Concord Monitor Skips #FITN Endorsement

Three other N.H. papers have endorsed Sen. Amy Klobuchar's candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

By Steven Porter

Unlike other local newspapers in the state, the Concord Monitor won’t endorse a candidate in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation 2020 presidential primary.

The state’s capital paper has historically spent months interviewing candidates one at a time before agonizing over an endorsement decision, but the Monitor — working with a notably smaller staff this year than it had in past cycles — has revised its priorities, editor Steve Leone wrote in an editorial Sunday.

“This was not an easy decision, but it was one guided by what we see as our central mission in our communities,” Leone wrote. “In a world where opinions increasingly come from all directions, our value, we believe, is in providing our readers with local journalism rooted in solid reporting.”

“Our decision is indicative of the changes happening across our industry,” he added. “With fewer resources, we’ve had to make some hard choices, both in coverage and philosophy.”

Leone went on to explain how the Monitor has sought to keep readers informed about the candidates’ ground game, without as many staffers available to trace the campaign trail.

Others endorse Klobuchar

The Monitor’s non-endorsement comes as other notable Granite State newspapers have come out in favor of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination.

New Hampshire Union Leader: ‘Amy Klobuchar can win’ (Jan. 26):

Trump doesn’t want to face her. He is hoping for Bernie, Biden, Buttigieg or Warren. Each has weaknesses, whether of age, inexperience or a far-left agenda that thrills some liberals but is ripe for exploitation in a mainstream general election.

Sen. Klobuchar has none of those weaknesses and the incumbent needs to be presented a challenger who is not easily dismissed.

Keene Sentinel: ‘Amy Klobuchar is the Democrats' best choice to move the nation forward’ (Jan. 27):

The senior senator from Minnesota and former county attorney’s platform is not based on revolutionary ideas, but on achievable ones. Klobuchar is, in that way, a true moderate in these times. Whip-smart and knowledgeable, she’s set on progress, but tempered by the political realities a new president would face.

Seacoast Media Group: ‘Amy Klobuchar can unite America’ (Jan. 31):

We believe Klobuchar’s moderate positions will be attractive to right-leaning independents and disaffected Republicans looking for an alternative to President Donald Trump. This will be an advantage in the general election. America needs a healing voice with a willingness to take a bipartisan approach on major issues.

Despite winning the approval of these newspaper editorial boards, Klobuchar’s performance in the polls suggests a first-place finish in New Hampshire’s primary is unlikely. Klobuchar has consistently polled behind four others: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

NEWS: Lewandowski Balks at Senate Bid

Trump's former campaign manager said he won't challenge U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire in the 2020 election.

By Steven Porter

After publicly toying with the idea for months, Corey Lewandowski announced Tuesday that he won’t run for U.S. Senate, saying he must instead prioritize his family and President Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020.

Lewandowski, who served as Trump’s campaign manager in 2015 and part of 2016, claimed to be “certain” that he would have beaten Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who is seeking a third term. Democrats in the state had already begun to push back against Lewandowski’s potential bid, linking him to Trump and Gov. Chris Sununu, who are both up for reelection.

Republicans who have declared their candidacy thus far include retired brigadier general Donald Bolduc, retired Army Ranger and trial attorney Bryant "Corky" Messner, and former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, shortly after Lewandowski’s announcement, New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesperson Josh Marcus-Blank sought to portray any and all of Shaheen’s potential GOP challengers as roughly the same.

"Every Republican running for Senate in New Hampshire has stood proudly with Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump in their efforts to take away health care from tens of thousands of Granite Staters and reverse Roe vs. Wade," Marcus-Blank said.

"While Messner, Bolduc, and O'Brien tear each other down in the contentious primary Lewandowski has left behind, Senator Shaheen will continue working across the aisle for New Hampshire, leading efforts to lower prescription drug costs and making sure veterans and their families get the benefits they deserve."

N.H. Primary Formally Scheduled, as Campaigns in Full Swing

'We need a candidate that can electrify the fullness of our coalition in this race,' Sen. Cory Booker said, 'and if you can’t, you should get off the stage and make way for people that can.'

By Steven Porter

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner formally selected February 11 as the date for our first-in-the-nation 2020 presidential primary Monday afternoon, with a ceremony in his office to celebrate 100 years of the Granite State’s key electoral role.

The decision was “fairly easy” this time around, unlike “more tumultuous” years, when other states have threatened New Hampshire’s place in the primary lineup, Gardner said. He was joined by former state lawmaker Jim Splaine, D-Portsmouth, who authored the 1975 version of the law that requires our primary to be held at least seven days before any “similar election” elsewhere.

The announcement came after a busy weekend of on-the-ground campaigning throughout the state, as outlined in the nine updates below.

Days until the Iowa caucuses: 70

Days until the New Hampshire primary: 78

1. Bill Weld Charts His Path to Victory

PORTSMOUTH — Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who’s vying for the Republican presidential nomination, mingled Friday evening with about 50 supporters at the Gas Light’s third-floor night club during a laid-back meet and greet.

Weld recounted his proposal to fight climate change with a carbon tax, his support for LGBT rights, his opposition to the extreme anti-abortion laws states have passed recently, and his track record of governing side-by-side with Democrats in the Bay State.

Despite polls suggesting he’s on his way to an electoral trouncing in New Hampshire, Weld also outlined what he sees as a viable path to an electoral win. “We think we’ve got a good shot at this,” he said.

The key will be to win big on Super Tuesday, which is March 3, he said, noting that he expects to carry Massachusetts and Vermont and could win in Wisconsin and California as well, perhaps others.

“If we’re at three, four, or five states coming out of March 3, we’re going to be taken seriously going into the convention,” Weld said. “I’m not even mentioning or thinking about what might happen in Washington with all the maelstrom down there.”

That maelstrom is more commonly known as the impeachment proceedings against Weld’s opponent. Those proceedings could feasibly unearth hard facts that President Donald Trump and his boosters won’t be able to countervail, Weld told WMUR’s Adam Sexton.

If impeachment were to lead to Trump’s removal from office and Vice President Mike Pence were to ascend to the presidency after Super Tuesday, it would be too late for Pence to get his name onto the ballot in the remaining states’ Republican primaries, Weld told his supporters in Portsmouth.

“There’ll be only one guy on the ballot in those states, and that would be myself,” he said to applause.

“There’s a lot of stars in alignment for our progress here,” he added.

Zach Balomenos of Arundel, Maine, who left the Portsmouth event with a Weld 2020 yard sign, said he voted for Weld in 2016 and plans to do so again in 2020. When asked whether Weld’s purported path to victory is a likely scenario, Balomenos said, well, it’s plausible.

“As he said, if the stars align and the things happen that need to happen, especially in Washington with the impeachment inquiry right now, it’s plausible,” Balomenos said.

2. Candidate Touts Income Tax Reform

One of the other 16 candidates running in New Hampshire’s GOP presidential primary was in Portsmouth this weekend, too, touting a proposal that could resonate with income-tax-spurning Granite Staters.

Lawyer and philanthropist Matt Matern said one of his campaign’s main priorities is removing the federal income tax for households that earn less than $100,000 per year, as Alex Dowd reported for Seacoast Media Group.

3. Cory Booker: Dems Need Black Voters

PORTSMOUTH — During an appearance Friday night at Portsmouth Brewery, presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey emphasized a particular demographic as indispensable but often overlooked members of the Democratic base: black voters.

“The leader we need in the Democratic party is the one that can best awaken the energy, the excitement, and the enthusiasm of the full coalition,” Booker said. “I was happy to see people talk about minority voters because I watched what happened in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania last election. We lost those three states combined by 77,000 votes.”

Democrats lost those states because they failed to win the support of black voters, who showed up at the polls in record numbers in 2012 but not in 2016, Booker said.

“We need a candidate that can electrify the fullness of our coalition in this race, and if you can’t, you should get off the stage and make way for people that can,” he added.

The crowd of about 150 supporters cheered as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the brewery’s modest side dining room throughout the hour-long talk.

Booker’s comments come as South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has risen in early-state polling to become a top-tier candidate in the Democratic presidential race despite his apparent lack of support in black communities—but Booker refrained from calling out any Democrat by name.

“I am not going to try and claw my way to the nomination by tearing down my fellow Democrats because that ruins us as a party,” he said.

For more on how Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris of California have warned their white co-partisans about the dangers of neglecting black communities, be sure to read Russel Berman’s article last week in The Atlantic.

4. Tulsi Gabbard Cancels 4 Events

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii had been scheduled to attend four events Friday and Saturday: a house party in Jaffrey, a house party in Gilford, a meet and greet in Rochester, and a town hall in Concord, according to events listed on her website Thursday. But all four were either canceled or postponed. (The meet and greet in Rochester is now scheduled for this Wednesday evening.)

The decision to call off Gabbard’s Jaffrey appearance was made due to an illness, as Jake Lahut reported for The Keene Sentinel, citing a Facebook post by the campaign.

Gabbard’s campaign didn’t respond to Granite Memo’s questions about the cancellations.

5. Amy Klobuchar Talks Impeachment

During an appearance Friday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota seemed circumspect when discussing the impeaching proceedings but focused her criticism on President Trump, as Andrew Sylvia reported for the New Hampshire Union Leader:

“In the end, this is about a President who puts private interests before public interests,” Klobuchar said. “You can debate what they think should happen here, that’s okay, but you can’t take away from those people who testified, because every day they go to work regardless of who the President is and they go to work because they believe in our country.”

Klobuchar criticized what she views as unrealistic policy proposals from some of her fellow candidates, including proposals related to health care and higher education, as the Union Leader reported.

Despite her past reticence to let her campaign focus on her status as a woman, Klobuchar has been talking more directly about the intersection of gender and politics, as Sara Burnett reported for the Associated Press.

6. Bennet Likens Himself to John McCain

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado told WMUR’s Siobhan Lopez that he plans to win New Hampshire’s Democratic primary the way the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona won the Republican presidential primary in 2000.

“He was given up for dead. He was dead last in the polls, which I'm not, but he was, and he just put one foot in front of the other,” Bennet said.

Bennet was the top pick for no more than 1% of likely Democratic primary voters in four recent New Hampshire polls (Saint Anselm College, CBS News/YouGov, Quinnipiac, UNH).

7. Elizabeth Warren Has a Cold

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts carried on with her New Hampshire events over the weekend despite fighting off the symptoms of a cold, which she blamed on “one hug too many,” as Laura Crimaldi reported for The Boston Globe.

When asked about reports that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had made a TV ad buy worth more than $30 million, Warren expressed disapproval.

“I understand that rich people are going to have more shoes than the rest of us, they’re going to have more cars than the rest of us. They’re going to have more houses. But they don’t get a bigger share of democracy,” she said, as the Globe reported.

The exchange comes after the Globe’s Matt Stout characterized Bloomberg’s entry into the Democratic presidential race as potentially offering Warren a new foil.

8. Sanders Brings Along Justin Long

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont brought actor Justin Long with him to weekend campaign stops in New Hampshire, including a speech Sunday night at South Church in Portsmouth, as Karen Dandurant reported for Seacoast Media Group.

“When I see Bernie, I see someone who wants to right wrongs, wants to fight for us. I am honored to be here in the fight with him,” Long said.

Sanders used the speech to call for “a political revolution,” reciting a list of his proposals, including publicly funded elections, Medicare-for-All, a $15-per-hour minimum wage, tuition-free college, canceling student debt, immigration reform, and universal background checks for firearms purchases.

A planned appearance by Susan Sarandon was nixed after the actor slipped and broke her nose, suffering a concussion, according to a post on her Instagram account.

Don’t miss this Associated Press report by Hunter Woodall and Will Weissert on how New Hampshire’s primary could be the ultimate test of whether the popularity Sanders enjoyed in 2016 is still around.

9. Deval Patrick at Politics & Eggs

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who hopped into the Democratic primary just this month, spoke at a “Politics & Eggs” event Monday morning at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

Patrick took his time at the podium to talk about the crisis at the Mexican border, mental health, and what he would prioritize as president, as Karla Rendon-Alvarez reported for NBC Boston.

About 200 people attended the event, including many “members of the Massachusetts political class” who worked closely with Patrick during his gubernatorial tenure, as Stephanie Murray and Trent Spiner reported for Politico.

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8 Candidates Flock to N.H. After Dems' Fifth Debate

Consider this your weekend bird-dogging guide.

By Steven Porter

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg may as well have worn a target on his back during Wednesday night’s presidential primary debate, as polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire suggest he may be the front-runner in those early-voting states.

Among likely caucus-goers in Iowa, Buttigieg has a 9-point lead, according to a Des Moines Register poll released Saturday (margin of error: ±4.4 points). Among likely voters in New Hampshire’s primary, Buttigieg has a 10-point lead, according to a St. Anselm College poll released Tuesday (margin of sampling error: ±6.1 points).

In other recent polls, Buttigieg still ranks behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former Vice President Joe Biden in New Hampshire’s race (YouGov, Quinnipiac, UNH)—even so, it’s clear Buttigieg has surged into the top tier of candidates, inviting more scrutiny of his policy proposals, relatively thin resume, and lack of support among black voters.

Despite the implied invitation to attack Buttigieg, the other nine presidential candidates on stage with him Wednesday night largely restrained themselves. Perhaps they expect Buttigieg’s rising star to fade on its own.

Days until Iowa caucuses: 74

Days until New Hampshire primary: 81

Days until general election: 347

Debate Recaps & Takes Worth Your Time

James Pindell for The Boston Globe: Scorecard: Grading the debate performance of the Democratic candidates:

This debate was too muddled to have an obvious winner, but if there was one candidate who had a better debate than the others, it was Klobuchar. She entered the debate with some momentum after a strong October debate performance and she will likely build her momentum after this debate.

Elena Schneider, Christopher Cadelago, and Laura Barrón-López for Politico: Why Pete Buttigieg got a pass in the debate:

Several campaigns question whether Buttigieg really has staying power in those early state polls and are waiting to see whether he’ll fall back to earth on his own, without a push. “This is just Pete’s moment,” said Jeff Weaver, a Sanders adviser, “and we’ll see, we’ll see whether he stays up or goes down.”

Columnist Renée Graham for The Boston Globe: Candidates make sure debate isn’t a Buttigieg coronation:

Frankly, curbing Buttigieg’s spotlight was fine. His coded language is as grating as it is unmistakable when he says that the way to defeat President Trump is with someone “who actually comes from the kind of communities that [Trump’s] appealing to.” In his campaign, Buttigieg has often positioned himself as the conservative white people whisperer and, yes, folks of color have noticed.

Columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. for The Washington Post: A debate that actually covered the issues? This time, we don’t have to imagine:

This was the debate that sent a signal that Democrats differ far more with Trump and the Republicans than they do with each other. The question that came to mind after some of the harsh and more narrowly focused brawls earlier in the year was: How could this party possibly unite? The question that dominated on Wednesday was: Do these contenders really disagree all that much?

National affairs correspondent Joan Walsh for The Nation: What a Debate Run by Women Looks Like:

Wednesday night’s presidential debate was the best yet, and it wasn’t just because women—four moderators, plus four female candidates—outnumbered men on that stage. But that was part of it. […] This debate showed us what American political life would look like if women’s concerns were routinely at the center of the conversation.

Your Bird-Dogging Guide

At least seven Democratic presidential candidates will host in-person events Friday through Monday in the Granite State: Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The eighth candidate is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who’s hoping to beat incumbent President Donald Trump in the Republican primary.

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Here’s when and where to see the eight candidates (and possibly pin them down on the topic that matters most to you), in chronological order:

Friday, November 22

  • House party with Tulsi Gabbard at the home of Amanda Morrill in Jaffrey, 6:30-8 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Bill Weld at Gas Light Co. in Portsmouth, 6:30-8 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, 8:30-9:30 p.m. (RSVP)

Saturday, November 23

  • House party with Tulsi Gabbard at the home of Donnie and Alycia Harpell in Gilford, 10-11:30 a.m. (RSVP)

  • House party with Cory Booker at the home of state Rep. Rosemarie Rung in Merrimack, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Town hall with Bernie Sanders at Franklin High School in Franklin, 12 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Town hall with Amy Klobuchar at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Michael Bennet and Londonderry Democrats in Londonderry, 1-2 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at Tilton Brothers Brewing in Hampton, 2-3 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Town hall with Elizabeth Warren at Henry J. McLaughlin Middle School in Manchester, 2:45-5:45 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Town hall with Amy Klobuchar at Spark! Community Center Inc. in Lebanon, 3-4 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at Teatotaller in Somersworth, 4-5:30 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Tulsi Gabbard at the Castle on Charles in Rochester, 5:30-7 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker at the Governor’s Inn garage in Rochester, 6-7:30 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Town hall with Tulsi Gabbard at at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, 6:30-8 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Meet and greet with Cory Booker and New Hampshire Young Democrats at the To Share Brewing Company in Manchester, 8:30-9:30 p.m. (RSVP)

Sunday, November 24

  • Town hall with Bernie Sanders at the American Legion in Hillsboro, 1-2:30 p.m. (RSVP)

  • Rally with Bernie Sanders at South Church Unitarian Universalist Church in Portsmouth, 5-6:30 p.m. (RSVP)

Monday, November 25

  • Politics & Eggs event with Deval Patrick at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, 8-9:30 a.m. (RSVP)

  • Brunch with Bernie Sanders at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge in Salem, 12-1:30 p.m. (RSVP)

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#FITN: Ballot Locked, 85 Days to Go

Voters have less than three months to decide which of the 50 candidates they will select on New Hampshire's presidential primary ballot.

By Steven Porter

Fifty presidential candidates—33 Democrats and 17 Republicans—met Friday’s filing deadline to have their names printed on the ballot for our first-in-the-nation primary, which is less than three months away.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who is tasked with maintaining the Granite State’s principal position in the presidential selection process, told WMUR’s John DiStaso on Friday that he will likely schedule the vote for Feb. 11. Although he doesn’t see any other state threatening New Hampshire’s status this cycle, Gardner said he wants to remain cautious. A final decision will come by Thanksgiving, he said.

With the candidate list locked in and the primary expected in just 85 days, it’s go time for campaigns to flex their ground-game muscles. How they spend the next 12 weeks will influence who wins, who outperforms expectations, and who falls flat.

The Democratic Candidates

There are 33 candidates on the ballot in New Hampshire for the Democratic presidential nomination :

  • 4 are within striking distance of claiming the lead. Although a majority of likely Democratic voters say they have yet to decide with certainty which candidate they will select in New Hampshire’s primary, these candidates have been polling in the double-digits, well ahead of the pack (UNH, Quinnipiac):

    • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont,

    • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts,

    • former Vice President Joe Biden, and

    • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

  • 13 are contenders looking to outperform expectations. Demonstrating the viability of their campaigns is the definition of success in the Granite State for these candidates:

    • Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado,

    • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey,

    • Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana,

    • former HUD Secretary Julián Castro,

    • former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland,

    • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii,

    • Sen. Kamala Harris of California,

    • Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota,

    • former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts,

    • Admiral Joe Sestak,

    • businessman Tom Steyer,

    • author Marianne Williamson, and

    • businessman Andrew Yang.

  • 16 others also paid $1,000 for their names to appear on the ballot. That’s in addition to one candidate who withdrew the week after he filed. The full list of candidates is published on the Secretary of State’s website.

By the way, NHPR’s Dan Tuohy has a nice explainer on our primary’s relatively low barrier to entry.

Surprise: Patrick’s Late Entry

The big surprise on the Democratic side was former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to run. Despite organizational and financial obstacles, Patrick—who served two terms as Massachusetts’ first black governor—aims to disrupt the Democratic field, with a moderate message and his close ties to former President Barack Obama, as Hunter Woodall, Julie Pace, and Steve Peoples reported for the Associated Press.

Patrick offered subtle jabs at Warren and Sanders over their more liberal ideas when he filed his paperwork in person at Gardner’s office in Concord, but his campaign could be especially threatening to Biden and Buttigieg, who have been courting black voters, as Paul Steinhauser reported for the Concord Monitor.

Patrick has already demonstrated his ability to “win over white voters in an overwhelmingly white state,” said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell, according to an Associated Press report by Errin Haines. Patrick may be better positioned, Thornell added, than the other two viable black candidates (i.e., Booker and Harris) to gain momentum in New Hampshire ahead of the vote in South Carolina, where black voters represent a majority of the Democratic electorate.

Bypassing N.H. Entirely

There are two other noteworthy Democrats whose names won’t appear on New Hampshire’s ballot: Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar, Florida, and Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City.

Messam’s absence appears to confirm that his campaign is effectively over. His third-quarter fundraising totaled just $5, according to Federal Election Commission data released in October. A month earlier, a BuzzFeed News report said Messam’s campaign “appears to be in near-total disarray.”

Bloomberg’s absence seems to reflect a strategic move. He’s expected to bypass the first four states—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina—to focus instead on states with Super Tuesday primaries, on March 3, as Tal Axelrod reported for The Hill. Bloomberg’s name is already on the ballot in some of those states.

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The Republican Candidates

There are 17 candidates on the ballot in New Hampshire for the Republican presidential primary:

  • 1 has a nearly insurmountable lead: the incumbent. President Donald Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence to Concord to file the necessary paperwork. (Pence stood between New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro and former Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski, who is considering a bid for U.S. Senate, while he signed the documents in Gardner’s office.) An overwhelming majority, 86%, of likely voters in New Hampshire’s GOP primary say they would vote for the president, according to a UNH poll released last month.

  • 2 are mounting extreme long-shot challenges. They’re polling in the single digits, and a majority of Republican voters say they have made up their minds with certainty, leaving little room for underdogs like these two to gain ground:

    • former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts and

    • former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.

  • 14 others also paid $1,000 for their names to appear on the ballot: The full list of candidates is published on the Secretary of State’s website.

Surprise: Sanford Bows Out

The big surprise on the Republican side came from former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Like his fellow presidential candidates, Sanford spoke with the press when he traveled to Concord this month. Rather than cast an optimistic vision for his electoral odds, however, Sanford told reporters he was suspending his bid for the White House.

As he stood outside the statehouse, Sanford described his campaign as a "casualty of the impeachment process," as Grace Segers and Nicole Sgangas reported for CBS News.  Sanford had been hailed by some as perhaps Trump’s most viable challenger.

This Week’s #DemDebate

The fifth televised debate of this cycle’s Democratic primary will come Wednesday, when the 10 candidates who qualified are expected to take the stage 9-11 p.m. in Atlanta. The debate will air on MSNBC and will be co-hosted by The Washington Post.

The following candidates qualified for the debate, according to the Post: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren, Yang, Gabbard, and Steyer.

Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter listed the incorrect time for Wednesday night’s debate in Atlanta. The debate will air live 9-11 p.m. Eastern.

That’s all for this edition of Granite Memo. Thanks for reading. If someone forwarded this to you, be sure to subscribe (and thank them). I'll keep you up to date on #nhpolitics through our #fitn primary and beyond. —Steven

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