Why is New Hampshire's primary a national news story?

Success or failure in New Hampshire can make or break or revive a presidential candidate. But why?

BY: Rob Kerby


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about as much media attention as all the other state primaries combined.

The state's top attraction, Mt. Monadnock

The result is a public relations bonanza for a tiny state that most people cannot pick off of a map and whose main tourist attractions consist of such forgettable sites as – listed in this order by state tourism officials:

     1. Mt. Monadnock – Algonquin for “mountain that stands alone.” According to the tourist bureau, “Mt. Monadnock rises up majestically from the New Hampshire flatlands, enticing visitors to trek its over 40 miles of foot trails.”
     2. Dartmouth College
     3. Moose Alley, a stretch along Route 3 with a sign that warns: “Brake For Moose”
     4. Loon Mountain and

This memorable historic site, which is on everyone’s bucket list:

     5. Fort at No. 4 Living History Museum

So, it’s little wonder that New Hampshire lawmakers are determined to hang onto this one source of national publicity. After all, shown a map of Vermont and New Hampshire, who knows which is which? They both look as if they should be part of Maine.

John Huntsman and Newt Gingrich at this year's St. Anselm debate

An example of the massive media coverage given the primary would be tiny Saint Anselm College. The otherwise unknown campus has hosted multiple national debates that attracted international media coverage. Without the primary, it would be as prestigious as the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Accupuncture.

One thing that makes New Hampshire attractive to candidates is that up to 45 percent of voters are neither Republican nor Democrat – instead “undeclared.” As a result, thousands of votes are unpredictable and up for grabs. Anybody who can prove they meet state residency and age requirements can register right there at the polling place. They must officially join one party or the other before voting in that party’s primary, however they can change back to “undeclared” immediately after casting a ballot — thus belonging to the party only for the brief time it took to vote.

As a result, in a presidential cycle when a Democratic president is

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