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Updated On: Monday, 22 April 2019

US Presidential Candidates Woo New Hampshire Voters

Content by: Voice of America

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE —

For many across the country, the 2020 presidential campaign is still a distant thought, even while 18 Democrats have signaled their candidacy.

But in New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation primary, residents say they’re excited to participate in what they call their state sport: politics.

“It’s not early to be campaigning,” Danny Arnold, a Dover, New Hampshire, resident, said while waiting for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to speak at a local coffee shop.

“I want to hear all the candidates before I make any decisions on who I’m going to vote for,” he added.

Never too early

And given the large field vying for the nomination to unseat President Donald Trump, neither New Hampshire residents nor the candidates think it’s ever too early to begin campaigning in the key state. In fact, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, the first Democrat to declare his candidacy, began visiting New Hampshire in 2017.

During the past weekend, three 2020 hopefuls — Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, held town halls, meet and greets, and house parties across the state. Because New Hampshire holds the first primary in U.S. presidential elections, voters here play a unique role in helping to shape the course of presidential elections.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is one of several Democrats vying for the nomination to unseat President Donald Trump.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is one of several Democrats vying for the nomination to unseat President Donald Trump.

And that role is not a responsibility voters take lightly.

“I really think people take that responsibility very seriously to try and make sure they’re as well-informed as possible and make the right decision,” said Seth Facey, a high school student in Amherst who will be voting in a presidential election for the first time next fall.

Dozens of New Hampshire residents devoted their entire Saturdays to attending multiple events — as many as three in one day — to try to hear and form opinions on every candidate who comes to speak.

The high level of political activity in April 2019, roughly 10 months before the New Hampshire primary, is only unusual because of the large number of candidates running to be the Democratic nominee, according to Neil Levesque, a political scientist at St. Anselm College.

“What it is, is that we have so many candidates so early,” Levesque told VOA. “So, there is a tremendous amount of activity. New Hampshire voters are enjoying it. They’re going out. And like you said, on any given weekend, you can see that their schedules (are) for three or four or five candidates in New Hampshire.”

Who's leading now?

While analysts say it is far too soon to declare a front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are leading the pack in the early going, with each capturing roughly a quarter of the vote, according to RealClear Politics averages of recent polls. Senators Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas are also attracting interest, according to polling.

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