Showing posts with label candidate visits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label candidate visits. Show all posts

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Nationalization of the Presidential Nomination Process and Candidate Visits

Over the weekend, FHQ scoffed at a line in Jonathan Martin's New York Times story on the cavalcade of Democratic presidential hopefuls heading to the California Democratic Convention to speak. And although Super Tuesday remains on the same first Tuesday in March date that it was three years ago (and four years before that), Martin raises some interesting points about the nationalization of the presidential nomination process that are worth considering.

But also worth considering is the fact that this Golden state gathering was, at best, weak evidence of that nationalization phenomenon. Martin takes it as fact that since the two dozen Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination have already visited 33 states and territories that the race has, voila!, nationalized. It certainly appears that way. Yet, there remain several lingering questions/points.

The first is that map included in the story -- the one with the dots -- indicated the number of candidates who have visited the various states and not the number of visits candidates have made to those states. That depiction, while noteworthy on some level, is misleading. It makes a state like California look like it is much closer to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina than it actually is. California is closer to the carve-out states in the number of candidates, but not really in the collective number of visits by the candidates.

That is consistent with the pattern of visits during the 2008 cycle, the last competitive Democratic presidential nomination cycle with a sizable number of quality (and qualified) candidates. California notched the fifth most visits during that cycle, behind (in order) Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. All four had earlier (and in some cases non-compliant) dates on the 2008 presidential primary calendar than did the California primary scheduled on Super Tuesday.  The Golden state was well behind Iowa and New Hampshire in the number of visits that it got from candidates of both parties and less behind both South Carolina and Florida. Still, big, delegate-rich, and Super Tuesday California managed the fifth most visits.

And that comparison to 2008 is important because it highlights another shortcoming in Martin's piece. If 14 Democratic candidates trekking to San Francisco on the same weekend to speak before the state party convention is evidence of the nomination process nationalizing, then it is evidence of that trend compared to what? Martin drops this line:
This weekend was no aberration: Democratic presidential contenders have already combined to visit more than 30 states and territories for public events, far more than in any past nominating contest when candidates would spend the vast majority of their time in Iowa and New Hampshire.
But does not really back it up.

The easiest, albeit apples to oranges (to some degree), comparison is to the 2016 Republican process. The parties are different, but some of the conditions are the same. There was a large field of Republicans vying for the GOP nomination in 2015-16. There also was a minimally altered primary calendar of events over which the nomination race would be contested.

That 2016 Republican race, too, drew similar reactions. But instead of California, candidates, their campaigns, other political actors and the press talked about the SEC primary and how it was disrupting the regular rhythms of the nomination process. But the pattern witnessed then was that while there were visits to SEC primary and other states throughout 2015, as actual voting neared attention shifted toward the early states. In other words, the pattern normalized, still weighted -- and fairly heavily -- toward the early states.

One thing that the SEC primary of 2016 and the California primary of 2020 share is a certain branding. And not just branding, but a concerted and early effort to draw attention to the contests. Then Georgia secretary of state, Brian Kemp (R) was talking up the possibility of an SEC primary as early as February 2014, and thereafter there was a fairly constant drumbeat not only about the possibility, but of the formation of and coordination behind that regional contest for Super Tuesday 2016. Kemp and other southern secretaries of state pushed the idea and pushed it hard by hammering home the idea that the South was where the most loyal Republicans in the country are and that the path the nomination went through those voters. Campaigns took notice.

Similarly, California made an early splash in the 2020 presidential cycle by beginning the process of shifting the more-often-than-not June primary up to March. The argument in an April 2017 press release on the bill was the following:
“A state as populous and diverse as California should not be an afterthought. Moving up the California primary in 2020 makes sense and will give California voters a more significant role. By holding our primary earlier, we will ensure that issues important to Californians are prioritized by presidential candidates from all political parties,” said Secretary Padilla. 
“California is the largest, most diverse state in the nation with one of the largest economies in the world,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “Yet Californians’ voices are silenced when it comes to choosing presidential nominees. California is leading the nation on clean air, criminal justice reform, and expanding healthcare for all, and moving up our presidential primary will ensure our state’s voters are heard in the national debate.”
Now, there has been a lot of ink spilled over the potential impact of the California primary move. Much has focused on the structural impact: the shift of so many delegates to an earlier point on the calendar, the impact of early voting, among others. But almost all also mention the diversity that California (and for that matter other Super Tuesday states) bring to a process that includes not only a diverse Democratic primary electorate, but a diverse field of candidates. Again, candidates have, as they did four years ago with the SEC primary, taken notice.

But does that represent a nationalization of the process or evidence of a nationalization of the process? One way to approach this is to reject the null hypothesis; that candidates appearing in states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina is not because of a nationalization of the process.

And FHQ would argue there are at least two factors standing in the way of us rejecting the null in this case. They are two factors that I raised back in 2015 in the context of similar lines of argument about the SEC primary. Candidates are not going to states other than the four carve-outs because of some nationalization process. No, instead, they are heading to California and Puerto Rico and West Virginia and other states because...
  1. It's the field [size], stupid. More candidates means more potential overall visits. More candidates also means that if everyone is heading to Iowa, then perhaps no one is heading to Iowa. In other words, the value of an Iowa visit is less if one are venturing around the Hawkeye state with 23 other candidates than if one is competing there with five other candidates. Candidates have to stand out and if they are all going to Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, then them may be less likely to stand out. And standing out is something that these 24 Democratic candidates have to do. 
  2. Calendar certainty. Another related factor is that the calendar formation for the 2020 cycle has been not only orderly but slow compared to past cycles in this century. It is a lot easier as a candidate and/or campaign to make a decision to go to California if that campaign has a fairly good idea about where it fits in the calculus of winning the nomination. California's position on the calendar is no more nor less known now than it was in the lead up to 2008, for example. But 2019 does not feature the sort of rules defiance that 2007 saw. There is no Florida. There is no Michigan to disrupt the early calendar as was the case in 2007. That left campaigns at that time with a dilemma. They could only plan ahead so far when the beginning portions of the calendar remained in flux as the Florida and Michigan issue was unresolved. All that was known to campaigns at the time was that Iowa and New Hampshire would be first. All subsequent contests were obscured by the uncertainty. Contrast that with 2019. The carve-out states indeed have February carved out. And a delegate bonanza hits just after on Super Tuesday in early March. Other states may yet join Super Tuesday -- but that is unlikely at this point -- but the basic outline of the calendar has been preserved. A slow on-ramp through February toward Super Tuesday. That certainty helps campaigns plan and plan ahead for the next steps in the sequence.
To be fair to Martin, he is absolutely right that cable news (nothing new) and online tools (especially social media) help to if not nationalize then uniformize the coverage of presidential campaigns. But whether that has a nationalizing effect on the process itself is a trickier question to answer. It creates more national appeals from campaigns or attempts to go viral, but that is hardly evidence that the "stranglehold on the time, money and attention of the White House aspirants in the year leading up to the primaries" that Iowa and New Hampshire has been broken. It is probably a bit premature to come to that conclusion. If anything, the expectation should be that attention will ramp up in the earliest states beginning in the fall. They are, after all, the first voting moves in the sequence. But if there is a break in that pattern -- a reversion to carve-out state-focused campaigning as fall works its way to winter, then we may have some evidence of a break in that stranglehold.

As it stands, it is still pretty good to be first. And campaign visits data will continue to reflect that.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

South Carolina Democrats Are Not Getting Snubbed

Democrats in the Palmetto state may feel like they are getting snubbed by the candidates vying for the party's presidential nomination, but they aren't.

The National Journal's Adam Wollner digs into some of the theories floating around South Carolina -- Clinton has a big lead in the polling conducted in the state mainly -- to explain the deficit. Collectively, however, they fall short of providing the context necessary to understand what is happening in the first in the South primary state.

Apples to Oranges comparisons
Comparing the state of play in the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination race to the 2016 Republican process or the 2008 Democratic battle is imperfect. Partly that is a function of the varying levels of competition in those respective nomination races, but another contributing factor is that there just are not as many candidates fighting for the 2016 Democratic nomination as there were in the 2008 race or are in the 2016 Republican primary. More candidates yield more visits. And that trend is enhanced when there is also a comparatively higher level of competition among a larger group of candidates.

Context and Iowa
One way to shoot down the perception that South Carolina is getting snubbed and to highlight the above point is to compare the attention South Carolina receives from the candidates to that which Iowa receives (within cycles). In other words, compared to Iowa, what is the share of attention -- candidate visits -- South Carolina is receiving?

During the competitive 2004 Democratic primary race -- one that was both contested and had more candidates involved than is the case in 2016 -- South Carolina had 183 visits (see Ridout and Rottinghaus 2008). Iowa was visited by the Democratic candidates 860 times. South Carolina, then, had approximately one-fifth the number of visits that Iowa did in 2004. Four years later, South Carolina had 143 Democratic visits as compared to 1214 to Iowa (see Putnam 2009). In 2008, South Carolina had roughly 10% of the visits that Iowa received.

In 2016?

As Wollner points out, so far this year, Iowa has had the Democratic candidates come calling 91 times. South Carolina has only had the candidates on the ground campaigning for just 19 days. That is a ratio that is comparable to the one South Carolina visit for every five in Iowa witnessed in the 2004 cycle.

Looking at the just the raw numbers, visits are down for both (and across the board for all states for that matter). But, again, that is a function of the number of candidates involved in the race and how competitive it is.

There is one other factor that feeds into the perception of being snubbed in the Palmetto state. Democrats there and elsewhere have not seen a competitive primary race since 2008. None of them really like the prospect of sitting on the sidelines in 2016. In South Carolina, Democratic activists and voters see Bernie Sanders doing quite well in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire and that that has not translated down South. Again, those folks do not want to be on the sidelines for four or eight more years awaiting a competitive presidential nomination race. They want a piece of the action that Iowa and New Hampshire are getting.

But the thing is, neither the Hawkeye state nor the Granite state are really getting the attention either. There just are not enough candidates involved nor is the race competitive enough (see polling, endorsements and fundraising).

It also bears mentioning that of all the carve-out states, South Carolina is the least competitive in the general election phase of the presidential election process. If the Clinton campaign has one eye on the general election, then that May also push her to Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada more. That does not appear to be the case at this point, however.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Is the SEC Primary Working?

Southern politicians keep saying and the press keeps reporting that the "SEC primary is working".

That statement tends to oversimplify the dynamics at play in this instance though. Is the SEC primary working? Well, it depends on how you define "working". Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R)(and others, mind you) seem to be defining it as presidential candidates being drawn into the states participating in the effort to cluster southern presidential primaries on March 1.

But are those states drawing in more candidates/visits than was the case four years ago (or if they maintained the same positions on the calendar they had four years ago)? FHQ has touched on this before, but it bears repeating given that this same line keeps coming back up regarding the regional primary scheduled for next March. The simple answer is yes. Southern states are witnessing more candidate stops than was the case four years ago.

However, there are several explanations to the more interesting "why" question that are too readily being glossed over by the "SEC primary is working" crowd.1

1) The importance of being early.
All things held equal, any state would rather be on March 1 than June 1. Holding an earlier primary or caucus may not have a direct impact on the course of the two presidential nomination races, but one would rather weigh in before the field has been winnowed too drastically or a nominee has been identified. It was this sort of thinking that prompted the frontloading of presidential primaries and caucuses in the first place.

But if you look at the group of states participating in the SEC primary at this time only Arkansas and Texas are scheduled more than a week earlier in 2016 than they were in 2012. There may be more visits that have been paid to southern states during the 2016 cycle, but it is not solely because any member of the collective or the group of them is much earlier than in 2012.

2) One for all and all for one.
Well, perhaps it is the forming of the coalition that provides the largest impetus for increased candidate attention. Again, though, on this mark, things are not all that divergent from the 2012 baseline. Texas reverting to the first Tuesday in March date that state law there calls for is a big factor.2 But the clustering does not seem to be having a direct impact on visits.

Instead, the SEC primary grouping may have succeeded most in claiming that spot on the calendar and warding off any would-be copycats from duplicating the strategy also on March 1. The impact of any cluster of states -- or any individual state for that matter -- is contingent upon the competition it has on that date. In 1988, southern states were similarly able to crowd onto an early March date without any competition or at least any competition that offered a similar cache of delegates.

Like 1988, southern primaries have no real threat to their position on March 1, 2016. Sure, there are other states with contests on March 1, but they are neither as regional cohesive nor do they offer the number of delegates that the SEC primary does.

It should be said that the South serving as the heart of the Republican Party does not hurt the effort. A northeastern primary on March 1 would not, for example, be able to compete with a southern regional primary effectively. There might be some draw there, but most would still visit the South.

3) Calendar certainty.
At this point four years ago, Florida had yet to set a date for its presidential primary. Arizona had just threatened to move into January. With those and other states unsettled, the candidates had no idea where exactly Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina would end up.

...only that they would be first. States that followed the rules on timing and otherwise would have been on the heels of the carve-out state contests paid the price for actions outside of their borders.

Campaigns behaved accordingly. If one knows the carve-out states will be first and that the snow globe that is the next step is still being shaken, then one -- the campaigns in this case -- will focus on what they know versus what they don't. That uncertainty likely meant fewer candidate visits to states that ultimately fell into position on the calendar (but only after Florida, Arizona and others did).

The 2016 calendar is much more settled now. Campaigns have an ability during this cycle to plan ahead -- visit states deeper into the calendar -- than they did not and could not possess four years ago. And they have the luxury of doing so much earlier in the process. States as far down the calendar as March 15 have reaped the benefits, but the states in the SEC primary coalition have been big winners because of the calendar certainty. The early cluster helped too.

4) It's the field, stupid.
Finally, it should not go without saying that the size of the field of candidates should be factored into this as well. After all, more candidates yield more visits. That is a big reason why there are more visits to the South by those vying for the presidential nominations next year.

Is the SEC primary working? If the measure of that is visits to the states in the coalition, then yes. But why that is happening may be a more interesting question.

1 It should be noted that these folks have every reason to give off the impression that the regional primary is working. They have an incentive to say that more candidates are coming. It tends to bring others in.

2 An unresolved redistricting process led to the courts forcing a later (May) Texas primary in 2012.

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Some Musings on the 2016 Presidential Primary Calendar

A few thoughts on the 2016 presidential primary calendar and its impact at the end of May 2015:

1. For all the talk of frontloading around here, there have been but two states that have (actively) moved earlier on the 2016 presidential primary calendar: neighbors, Arkansas and Louisiana. The Natural state presidential primary shifted up 12 weeks from late May to the first Tuesday in March this past week. Just south in the Pelican state, the presidential primary was bumped up two weeks in 2014. There are two additional states -- New York and Texas -- that had later primary dates in 2012 than each currently does on the 2016 calendar. The New York move from February to April in 2011 expired at the end of 2012, returning the presidential primary in the Empire state to February. In Texas, the 2012 redistricting court battle forced the primary back to the end of May. But the Lone Star state primary reverted to the first Tuesday in March date called for in state law for 2016 (with redistricting settled).

2. Alabama is very likely to join that group and a handful of other southern states on March 1; the date of the proposed SEC primary.

3. Most states that have moved or are in the process of potentially moving are shifting back to later dates on the calendar. The vast majority of that movement has been cleaning up the the February remainders that were left during and after 2012. That group includes the 2012 rogue states, Arizona, Florida and Michigan, as well as a handful of non-binding caucus/primary states, Minnesota and Missouri.1 All of those states now have positions on the 2016 calendar in March.

4. The month of March has gotten it from the other end as well. The Texas reversion, the Arkansas move, and likely the North Carolina move together mean that three states will hold primaries and around 250 [Republican] delegates will be allocated in March rather than May. Similarly, those February-then-March-now states mentioned above translate to approximately 300 delegates being allocated in March 2016 rather than February 2012. If you want to quantify the calendar compression that the Republican National Committee wanted/wants for the 2016 cycle, then the shift of those 550 delegates from earlier and later points on the 2012 calendar captures it well.

5. FHQ spoke with Alex Jaffe at CNN earlier this week and she asked a question about candidate/campaign behavior; specifically their visits to states other than Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Why are candidates appearing at Georgia Republican state conventions? Why are they in Tennessee? What's the allure of Michigan? There are three reasons FHQ would highlight:
  • More candidates running or likely running for the Republican presidential nomination means a larger potential total population of visits. This is a minor point, but a part of the story nonetheless.

  • Uncertainty/certainty 2012. The 2012 race for the Republican nomination was marked by calendar uncertainty and relative candidate certainty. It was pretty clear throughout 2011 that the Republican race would operate by a Romney/not Romney dynamic. But while that worked itself out in the polling on the race, the calendar formation dragged on into the fall of 2011. Candidates knew the carve-out states would go first and that Florida would likely be right on the heels of those contests2, but where they would end up on the calendar and how/where other states might slot in behind them added enough uncertainty to decision-making within campaigns. That lack of calendar clarity, it could be argued, forced the candidates to focus on the earliest states on the calendar. [Breaking that Romney/not-Romney dynamic early was also a contributing factor (for those potential not-Romneys).] 

  • Certainty/uncertainty 2016: Fast forward to 2015-16 and the positioning of the candidates is if not less clear, then it is more jumbled relative to 2012. But the calendar? The primary calendar is as clear as an unmuddied lake compared to the 2012 calendar at this same point in 2011. That has a significant impact on campaign decision-making. If a candidate or his/her campaign is aware of the likely shape of the primary calendar, they can more efficiently if not effectively allocate their resources (campaign spending and candidate visits). A crowded field and calendar certainty leads to candidates attempting to carve out some niche -- some state -- where they can claim victory and stay alive. But again, this is activity in 2015. Once the calendar (year) switches from 2015 to 2016 and especially once votes are cast in those carve-out states, the winnowing of the field will hit or already have hit overdrive. That does not make travel to later states unnecessary or wishful thinking on the part of candidates and their campaigns. Rather it is more properly viewed as insurance should a candidate claim one of the two or three viable slots heading into March (or deeper into March).
A couple of additional points:

6. FHQ will propose a hypothesis: As calendar year 2016 (or perhaps the Iowa caucus) approaches, visits to non-carve-out states will decrease. Certainty -- with both the calendar and candidate positioning -- will increase and the campaigns will focus more and more on those earliest states. That is not to suggest the focus will exclusively be on those first four states, but it will shift toward them.

7. Interestingly, there seems to be a cut-off on the calendar: March 15. That seems to be a line of demarcation. Yes, that is the point on the calendar where the proportionality window closes, but candidates and their campaigns are not spending much time if any in states with contests after March 15. That is telling. First, it means that there is a limit to just how forward thinking the campaigns are willing to be. Secondly, however, that is a bit of an indirect indication that that is a point on the calendar where the candidates and their campaign braintrusts are hedging their bets and assuming the race will be concluded (or that the presumptive winner of the nomination will have emerged).

The process is not there yet, but the 2016 presidential primary calendar is a lot further along in 2015 than it was in 2011.

1 Though Missouri held a February presidential primary in 2012, the Missouri Republican Party chose to tether its delegate selection/allocation to a rules-compliant caucus/convention system that began in mid-March.

2 The Florida primary actually preceded the Nevada Republican caucuses in 2012.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The SEC Primary Has Nothing to Do with Georgia Being More Prominent in 2016

FHQ has found Adam Wollner's reporting at the National Journal this cycle enlightening. He and I have had a handful of conversations about the primary calendar and specific maneuverings by states, and I have cited him a time or two. But Wollner lost me yesterday right in the lede of his story on Georgia's newfound position of prominence in the race for the 2016 Republican nomination.

Basically, this is a story about candidates coming to Georgia. That is fine, but the hypotheses advanced as to why the early visits are occurring fell short in FHQ's estimation. Let's explore.
Hypothesis #1: Georgia has received more visits during the 2016 cycle because of its new position on the calendar. 
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp may or may not in 2015 formally declare the date of the Georgia presidential primary as he did by law in a press conference in late September 2011. He has not yet in any event. But as Secretary Kemp is spearheading the effort to form an SEC primary coalition on March 1 and has repeatedly discussed that date, we can assume that a very strong signal has been sent as to when the Georgia presidential primary will fall in 2016.1

Even if we assume that Georgia conducts a primary on March 1, that is not a new position for the state on the primary calendar. It would be the same first Tuesday in March date on which the Georgia primary occurred in 2012. I'm having flashbacks to grad school here, but if you have a variable (calendar position) that does not vary, then you do not have anything that can explain the changes in the dependent variable (candidate visits).

Calendar positioning is not driving any increase in candidate visits then. What else?
Hypothesis #2: The SEC primary that Georgia political actors have pushed has led to more candidate visits during the 2016 presidential nomination cycle. 
This SEC primary concept is a tough one to measure. The task is even tougher in view of the fact none of the states named in the original proposal have yet moved to March 1. Tennessee was already there by state law (changed in 2011). All signs point toward Georgia being there when the calendar dust settles. Louisiana declined to participate. In Alabama, there is bipartisan support for moving their primary up a week, but it is still in the legislative process. Arkansas and Mississippi failed to pass legislation that would have moved their primaries to March 1, but Arkansas may have a second go at it.

Perhaps the strong signal that Georgia is giving about holding a March 1 primary is what is driving this (at least relative to the other states). Perhaps, but that does not really have all that much to do with the SEC primary.

FHQ is not convinced that that is the reason why more candidates are visiting Georgia though. There are at least two other better alternate explanations.
  1. Other than Texas, Georgia is the most delegate-rich state likely to hold a primary or caucuses on March 1. The perception is that this is going to be a long, drawn-out Republican nomination race (FHQ is skeptical that that will be the case.). That, in turn, means the delegate count will again take on added importance. In that situation, candidates go where the delegates are or will be. Georgia is a place where there will be delegates at stake. 
  2. Speaking of Texas, something the Lone Star state has or will have in 2016 is something that Georgia had in 2012: a favorite son running for the presidential nomination. FHQ could not believe that Newt Gingrich was only mentioned in passing in Wollner's piece. If one wants to explain why Georgia might be getting more candidate attention in 2016 than it did in 2012, then a favorite son being involved in the previous cycle might be something at which to look. It tends to have a reducing effect on the number of visits from other candidates. That is especially true in the event that said state shares a primary date with a number of other contests. This was true for Illinois in 2008. Arkansas also lost in 2008 because it shared its February 5 primary date with twenty plus other states and Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee were on the ballot. 
But there's no Newt on the ballot in 2016 and no other Georgians either. There are or will be a number of Texans running though. And that may force candidates to keep their options open, looking at other delegate-rich states instead.


Before I close let's look for a moment at the lefthand side of this equation, the dependent variable. FHQ would urge a high level of caution in reading much into the number of candidate visits a state -- any state -- receives. Particularly, I would hesitate in comparing those raw numbers across cycles. It is dangerous and potentially misleading. Let's look at Georgia and the visits that have been paid to the Peach state in the time since the 2000 primaries.
Georgia primary visits:
2000: 2
2004: 32
2008: 38
2012: 47 
This makes it look like Georgia has seen a rise in candidate visits over time, and that even accounts for the fact that only one party had an active nomination in both 2004 and 2012. The key questions to ask are 1) was the nomination race still competitive when Georgia held its presidential primary and 2) how many states shared that date with the Peach state? The answer to #1 is yes across the board in all of those cycles. Georgia was still worth visiting, then. As for #2, that is likely what is driving this relationship; a greater number of visits. Georgia has had to share its primary date with a varying number of states over time.
Number of states to share primary date with Georgia:
2000: 16
2004: 9
2008: 23
2012: 10
Those numbers do not really make that point clear. There seem to be more concurrent contests when both parties have active nominations. That means a couple of things. First, Georgia is not always the top dog, uh, dawg, in terms of delegate-richness when it shares its presidential primary date with a large number of states (typically, though not always, on the earliest date allowed by the national party delegate selection rules). Often among those states are the likes of California, New York and Ohio; all more attractive, delegate-rich states. Georgia was the most delegate-rich state on March 6 four years ago.

But second, and perhaps more important, when both parties have active nominations that tends to mean more candidates who can provide more visits. And that is definitely true for 2016. There may only be a handful of Democrats seeking the party's nomination, but there are truckload of Republicans who are running. More candidates equals more potential visits to an early, delegate-rich state. This is a super important footnote for anyone who decides to look into candidate visits in the coming months and attempts to draw anything from the aggregated numbers.

Look at Georgia. It received about a 25% increase in visits in 2012 (versus 2008) despite only the Republicans having a competitive nomination race, a favorite son on the ballot and an uncertain calendar (that did not become certain until November 20112). Why? Georgia's primary was early-ish and was the most delegate-rich contest on its date.

1 No, FHQ does not have that date listed for Georgia on the 2016 presidential primary calendar and will not until there is a formal announcement. That said, I will leave what I said above stand. It is pretty clear that Georgia will end up on March 1 next year and that an announcement will, I would guess, probably happen sooner than the end of September this year. There just is not as much chaos to the formation of the 2016 calendar as there was four years ago.

2 That uncertainty matters less in the comparison of 2012 to 2008. 2008 had just as much calendar uncertainty. However, with the calendar far clearer for 2016, that allows the candidates to better map out visits to states they know will be early, but after the carve-out states.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Little and the Iowa Caucuses

It is bothersome that the same stories keep getting rehashed and continually have to be shot down. Several of these revolve around Mitt Romney, Iowa or some combination of the two. Though Mitt Romney has not returned to Iowa (or South Carolina), the stories of the former Massachusetts governor skipping the Hawkeye state have largely and thankfully died down. [FHQ doesn't know whether to attribute that to the reality of Romney's campaign strategy -- less emphasis on Iowa -- having set in with the press or what.] But various sources, now including New Hampshire Republican Fergus Cullen, keep returning to the Iowa-isn't-important well, assuming that it runs deep when the reality is that it is close to dry.

First of all, the fact that the nominal frontrunner is not making regular visits to Iowa certainly gives the impression that the 2012 Republican caucuses in the Hawkeye state are less meaningful. The other candidates, however, aren't behaving as if Iowa is anything other than one of the first states in the presidential nomination process. [I'll focus on candidate visits here, but this concept could also be operationalized as money spent in the state thus far, staff hired and/or money contributed to the campaigns of 2010 candidates running for office in the state(s).] FHQ has looked at the visits data already and there is little to no evidence there that Iowa's role is shrinking.

Does the state have a smaller percentage of candidate visits than in 2008?

Is that being driven by Romney staying away from the Hawkeye state to this point?
Yes, partially.

Are the other candidates, prospective or otherwise, following suit?
No, not really.

Can the rest of the shift in the percentage of candidate visits from 2008 to 2012 be explained by regular cycle to cycle variation?
More than likely, yes.

Let's take a look. Democratic candidates in 2004 split their time pretty evenly between Iowa and New Hampshire. Out of 1660 combined candidate visits to both states only 60 visits separated the two (with Iowa having more.).1 In 2008 the story was different. Obama's increasing viability throughout the invisible primary, coupled with visits by the then-Illinois senator and Edwards' near-permanent presence in the state forced frontrunner Hillary Clinton to have a substantial presence in Iowa as well. Visits and poll position have a way of triggering increased activity from your opponents.

Of course, the point is well taken that these are data for Democrats, and there isn't an equivalent progressive movement within the Iowa Democratic Party that is pushing less "pure" candidates away in the way it has been hypothesized with Romney (and/or other candidates) and Iowa's GOP. Iowa did have a fairly healthy advantage over New Hampshire in terms of the number of visits from Republicans in 2008. No, the discrepancy between Iowa and New Hampshire wasn't as great among Republicans as it was among Democrats, but there were over 200 more visits to Iowa than New Hampshire. But that wasn't the case in 2000, the last competitive Republican nomination race, when most of the Republicans ceded the Hawkeye state to George W. Bush. The focus instead was on New Hampshire which got more attention relative to Iowa. The point here is that there are great number of factors involved in determining how much attention one of these first two states receives and it varies from cycle to cycle.

Is there something to the argument that a rightward shift among the Iowa GOP caucusgoers is forcing anything resembling a revisitation of strategy from the campaigns' perspectives?
Yeah, there's probably something to it, but its impact is being grossly overstated in typically very narrow examinations of the circumstances. And the fact that the nominal frontrunner is the one who isn't showing up -- especially to the level he did in his prior run -- it exacerbates the the perception that Iowa will take a backseat. The take home message is that we shouldn't look at Iowa in 2012 in a vacuum. There is a much broader picture here beyond "Iowa Republicans are lurching to the right and the state is suffering as a result".


Now, having set up the proper context through which the Iowa attention situation should be viewed, there is some evidence that Iowa is dropping off. It all depends on the window of time (in which visits occur) is used. According to the Politico 2012 Live Candidate Tracker Iowa has had 182 [prospective] candidate visits since the day after the 2008 election -- the point at which the 2012 invisible primary started. Over that same period of time, New Hampshire had 127 visits. That particular time period is going to contain visits that were made on behalf of candidates running for state and congressional office and Iowa's size and number of competitive districts would have to be accounted for as well. Even then, it wasn't as if New Hampshire was not competitive in 2010 in terms of congressional or state legislative races. But for the sake of this examination, let's close that window to include visits since the day after the 2010 elections. Over that period, Iowa had 79 visits to New Hampshire's 82; a near even distribution of total candidate visits. Since the first of the year that gap is only slightly wider: Iowa has had 68 visits and New Hampshire 78.

New Hampshire, then, has had a greater number of recent visits, but the sky is hardly falling on Republicans in Iowa. Again, the composition of the state party may be a contributing factor to the discrepancy, but it is only one of many and would have a less significant impact than the usual cycle to cycle variation that we normally observe. Plus, once Romney sets foot in the state, a lot of these stories will disappear (or be re-spun as "Romney isn't paying as much attention to Iowa this time" stories).


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Are we done writing the eulogy for the Iowa Caucuses?

First Mitt Romney was going to skip Iowa and now there is a potential epidemic of prospective presidential candidate absences from the Hawkeye state? I'm glad the Iowa Republican Party came along and shot this one down tonight. Sure, the numbers cited (via Politico 2012 Live's fabulous candidate tracker) in that tweet are inflated with Obama visits and visits to surrounding areas that don't technically count as visits to Iowa (or any of the other four earliest states). Once you back those superfluous visits out the count looks like this (percentage of total visits to those four states in parentheses):
Iowa: 118 (41%)
New Hampshire: 82 (28%)
South Carolina: 73 (25%)
Nevada: 15 (5%)
The point is still the same: Iowa has the most visits of the four early primary/caucus states.

Now let's compare it to 2008. No, this isn't a fair comparison because it looks at the total number of visits to those states throughout the 2008 invisible primary and primary season periods. But let's focus on the percentage of total visits. [The numbers in the 2008 link are in terms of total visits to all states. We'll focus on the percentage of total visits to just Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.]
Iowa: 1943 (55%)
New Hampshire: 994 (28%)
South Carolina: 420 (12%)
Nevada: 145 (4%)
Yes, that includes Democratic candidate visits in 2008 as well. Now let's constrain it to just the Republican visits.
Iowa: 729 (48%)
New Hampshire: 489 (32%)
South Carolina: 277 (18%)
Nevada: 35 (2%)
Is Iowa getting a smaller share of candidate visits in 2012 as compared to 2008? In this oranges to tangerines comparison, perhaps a little. The Hawkeye state continues to command the largest proportion of visits thus far however. What can explain that? In FHQ's estimation, the explanation is not the rightward shift of the Iowa Republican Party. It has more to do with the fact that it is early and that no candidates have officially announced their candidacies. It might also have something to do with the fact that the nominal frontrunner's strategy is different in the 2012 cycle than it was in 2008. Mitt Romney spent a lot of time and money on both the Ames Straw Poll and the January caucuses to get just a quarter of the vote in Iowa. The former Massachusetts governor's strategy won't have as large a dose of Iowa in 2012. Romney will be in the state, but not like he was in 2008 and that is the real story here.

Iowa will still be first in 2012, it will continue to attract candidate attention and it will have an impact on the course of the Republican presidential nomination race. That hasn't and won't change, but its impact and level of attention will vary from cycle to cycle depending on exogenous factors.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

So Mitt Romney Might Skip Iowa

As FHQ tweeted a little while ago, strategically, this would be less than wise. Yet, there it is: Romney's advisers are talking (or floating a trial balloon) about skipping the Republican nomination race's first contest. First, let's look at why this is a bad idea. Then we can look at why it is, as I called it, a trial balloon.

Why skipping Iowa is a bad move
In many ways, a presidential nomination race, particularly one without a clear frontrunner, is about expectations. This point is debated in the political science literature, but this is why the caveat about the presence of a clear frontrunner is an important distinction to make. Regardless of expectations and the comparison to actual results when the inevitably come in at the beginning of primary and caucus season, a clear frontrunner from the invisible primary typically emerges as the nominee. The George W. Bush experience from 2000 is a good example. Candidates, Lamar Alexander and Liddy Dole among them, were dropping out of the race prior to even Iowa and New Hampshire and they were citing Bush's financial advantage. The expectation heading into primary season, then, was that Bush was going to run away with the Republican nomination. He did, but not before John McCain defied those expectations and crushed Bush by 19 points in the New Hampshire primary. McCain also peeled off a few additional victories, but in the end Bush's institutional support within the party was too great.

But 2012 doesn't have a clear frontrunner. If there is a frontrunner, Romney is, at least according to conventional wisdom (something that isn't necessarily trustworthy), the nominal frontrunner. So what would skipping Iowa mean? Is it a sign of weakness from the nascent Romney campaign? Is it a signal that Romney is focusing on New Hampshire? Is it a nod to the fact that Iowa is likely to support a "more conservative" candidate? FHQ is of the opinion that it is none of the above, but I'll hold off on that for a moment. Skipping Iowa is a bad idea precisely because it raises the expectations in New Hampshire. And that's something that polls and straw polls are already doing for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney, in other words, would have nowhere to go but down. That's fine if you're George W. Bush in 2000, but Mitt Romney doesn't have that sort of cushion heading into the home stretch of the invisible primary and into the actual contests next year.

It is a lose-lose situation. Romney loses Iowa by virtue of having skipped it and then is potentially likely to "lose" New Hampshire in the expectations game. That's not the kind of start you want if you are the frontrunner, no matter how nominal.

Why the skipping Iowa story is just that -- a story
As Jonathan Bernstein rightly pointed out in a response to my aforementioned tweet, this story is all about expectations, but about lowering them in Iowa not raising them in New Hampshire. The tendency here is to compare what's going on now to what happened with those candidates who ran in 2008. For Romney (and Huckabee) there had been a lot of activity to this point in 2008 in Iowa. Both were intent on doing well at the Ames Straw Poll in August 2007. Their resource allocations -- visits to the Hawkeye state and expenditures there -- reflected that. So did the eventual results. Romney edged Huckabee in the straw poll in August and the reversed positions in the January caucuses. So they should be doing what John Edwards did before 2008, right? [No, not that. I mean the actual campaigning.] Camping out in Iowa and basically putting all your eggs in that one basket. Well, that didn't work out so well for Edwards. Despite the presence there from 2004 onward, it didn't yield him anything other than second place in Iowa in 2008 (and barely at that. Clinton finished a fraction of percentage point behind the former vice presidential nominee.).

Despite the fact that the dynamics are different between 2008 and 2012, that tendency still remains: What did Romney do in 2008 in Iowa and what is he doing now for 2012? Romney learned a lesson from Iowa in 2008: Don't spend so much. Well, he really doesn't have to. He is a known quantity now and wasn't before 2008. All in all, then, this is an effort to lowball the Iowa effort in 2012. If the expectation is that Romney won't be a presence there, then any visit he makes or money his campaign spends there is seen as a net positive.

After all it still remains quite possible that social conservative caucus-goers in the state will split their vote if they cannot coalesce behind one candidate. And Mitt Romney, who still has something of a leftover campaign structure in the state, can emerge, if not with a victory, then a solid showing that will help him heading into subsequent contests.

UPDATE: Jonathan Bernstein adds his two cents as well. [I may be quicker than you, JB, but David beat me to it.]

Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling has more but from a polling perspective.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Late Start for New Hampshire 2012: Pawlenty will be the First

One bit of news that made the rounds today is that Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty, will be heading up to the Granite state next month to keynote a fund-raiser for the Republican Senate Majority Committee PAC. So what, you might ask? Well, Pawlenty's visit will be the first of the potential 2012 Republicans to make an appearance in New Hampshire. Does that mean Pawlenty is running for president? No, but he is. Pawlenty is running for 2012, but if he is going to run in 2012 has yet to be determined.

That, though, isn't why we're here. Sure, it's interesting, but something else is interests FHQ about this visit. It is late. Now, we've recently heard quite a bit of chatter online about Republicans skipping out on Iowa in 2012 because the state's Republican caucusgoers are likely to support a more socially conservative candidate. That's hogwash, and I'll shunt it to the side for the purposes of this discussion. However, what was part and parcel of that argument was the fact that Republican candidates not visiting the Hawkeye state was an indicator of this potential problem. What everyone -- FHQ included -- seemingly failed to check on was whether candidates were making stops in the presidential primary process's other first in the nation state, New Hampshire.

Well, as of December 16, Pawlenty will be the first in the 2012 cycle. How does that stack up with the number of visits to the Granite state at this point ahead of the 2008 election? For the GOP, there were already 22 visits from prospective Republican candidates for president. On the Democratic side there had already been 13 visits by that point in 2005. [See below for full list of 2005 candidate visits to New Hampshire.]

However, as I pointed out in the Iowa visits discussion, 2008 may not be the best comparison. Both parties had active nomination and interest in the presidential race was at an unusually fevered pitch earlier than usual. The better comparison, then may be how frequently Democrats were visiting the Granite state in 2001, before the 2004 campaign. Yes, there is a difference in party in that comparison, but the underlying dynamic is the same: incumbent president and one active, out-party nomination race.

And how often were potential 2004 Democratic presidential candidates heading up to the snowy environs of New Hampshire? Allow me to channel my inner Ed Rooney: nine times. Well, that count only includes the visits to this point (November 12) in the 2004 campaign. If you extend that to the time at which Pawlenty's visit is scheduled, that number grows by three visits to 12. [See below for full list of 2001 candidate visits to New Hampshire.]

What does all of this mean? Not that much actually. Well, other than the fact that the prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidates are off to a slower start than the candidates before the 2004 and 2008 elections. Is that a name recognition thing? Romney certainly benefits from having run there before and because of his time spent as governor of neighboring Massachusetts. Huckabee, too, has run in the Granite state before. However, his organizational infrastructure there paled in comparison to his Iowa effort in 2008. The New Hampshire Huckabee campaign was more ad hoc in nature. And Palin? Well, Sarah Palin is Sarah Palin. People know who she is. But for someone playing catch-up, visiting New Hampshire and Iowa and any other place you can go is likely a shrewd move. For someone like Pawlenty, it never hurts to say you were the first (or more to the point, that you were there early and often).

2001 Democratic Visits to New Hampshire (via P2004)

-In his capacity as recruitment chair for the DGA, Gov. Dean met separately with likely Democratic gubernatorial candidates Bev Hollingsworth, Mark Fernald and Jim Normand in Concord, NH on December 19, 2001.

Rep. Gephardt visited NH on December 15, 2001; his schedule included events with 1st district congressional candidate Martha Fuller Clark: a brunch at the home of Harlow and Barbara Carpenter in Kensington (SE Rockingham County), a walk-around in Portsmouth, a meeting with New Hampshire Young Democrats and a holiday party "to ring in the New Year and a New Congress!," both at the Millyard Museum in Manchester.

On December 6, 2001, Sen. Kerry did a fundraiser for Manchester Democrats in Manchester, NH.

Sen. Lieberman visited NH in the first week of November 2001. On the evening of November 3 he arrived at Berlin-Milan Airport and spoke at the Coos County Democrats' Truman Dinner at the Town & Country Motor Inn in Shelburne. On November 4 he attended a fundraiser brunch for the New Hampshire Democratic Senate Caucus at the home of Sen. Sylvia Larsen in Concord, a fundraiser for the Committee to Elect House Democrats at the home of Rep. Bette Lasky in Nashua, a roundtable with students at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, and a rally with Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, Mayor Bob Baines, Rep. Martha Fuller Clark and Manchester Democratic candidates at the Sweeney Post on Maple Street in Manchester. (November 3-4, 2001)

On October 26, 2001, Sen. Kerry did a fundraiser for Manchester Mayor Bob Baines in Manchester, NH.

Former Vice President Gore headlined the New Hampshire Democratic Party's "Celebrating Our Democracy" Jefferson Jackson Dinner at the Center of New Hampshire Holiday in in Manchester, NH on October 27, 2001; the next day he did a fundraiser at a restaurant for Manchester Mayor Bob Baines. As he had in Iowa, Gore made an unpublicized drive around the state. On the evening of October 22, he joined Sen. Beverly Hollingworth at Lamies in Hampton (Concord Monitor). Early the next morning found him in Berlin, he then headed south for Concord and ended up on the Seacoast, dining with friends and supporters at the Rusty Hammer in Portsmouth (Concord Monitor). Gore left the state on October 24 for Maine, and returned for the speech. (October 22-23 and 27-28).

Sen. Kerry keynoted the NH AFL-CIO convention in North Conway and was the special guest at the Merrimack County Democrats Harvest Dinner at Pembroke Academy in NH on October 13, 2001.

Rep. Kaptur visited NH on October 13, 2001, speaking at the state's AFL-CIO convention and meeting with campaign finance reform activists.

In August 2001, Rev. Al Sharpton announced a freedom bus tour of NH for early October 2001, however that was put off.

Sen. Kerry did two events in NH on August 5, 2001, a meet-and-greet for state representative candidate Mary Tetreau at Marilyn Hoffman's house in Londonderry (Kerry revealed his poetic skills, reading a poem of his own composition) and a fundraiser for Manchester Mayor Bob Baines at Donna Soucy's house in Manchester. [Tetreau lost the August 14 special election in a Republican stronghold by less than 300 votes].

Rep. Gephardt made a trip to NH on behalf of state Democrats on June 8-9, 2001. On June 8 he was the featured speaker at the annual Cheshire County Democratic dinner in Keene. On June 9 he appeared, with Gov. Shaheen, at a Rockingham/Strafford County continental breakfast in Portsmouth; the Merrimack County Democrats' Annual Pig Roast & Pot Luck Picnic at the home of Beth Walz and Harry Judd in Bow (again w/ Shaheen); and the Manchester City Democrats' Flag Day Celebration at the Manchester Millyard Museum.

Sen. Feingold visited NH on April 23, 2001, in a trip that was primarily focused on appearances in Maine with Sen. Collins. He toured Timberland footwear, met with Gov. Shaheen, and spoke with College Democrats at the University of New Hampshire.

Sen. Biden visited Manchester, NH on March 25, 2001 at the invitation of state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro. He spoke at the Manchester Democratic committee's 4th annual St. Patrick's breakfast ($25/plate fundraiser), marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade, and visited the VA Hospital.

2005 Republican Visits to New Hampshire (via P2008)

>Gov. George Pataki visited NH on December 14, 2005; he did some interviews and private meetings and attended the NH Republican Party's Christmas Party at the Upham Walker House in Concord. [speech]

>Gov. Mitt Romney was a special guest at the Manchester Republican Committee's Annual Holiday Celebration at the Wayfarer Inn in Bedford, NH on the evening of December 7, 2005.

>Sen. Bill Frist did several private events in NH on December 6, 2005. Frist met with legislative leaders at the Capitol in Concord; had lunch with the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's executive committee at the law offices of Rath Young and Pignatelli in Concord; visited the Devine Millimet and Branch law firm in Manchester; and attended a reception with several local Republican activists and friends from his days at Harvard Medical School and Mass. General at the 100 Club in Portsmouth.

>Gov. George Pataki campaigned with Manchester mayoral candidate Frank Guinta in Manchester, NH on October 23, 2005, going door to door and doing a fundraiser at the home of Sharyn Kelley.

>Sen. George Allen visited NH on October 15, 2005. He attended a breakfast fundraiser at the invitation of Oracle PAC at Seedling Cafe in Nashua; spoke at a Stratham Republican Committee reception at the home of Phil ? Anne Caparso in Stratham; and helped kick off the NH Republican State Committee's Founders Program (new major donor program) at the home of Wayne Semprini in New Castle.

>Sen. Sam Brownback spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anslem College in Manchester, NH on October 11-12, 2005. On the evening of October 11 he held a town meeting attended by members of the public, faculty and students. On October 12 he gave a guest lecture in an Introduction to Politics class and another class.

>Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited NH on October 7, 2005. Arriving from Vermont he overnighted in Hanover on October 6, then traveled to Concord. Here he met privately with Harry Levine (the co-founder of Victory NH), met with the Republican Alliance (the House conservative caucus), and had lunch in the Speaker's office with the House Speaker, the Governor, the senate President, the deputy Speaker, and Amb. Joseph and Augusta Petrone. Gingrich spoke to legislators and members of the public in Representatives Hall at the State House. While in Concord he stopped by Republican headquarters, the AARP office, and Charlie Bass' congressional office. Proceeding to Manchester, Gingrich spoke to a group of college students at the UNH Manchester campus organized by Prof. Mark Wrighton.

>Rep. Tom Tancredo visited NH on September 25-26, 2005. On September 25 he delivered the keynote speech at the New Hampshire Center for Constitutional Studies, Inc.'s 9th Annual Dinner Celebration in honor of Constitution Day at Grappone Center in Concord; and on the morning of September 26 he appeared at the Bedford Republican Committee Annual Breakfast at CR Sparks in Bedford.

>Gov. Mitt Romney hosted an afternoon fundraising reception for the New Hampshire Republican State Committee at his home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, NH on September 17, 2005.

>Gov. Mike Huckabee visited NH on August 27, 2005. At the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester he did a photo op with New Hampshire Young Republicans doing a voter registration drive; attended a NHRSC Issues ? Answers Series breakfast at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire; and did a media roundtable with members of the New Hampshire and Arkansas media. He spoke at the Nashua Republican City Committee's Steak Out at the Alpine Club in Hollis (substituting for Gov. Romney who had bowed out); attended the Strafford County Republican Picnic/Pig Roast at Three River Farm in Dover [speech]; did a book signing at the Barnes ? Noble in Newington; stopped in at the Seacoast Irish Festival at Dover Elks Lodge in Dover; and attended a reception at the home of Turner and Wendy Stanley Jones in Durham.

>Gov. Mitt Romney had been scheduled to attend the Nashua Republican City Committee Steakout in Nashua, NH on August 27, 2005 but cancelled a few days before the event citing a family commitment.

>Gov. Mitt Romney held an "intimate gathering" with about a dozen leading New Hampshire Republicans at his home on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, NH on August 14, 2005. Source: The Union Leader's John DiStaso (The Granite Status, 8/18)

>Sen. George Allen addressed the NH Federation of Republican Women's Lilac Luncheon at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NHon June 25, 2005. [speech]

>Rep. Tom Tancredo visited NH on June 11, 2005. He addressed a NHRSC Issues ? Answers Series breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Concord, delivered the commencement speech at Nashua Christian High School, and spoke at a Nashua City Committee reception at Langdon Place in Nashua.

>Gov. Mitt Romney was the featured speaker at the NH Federation of Republican Women's Lilac Dinner at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NHon June 3, 2005. [speech]

>Sen. George Allen held two fundraisers for his re-election campaign, one at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford and the other also in the Manchester area, in a quiet trip to NH on May 3, 2005.

>Sen. Chuck Hagel visited NH on May 2-4, 2005. On the evening of May 2 he attended the Manchester Republican Committee's Second Annual Springtime Reception at the home of B.J. Perry. On May 3 he spoke to students at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College; stopped to meet with Republican legislators at the State Capitol in Concord; spoke to students at Plymouth State College; and in the evening received an award for "leadership in public communication" from the Franklin Pierce College Marlin Fitzwater Center at the College's Manchester campus. On May 4 he spoke at the "Politics and Eggs" breakfast in Bedford[speech]; spoke to students at New England College in Henniker; and stopped in at the Union Leader. State Sen. Bob Odell (R-Lempster), a longtime acquaintance, helped organize the trip.

>Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich visited NH on April 18-19, 2005. On April 18 he did a signing to promote his book "Winning the Future" at the Barnes ? Noble bookstore in Manchester; met with the Concord Monitor ed board; spoke to a Republican grassroots group called Victory New Hampshire > at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Goffstown; met with the Manchester Union Leader ed board; taped an interview for New England Cable News; did a fundraising reception for the state party at C.R. Sparks in Bedford; and appeared live on Fox News Channel's "Hannity ? Colmes." On April 19 in Hanover Gingrich did an ed board meeting with the Upper Valley News; did a signing to promote his book at the Dartmouth Bookstore; lectured in Prof. Jeffrey Smith's government class; did an interview with the Dartmouth Review; spoke in the living room at Sigma Alpha Epsilon as part of the Andrew J. Scarlett Lecture Series; and spoke the Upper Valley Republican Club at a lunch at Jesse's Restaurant. He then proceeded to Harvard in Cambridge, MA.

>Sen. Sam Brownback spoke at the "True Blue Breakfast" sponsored by the Concord-based Cornerstone Policy Research at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH on April 16, 2005. (Note Brownback was in the region to deliver a speech on cloning and stem cell research at the Harvard Law School Society for Law, Life, and Religion spring symposium on April 15).

>Sen. Bill Frist spoke at the Merrimack County Lincoln Day Dinner at Grappone Conference Center in Concord, NH on March 18, 2005. On March 19, 2005 he spoke at a Grafton County Republican breakfast at Plymouth Senior Center and a Nashua Republican luncheon at the Crowne Plaza in Nashua.

>Sen. Bill Frist delivered the keynote speech at the Manchester Republican Committee Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at The Executive Court Conference Center in Manchester, NH on March 4, 2005. [speech] He spoke at a Cheshire County Breakfast at the Keene Country Club in Keene on March 5, 2005.

>Rep. Tom Tancredo, accompanied by Angela "Bay" Buchanan and New Hampshire activist Paul Nagy, visited NH on February 3-4, 2005; the trip focused on immigration reform (Buchanan is chairperson and Tancredo is founding chairman of Team America, a PAC focused on illegal immigration). On February 3 they presented an American Patriot Award to New Ipswich Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain in New Ipswich; stopped for lunch at the Merrimack Restaurant in Manchester; spent a couple of hours at the Union Leader; did a live in-studio radio interview on Gardner Goldsmith's "Against the Grain" show at WGIR-AM in Manchester; and had dinner with conservative leaders at CR Sparks in Bedford. On February 4 they had breakfast with a group of New Hampshire House members; attended a Team America reception held in conjunction with the Nashua Republican Women's Club at a condominium complex in Nashua; and spoke at Nashua Christian High School. They then proceeded to Boston, MA.

>Sen. John McCainwas first to venture into NH, albeit briefly; he addressed the second annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Award dinner in Manchester on November 18, 2004.

2005 Democratic Visits to New Hampshire (via P2008)

>Gov. Mark Warner visited NH on November 18, 2005. He arrived in Nashua late on the night of November 17 (earlier that day he spoke on education at Harvard's Institute of Politics). On November 18 he participated in an education roundtable with Gov. Lynch at Nashua High School South, focusing on at-risk youth and dropout prevention; and spoke at a NH Senate Democratic Caucus lunch at Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester. [speech]

>Sen. John Kerry helped kick off GOTV weekend with Mayor Bob Baines at Manchester City Democrats' headquarters on Elm Street in Manchester, NH on the morning of November 5, 2005.

>Sen. Joe Biden spoke at a fundraiser for Mayor Bob Baines hosted by the New Hampshire Building & Construction Trades Council at the Alpine Club in Manchester on November 1, 2005.

>Sen. Evan Bayh visited NH on October 29-30, 2005. On October 29 he keynoted the NHDP's Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner fundraiser at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson Hotel in Manchester. [speech] On October 30 he held a town hall meeting with students and local residents at New England College in Henniker; held a town hall meeting organized by State Rep. Jim Ryan at The Golden Crest in Franklin; and campaigned with Mayor Bob Baines at the Puritan Backroom restaurant.

>Former Sen. John Edwards spoke at The Collis Center at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH on October 21, 2005 as part of a two-week tour (Oct. 17-28) of 10 colleges and universities during which he launched the Center for Promise and Opportunity's "Opportunity Rocks." He and a group of students also did some repairs on a house prior to the speech.

>Sen. Russ Feingold visited NH on September 30-October 1, 2005. On September 30 he called in to "The Exchange" with Laura Knoy at NHPR (he had hoped to appear in studio but there were votes in the Senate); took a short walking tour of downtown Manchester with Mayor Bob Baines and did a press availability in the courtyard next to City Hall; met with New Hampshire political leaders at the SEIU office in Concord; met privately with Gov. Lynch at the Capitol; and keynoted the Rockingham County Democrats' first annual Eleanor Roosevelt Covered Dish Dinner at Epping American Legion Hall. [speech] On October 1 Feingold held a listening session in the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College in Hanover.

[>Sen. Joe Biden had planned to speak at the Cheshire Democratic Committee's annual spaghetti supper in NH in mid-September 2005, (reported by the The Union Leader's John DiStaso). However he changed his plans to focus on the Supreme Court nomination process following the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Bush's nomination of John Roberts].

[>Gov. Tom Vilsack had planned to attend the Seacoast Democratic Coalition annual Labor Day picnic (sponsored by the Hampton, North Hampton and Hampton Falls Democratic Committees) at Pitlochry Farm in Hampton Falls, NH on September 4, 2005. He canceled the trip to focus on coordinating Iowa's efforts to house evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, and instead delivered his speech to assembled activists by speakerphone].

>Sen. John Kerry attended a thank you barbecue at the home of State Sen. Sylvia Larsen in Concord, NH on August 23, 2005.

>Former Sen. John Edwards visited NH on July 29-31, 2005.
On July 29 he appeared at a birthday party/fundraiser for State Sen. Lou D'Allesandro at the American Legion Sweeney Post in Manchester.
On July 30 he was the special guest at the 11th annual Merrimack County Democrats Pig Roast and Potluck Picnic at the home of Rep. Mary Beth Walz and Selectman Harry Judd in Bow; attend Plymouth Democrats' Blue BBQ at Riverfront Park in Plymouth; and attended a Coos County Democratic fundraiser at the home of Elaine and Carl Belanger in Gorham.
On July 31 he attended a "Politics and Pie" event sponsored by Cheshire County Democrats at the Keene State College Camp on Wilson Pond in Swanzey.

[>Sen. John Kerry had planned to attend a thank you reunion/cookout with a group of supporters at the home of former state party chair Joe Keefe in Manchester, NH on the afternoon of July 29, 2005but the trip was cancelled due to Senate votes].

>Sen. Evan Bayh visited NH on July 10-11, 2005. On July 10 he did a meet and greet at Manchester City Democratic headquarters in Manchester; did a meet and greet at The Pub Restaurant in Keene; and held a fundraising event for the New Hampshire Senate Democratic Caucus at the home of Sen. Sylvia Larsen in Concord. On July 11 he appeared on "The Charlie Sherman Show" on WGIR in Manchester; appeared on "The Exchange" with Laura Knoy at NHPR in Concord; held a private meeting with Gov. Lynch in Concord; held a private meeting with the House Democratic leadership in Concord; held a private meeting with environmental leaders in Concord; and toured GT Equipment Technologies, a small manufacturer, in Merrimack.

>Former Sen. John Edwards spoke at a fundraiser for Senate Democrats at the Nashua Country Club in Nashua, NH on June 21, 2005.

>Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) spoke at the Manchester City Democratic Committee's annual Flag Day dinner at the Radisson Hotel-Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH on June 12, 2005. [speech]

>Gov. Bill Richardson visited NH on June 7-8, 2005. On June 7 he spoke at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford [speech]; at the Vision Hispana Latino Summit at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester; at a fundraiser for the NHDP at the Common Man restaurant in Concord; and attended a private party at the Centennial Inn in Concord. On June 8 he started the day with a live radio interview with Charlie Sherman on WGIR; spoke to the Franco-American Club at America's Credit Union Museum in Manchester; did a live radio interview with Laura Knoy at NHPR in Concord; and addressed the Carroll County Democrats at the Grand Summit Hotel in Bartlett. Also during this trip Gov. Richardson held private meetings with officials of the NEA-New Hampshire, the State Employees Association of NH (SEIU Local 1984), the Teamsters, Gov. John Lynch and Manchester Mayor Robert Baines and, in Portsmouth, a group of workers from Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

>Former Sen. John Edwards visited NH on February 4-5, 2005. On the evening of February 4 he attended a high school basketball game at Manchester West High School. On February 5 he met people at Manchester Community Health Center, met privately with Gov. Lynch, and was the "Very Special Guest" at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's 100 Club Dinner at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester. [speech]

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