Shane Goldmacher | Why Jeb must win New Hampshire

Shane Goldmacher, National Journal:

Bush already has three strategists laying the groundwork in the state: Killion; Rob Varsalone, a former top adviser to Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte; and Nate Lamb, a field director for Sen. Scott Brown’s failed 2014 campaign. In addition, Ryan Williams, a former Romney operative who has worked for the New Hampshire Republican Party, is helping the Bush team through his firm, FP1 Strategies. (In contrast, Bush has a single known staffer helping him in Iowa, though his expected national campaign manager, Dave Kochel, is an Iowa veteran.)

That Jeb Bush is betting so heavily on New Hampshire runs counter to family history. A low point of the 2000 primaries for his brother, George W. Bush, came when John McCain beat him here. And his father, George H.?W. Bush, won Iowa in 1980, only to get blown out in New Hampshire by Ronald Reagan en route to losing six of the next seven states and the nomination. (The elder Bush carried the state, as the sitting vice president, in 1988.)

“New Hampshire has not been kind to the Bushes,” says Fergus Cullen, a former state GOP chairman who is writing a book about the history of the New Hampshire primaries. “There’s no question about that.”

Cullen is a pro-immigration-reform Republican who opened his home to Bush during his March visit. He’s nonetheless still uncommitted. “I’m one of those guys who says, ‘We made a decision 250 years ago that we’re not a monarchy,'” Cullen says of his unease about Bush vs. Hillary Clinton in 2016.


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