GOP Presidential Candidates Largely Sideline New Hampshire to Counter Trump in Iowa

by Madison Thomas
Presidential Campaign Strategy

In the past, New Hampshire’s primary elections have provided a critical platform for lesser-known, moderate, or maverick political candidates to make their mark. Notable examples include Senator John McCain’s Republican campaign resurgence in 2008 and Bill Clinton’s Democratic comeback in 1992. In 1976, Jimmy Carter, then a relatively unknown figure, used a win in New Hampshire to propel himself to the presidency.

However, this election cycle seems to be breaking from that tradition as the focus shifts away from the Granite State. Democratic candidates, already aligned behind President Joe Biden, have largely forsaken New Hampshire for South Carolina. Likewise, Republican candidates have concentrated their resources on Iowa, wagering that the Midwestern state’s conservative religious base is key to halting former President Donald Trump’s quest for the GOP nomination.

Over this weekend alone, Iowa will host eight Republican presidential hopefuls during its Faith and Freedom Coalition annual meeting. This marks the third significant gathering of GOP candidates in Iowa in just two months, while no such event has been held in New Hampshire.

The pivot toward Iowa reflects recent rightward shifts within the national Republican Party. As New Hampshire’s role diminishes in the 2024 election cycle, it remains uncertain whether any candidate will find enough traction in the state to present a substantial challenge to Trump.

Chris Christie, the former Governor of New Jersey and a staunch critic of Trump, is one of the few Republicans to campaign extensively in New Hampshire recently. He argues that focusing solely on Iowa could be a strategic mistake and that his investment in New Hampshire will pay off.

Christie contends that although Trump commands considerable support among the Republican base, he may not be able to build the broad coalition required to defeat Biden in the general election. “The nomination of Donald Trump would result in a loss for both the country and the party, but it is an avoidable outcome,” Christie stated.

It’s worth noting that New Hampshire’s Republican officials are among those who are more vocally opposed to Trump. Governor Chris Sununu and other local GOP figures have endorsed alternative candidates, signaling that there is still room for someone else to emerge.

The financial commitments also highlight the skew toward Iowa. According to an AP analysis of AdImpact data, nearly $30 million has been set aside for advertising in Iowa by Republican candidates and their allies, compared to only $19 million in New Hampshire, for the initial phase of the campaign.

Meanwhile, several Republican candidates are vigorously campaigning in Iowa. Former Vice President Mike Pence, business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are just a few who have made multiple appearances in the state recently. Although some candidates like Nikki Haley are balancing their time between the two states, the overwhelming focus remains on Iowa.

Mike Dennehy, a seasoned Republican strategist in New Hampshire, believes the emphasis on Iowa is a reflection of the Republican Party’s ideological shift. He warns that to succeed in the general election, the GOP will need to attract moderate voters, a demographic where New Hampshire has traditionally played a pivotal role.

Despite New Hampshire’s historical status as a proving ground for political dark horses, Dennehy remains skeptical that the 2024 election will see any substantial challenges to Trump’s dominance. “At this juncture, the safest bet appears to be on Trump securing the nomination,” he concluded.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about New Hampshire Primary

What is the main focus of this article?

The main focus of this article is the declining importance of the New Hampshire Primary in the 2024 presidential election, particularly among Republican candidates. It examines how the majority of GOP candidates are channeling their resources into Iowa in an attempt to counter the influence of former President Donald Trump.

Why are GOP candidates shifting their focus from New Hampshire to Iowa?

Republican candidates are shifting their focus to Iowa because they believe the state’s conservative religious base will be key to challenging Donald Trump’s strong position within the party. This move aligns with a broader rightward shift within the Republican Party in recent years.

Who is the exception in the Republican field regarding campaigning in New Hampshire?

Chris Christie, the former Governor of New Jersey, is the notable exception among GOP candidates. He is investing significant time and resources in New Hampshire, arguing that ignoring the state could be a strategic mistake for Republicans.

How do Democratic candidates view New Hampshire in the 2024 election cycle?

Democratic candidates have largely bypassed New Hampshire in favor of South Carolina. This is mainly because they are already united behind President Joe Biden, reducing the need to campaign extensively in New Hampshire.

What does the article say about the financial commitments for advertising in the primary phase?

According to an AP analysis of AdImpact data, Republican candidates and their allies have reserved almost $30 million in advertising across Iowa, compared to $19 million in New Hampshire, for the initial phase of the campaign.

Is there resistance to Donald Trump within the Republican Party in New Hampshire?

Yes, there is notable resistance to Donald Trump within the Republican Party in New Hampshire. Local GOP figures such as Governor Chris Sununu have endorsed alternative candidates, suggesting that there might still be room for someone else to emerge.

What does the article conclude about the chances of Trump’s rivals in the 2024 election?

The article concludes that it remains highly unlikely that any of Trump’s rivals will find enough traction in New Hampshire to challenge him seriously for the 2024 GOP nomination. According to seasoned Republican strategist Mike Dennehy, the safest bet currently appears to be on Trump securing the nomination.

More about New Hampshire Primary

  • History of the New Hampshire Primary
  • Overview of the Iowa Caucus
  • AP Analysis of Political Advertising in Primaries
  • Profile of GOP Candidate Chris Christie
  • Democratic Strategy for the 2024 Election
  • Recent Shifts Within the Republican Party
  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu’s Political Stance
  • Donald Trump’s Influence on the Republican Party

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John Smith September 16, 2023 - 7:48 am

Really interesting read. Kinda surprising how New Hampshire is losing its status, especially given its history.

Rachel Greene September 16, 2023 - 9:31 am

Christie’s the only one paying attention to NH? That’s either gonna be a brilliant move or a total flop. can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Sara O'Conner September 16, 2023 - 2:14 pm

Wow, seems like everyone’s all in on Iowa this time around. What’s happenin’ to good ol’ New Hampshire?

Tim Brown September 16, 2023 - 7:07 pm

30 mill in Iowa ads vs 19 mill in NH? The numbers tell the story… Trump’s got everyone rethinking their strategy.

Emily Davis September 17, 2023 - 12:27 am

New Hampshire officials speaking out against Trump is pretty brave in today’s political climate. kudos to them for taking a stand.

Mike Thompson September 17, 2023 - 1:50 am

so basically if you’re not Trump or aiming to topple him, you’re in Iowa. NH’s missing all the action, huh.


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