on trip to New Hampshire, on Oct. 20-21, 1998. On Oct. 20, he
to a class and delivered a public lecture at Daniel Webster College in
Nashua; the next morning he did a breakfast with area CEOs.
Vice President Al Gore. He alone can arrive on Air Force Two. He has the vice presidential seal affixed to the podium before, he delivers a speech. He is sure to receive media coverage. He has a huge edge on fundraising. Vice President Gore is clearly the man to beat.
Gore visited New Hampshire twice in 1997 and four times in 1998. On a typical trip he flew in on Air Force Two and was in the state for eleven or twelve hours doing events before flying out. On these visits Gore has been able to highlight some of his trademark issues, such as the environment (for example in a July 1998 visit to the banks of the Oyster River in Durham, Gore spoke on the Clean Water Action Plan and announced a $1.6 million federal grant to help clean up pollution in the Great Bay) and technology. His itinerary often includes an appearance at a school or college; tech firms are also common venues.
President Clinton recently visited New Hampshire to mark the seventh anniversary of his second place finish in the 1992 primary. As heir to the "Comeback Kid," Al Gore has a hard act to follow. He is decidedly less glib than Clinton in his public appearances. A favored approach has been for the Vice President to "lead a discussion" on a favored subject such as teaching workers 21st century job skills, lifelong learning or a patient’s bill of rights. The format is kind of a town meeting on its head; it looks like a town meeting but Gore asks members of the audience to relate their experiences, rather than the audience posing questions to him. The tack also loses some of its effectiveness because of the cue cards Gore routinely refers to.
Gore may need to improve his style, but he has been very methodical at wooing key Democratic constituencies. On a typical Gore trip, in addition to the public appearances, there will also be a closed door meeting or two with twenty five or thirty people, during which there are more freewheeling exchanges. Joe Keefe, a former state party chair and congressional candidate, has been a point person for Gore in New Hampshire.
Gore appears not to have
by the Clinton scandals, and the strong New Hampshire economy should,
it continues, protect him from a protest vote like the one Pat Buchanan
delivered to President Bush in 1992.
Former Sen. Bill Bradley. Bradley
made his first campaign trip to New Hampshire as a presidential
on January 25-27. On February 11, he released a list of over a hundred
New Hampshire supporters or "citizen leaders," adding to list of about
two dozen released in January. Bradley has not previously spent a lot
time in the state; he made one New Hampshire trip in 1997-98, a Sept.
1998 visit during which he campaigned for several candidates.
and 1995, Jesse Jackson left open the possibility he might run for
a third time before eventually ruling out a bid. He has been making
sounds this time, and one wonders if the outcome will be any different.
There is one difference this time, however: Jackson’s son, Congressman
Jesse Jackson Jr., wants him to run. The Clinton administration has not
ignored Jackson Sr. In August 1998, Rev. Jackson ministered to Clinton
at the White House prior to the president’s grand jury appearance and
statement. Clinton has spoken at both of Rainbow Push’s Wall Street
forums (January 1998 and 1999) and in October 1997 he appointed Jackson
Special Envoy for the promotion of democracy in Africa. In December
Gore appeared on Jackson’s program "Both Sides" for a discussion that
largely on the impeachment of President Clinton. To be sure there are
Jackson has condemned the Democratic Leadership Council/New Democrat
while Gore is supportive of it. The bottom line is that Jackson remains
faithful to the Democratic party. Clinton’s wish is for Gore to succeed
him; would Jackson do anything to impede that wish?
Sen. John Kerry. Sen.
has been considering a run with an eye toward promoting his ideas on
reform. He has not ventured into the Granite State much, although the
that he is from neighboring Massachusetts might help a bit.
Copyright 1999 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.