Jim Bragg, who calls himself Mitt Romney's "button-guy" is downstairs selling Romney campaign buttons, stickers, and blue and pink warm winter hats. Bragg was selling buttons at the Romney camp in Iowa during the caucus, but says the New Hampshire supporters tonight are much more enthusiastic. "This is a madhouse here," he says.
Supporters of front-runner Mitt Romney are gathering downstairs in the dining hall at Southern New Hampshire University. All the action will take place upstairs, but it won't be another 30 to 40 minutes before they start admitting the general public. A group of young staffers say they're very optimistic about Mitt's chances of placing first.
Polls will be closing soon here in Manchester. Outside of the Gingrich Camp, NH House Representative Laurie Pettengill (R, Carroll 1) is hoping to sway a few more voters over to Newt Gingrich. After volunteering for Romney four years ago, the first-term Representative is attracted to Newt's ideas for balancing the budget. "The conservative party is important to me," she says. "He's the right mix that we need."
In the hours before the polls close - and national reporters have nothing to do except bide their time before their live shots - there was some real buzz at the Santorum HQ. Literally. The audio system from the podium was plagued by a buzz. Any audio engineer will tell you such a gremlin is caused by a crossed wire, a short inside a line, or the impedance on a sound line being switched the wrong way. The problem is chasing it down among an army of radio and TV news crews.
NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin is on hand tonight to provide insight and analysis. You can follow him on Twitter at @KenRudin, and let us know your questions for him on our NHPR Facebook page, or @NHPR on Twitter.
The University of New Hampshire poll shows Mitt Romney at 44 percent support, up five points from two weeks ago. Texas congressman Ron Paul stands at 20 percent. UNH survey center director Andy Smith says the race for now – at least -- is for third.
“But because NH voters make up their minds very late that could easily be for second, should Ron Paul slip up and or should some of the support for the non-Paul and non Romney candidate go to Santorum or Gingrich or Huntsman.”
It’s game on in the Granite State. Every four years, the TV trucks pull in, guys in suits and sunglasses show up in your local breakfast joint, and the opinions of New Hampshire citizens are momentarily considered to be of national importance. It’s the first in the nation primary time!
We've heard several takes on the downward slide of retail politicking in New Hampshire…now, to other trending topics in the 2012 campaign…joining us with his take on New Hampshire's role in the political process is Bill Curry.He’s a long-time political analyst and NPR commentator who was a close advisor to Bill Clinton during his presidency .
For those who revel in political swag and campaign catering, the New Hampshire primary is a perfect opportunity to socialize with like-minded supporters and bathe in the glow of national media. But for many others, politics are a private affair – that is until you receive a pre-recorded via the home phone - usually, right around dinner time.
Bookies take bets on winners and losers. Political junkies follow the news, budgets and campaign strategies to determine the odds. Astrologers follow the candidates destinies as mapped out in the heavens. The Nashua Patch asked astrologer Dorothy Morgan to consult the stars for clues to the outcome of the New Hamsphire primary.
The primary trail is busy again, with Iowa in the rearview mirror and just days before Granite Staters cast their votes.
NHPR's Josh Rogers shares the latest from the trail with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson, including what Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are doing as they hope to build on the results of the Iowa caucuses.