2016 Backstage

NHPR's ongoing series that takes you behind the scenes to the places and people who make New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary tick.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For the past two weeks, presidential candidates have been handing in the paperwork needed to qualify for the New Hampshire primary ballot. In doing so, they also come face to face with Secretary of State Bill Gardner, whose office oversees the election. He's also the man most responsible for ensuring that New Hampshire has retained its first-in-the-nation status when it comes to the presidential primary calendar.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

Huge rallies with thousands of supporters. Ad buys that try to reach millions of voters. Those are the hallmarks of modern presidential campaigns.

But there’s a good chance the next president will have also spent some time getting to know voters one on one in much smaller settings – like Rich Ashooh's living room.

UNH Communication and Public Affairs

Every four years, as interest in New Hampshire’s presidential primary rises, two UNH political scientists find their services in high demand. Now, the professors are preparing to offer their insights to the general public through a new online course.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

Many of the candidates for president this year have made an unusual detour from the campaign trail: strolling the sidewalks of a quiet North Manchester neighborhood with the city's mayor.

But it’s actually a longstanding tradition in New Hampshire primary politics. Presidential candidates hope to benefit from their associations with local officials – and the locals stand to gain, too.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

If you’ve got an issue -- a single issue -- you want to bring to the nation’s attention, there’s no better place to be right now than New Hampshire.  

The state's position as host of the first presidential primary gives enterprising advocates a chance to seize the attention of would-be White House occupants. But the issues now jockeying for position seem to be proliferating, and advocates' tactics often undercut the image of New Hampshire as a bastion of spontaneous encounters between candidates and ordinary voters.

Brady Carlson for NHPR

Robie's Country Store in Hooksett has become an almost ritual stop on the New Hampshire presidential primary campaign trail — one of those places where anyone who is running is pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance. The business isn't what it once was, but presidential hopefuls keep showing up.

The store has stood on the bank of the Merrimack River, between Concord and Manchester, since 1887. When the candidates get there, most know what's expected.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Throughout the 2016 presidential season, NHPR is bringing you profiles of the people and places behind the scenes of the New Hampshire Primary. In our latest installment, we catch up with Jim Cole, the Associated Press photographer who has covered every New Hampshire presidential primary since 1980. 

Courtesy photo/Rich Pizzuti

Campaign rallies and town hall meetings featuring a presidential primary candidate have been a near daily occurrence in the Granite State over the past few months.

Behind the scenes, running these events and the planning that goes into them is no easy task.

Chris Malloy of Chris Malloy Events has been busy this primary season. He’s planned and run campaign events for Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Throughout the 2016 presidential season, NHPR will bring you profiles of the people and places behind the scenes of the New Hampshire Primary. We start with Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop, an iconic campaign stop in Portsmouth for candidates looking to meet voters - and maybe sample a lobster roll.