NH presidential primary was held on Tuesday,
February 1, 2000. Republican Summary: Total
238,606. McCain 115,606 (48.45%); Bush 72,330
(30.31%); Forbes 30,166 (12.64%); Keyes 15,179
(6.36%); Bauer 2,040 (0.69%); Others 3,285
by County >>
"Granite Staters are tough but fair with those who would be President. Toward the end of the race, when the temperature gets colder and the campaigning gets hotter, it takes dedication to survive. Here is democracy at its best, for it takes more than a big bankroll or name recognition to impress us." --Nackey LoebVisit Early and Often
New Hampshirites tend to get a little blasé about the presidential candidates who troop through their state. A cartoon by the Concord Monitor's Mike Marland captures some of this sentiment. The drawing shows an electronic clock and temperature indicator like one finds on the signs in front of some banks. However, in addition to the "Time" and "Temperature" settings, there is a third setting: "Presidential Candidate Visiting the State Today."
Presidential hopefuls visit New Hampshire early and often, sometimes starting within months of the last election. The pace quickens following the mid-term congressional elections. In the year before the primary, the odds are good that on any given day a presidential candidate will be in the state, or, if not, there will be news about a visit that occurred yesterday or will occur tomorrow.
New Hampshire's first in the nation presidential primary has assumed such importance not because of the number of delegates at stake (for example Puerto Rico sends more than twice as many delegates to the Democratic National Convention as does New Hampshire), but because it, along with Iowa, is the "starting block" in the presidential nominating process. A better than expected showing in New Hampshire can boost a candidacy; a poor showing can effectively end a candidacy.
Retail politics means making the rounds at Lincoln Day or Jefferson-Jackson dinners, delivering speeches to Rotary Clubs and party groups, and speaking with New Hampshirites in cafes, in school auditoriums and in their homes. It means attending numerous candidate forums. It means walking down Main Street, throwing an axe at a county fair or riding a dog sled or tapping a maple tree. Visit by visit, in beautiful fall New England days and in mucky snow storms, the candidates woo voters from Coos to the sea.
They must also work to gain support of activists and elected officials who are critical to building an organization [2/99 report]. There are many elected officials for candidates to choose from; the House of Representatives alone has 400 members, making it the largest of any state in the nation. As the year progresses, candidates open up state headquarters [6/99]. The first television ads will likely appear in summer. In the fall and winter various candidate forums will be held and there will be a few debates. One or more of the candidates may not be able to generate enough support and end up pulling out of the race before the primary. In the closing weeks of the primary busloads of young supporters from around the country come in to help their favored candidates, and the media attention ratchets up. Finally, in mid-February, on primary day 2000, with the eyes of the nation upon them, somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000 New Hampshirites will turn out at the polls, and by their votes determine which candidates will go on, and which will not.
Delaware law directly contradicts the seven-day provision in New Hampshire law: "…a presidential primary election for all political parties shall be conducted on the Saturday next following the day on which the state of New Hampshire elects to conduct a presidential primary election (Title 15, Chapter 31 § 3181).
Another concern is that the proliferation of media may be getting between the candidates and voters. Concord Monitor editor Mike Pride notes of the big media that, "They're getting here sooner and sooner, so if somebody, a candidate, shows up… there's forty cameras around." Also unclear is how the frontloading of the primary calendar will affect New Hampshire; will it make a strong showing in the state even more important or will it weaken the primary as candidates have to focus on other states.
NH.com-- NH Primary Information Center
Foster's Daily Democrat--Campaign 2000
Concord Monitor--Primary Monitor
New Hampshire Public Radio--New Hampshire Presidential Primary
The Union Leader--New Hampshire Primary.com
WMUR-TV 9 (ABC)--Campaign 2000
Links to New Hampshire Dailies (Gebbie Press)
Interest Group Activity
Registered Voters (Nov. 1999): Rep. 265,679 (35.98%), Dem. 197,816 (26.79%), Undeclared 274,927 (37.23%)--Total 738,422.
Population by County (July 1998): Hillsborough 363,031 Rockingham 271,152 Merrimack 127,381, Strafford 108,650, Grafton 78,277, Cheshire 71,828, Belknap 52,481, Sullivan 40,027, Carroll 39,346, Coos 32,875.
Largest Cities (1998): Manchester (105,221), Nashua (83,209), Concord (38,180), Derry (32,183), Rochester (27,800), Salem (27,525), Dover (26,685), Merrimack (23,899), Keene (23,090), Portsmouth (23,100). >
Total Area: 9,304 square miles, includes 1,300 lakes and ponds. (7th smallest state).
10 counties, 13
municipalities, 223 towns and 22 unincorporated
Labor Force and Unemployment
(October 1999): (Seasonally adjusted) Civilian labor
force 660,660; unemployment rate 2.5% (653,900
employed, 16,760 unemployed). most
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; NH Office of State Planning; NH Employment Security; NH State Government Web Site.