Who can make a difference in New Hampshire?
November 22nd, 2011
12:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Who can make a difference in New Hampshire?

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney snapped up two of the biggest endorsements in New Hampshire last weekend - in particular Sen. Kelly Ayotte, easily the most valuable endorsement in the state so far.

But with the first-in-the-nation primary just seven weeks away, which state Republicans are left who could still jump in and make a difference in the GOP presidential contest?

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.

And will they follow the lead of many other prominent Republicans in the state and back the former Massachusetts governor - who has consistently lead in the polls but who still struggles to seal the deal with some conservatives, or opt to take a chance on another candidate?

Here's the short list:

Frank Guinta: The last unaffiliated Republican in New Hampshire's congressional delegation, Guinta quickly rose to power in the state and was elected to Congress last year. Then-Manchester Mayor Guinta endorsed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2007. Endorsing a more moderate candidate like Romney could hurt him with the conservative voters he needs to win re-election next year. Signs point to Guinta keeping out of the race for the near future.

Ovide Lamontagne: Lamontagne, a conservative gubernatorial candidate with tea party support, has fashioned himself a kingmaker in New Hampshire's GOP presidential primary race. He's opened his home to a series of candidates, inviting prominent state Republicans to mingle with the 2012 hopefuls. Lamontagne supported Mitt Romney in 2008 but this cycle his role as host has meant he's been open to all the candidates - so far.

Union Leader editorial page:
The Union Leader has suffered staff cutbacks but is still a powerful driving force for political coverage in New Hampshire. An endorsement from the paper's conservative editorial board is a major coup for a candidate, which explains why Herman Cain was pilloried for skipping a meeting with the paper last week - and why he quickly rescheduled. Last cycle the paper endorsed Sen. John McCain in early December.

William O'Brien and Peter Bragdon: The conservative state house speaker and senate president rode to power on a wave of tea party support in 2010. Leading an overwhelmingly Republican legislature, the two have made controversial decisions, such as significantly cutting the state budget and supporting looser gun regulations. Bragdon has signaled that he will make a decision before the primary, while O'Brien has stayed mum. If anyone were to go out on a limb and endorse more from passion than politics, it would likely be one these state leaders. But they haven't done so yet.

Ted Gatsas: The enormously popular Manchester mayor has been mentioned as a possible candidate for governor. He is a canny politician with a reputation for pragmatism and is regularly courted by presidential hopefuls. Last cycle he endorsed John McCain a few days before the primary. Gatsas told CNN he's planning "serious talks" with the candidates in the next few weeks and should endorse in December.

Kevin Smith: Another conservative candidate for governor with tea party ties, Smith is the former head of Cornerstone Action. Smith defended Rick Perry after the Texas governor's Cornerstone speech, in which some in the blogosphere questioned whether Perry was under the influence. (Perry said he wasn't.) Smith could benefit from the attention he would receive if he endorsed, but told CNN he doesn't plan to jump in: "This is a personal decision for me."

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Also see:

Cain signs anti-abortion pledge

Who can make a difference in New Hampshire?

Bachmann's big upset prediction

Filed under: 2012 • Kelly Ayotte • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Matt

    As a fan of tea partier Kelly Ayotte, I am very disappointed in her endorsement of Romney. It just proves how much pressure the establishment is putting on party leaders to back a guy who has stood on all sides of every issue.

    I won't vote for him, even if he IS the nominee. Which means 4 more years of socialism. The Party seriously needs to think about the consequences of backing this man before nominating him. He won't win the general election because the base won't back him.

    November 22, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Seriously? No one in the GOP can make a difference in this race they are either beholden to outrageously extremist, close-minded, impractical pledges or they will be FORCED to adhere to said pledges or face being black-balled from the Party of Hell No.
    This is in a nutshell what we are up against in this country. What this President is up against. It is not about fixing anything,it is about making this President a one-termer.
    But I digress....I repeat, based on the constraints being put upon once decent Republicans, there is no one that the GOTeatards can run that can come across as rational, viable, and electable.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    November 22, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If you stop and think about it the present state of incoherent lunacy amongst the GOPers started in 2007 when "someone" stron-armed McCain into choosing that freaking babbling, one brain cell nutcase called Sarah Palin.
    That was the beginning of the end for the once venerable Republican Party. If there are any old farts left that know how to compromise or put country before Party they will soon be done away with.
    Mark my words.

    November 22, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Joan

    Honesty is a very important characteristic for a President and Romney has been running an ad in NH that is a lie. The ad shows Pres. Obama saying "If we talk about the economy, we will lose" trying to make it seem that it was the President's quote. Well actually when the Pres. said that it was in the 2008 campaign and he was quoting JOHN McCAIN who actually said it. This midleading, distortion of the truth is beneath an honourable candidate. Also, there was an ad saying that the Pres. said the American people were lazy. He did not. He said that for years the business community has been lazy about attracting new business to the US which actually was true. When the Republicans finally pick their candidate, the Democrats are going to have lots of things to call them on and in this case it is lack of integrity and honesty.

    November 22, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Debbie

    This is pretty funny. Romney has now for the past 6 weeks had the Cheney/Rove group take over his campaign. Every GOPer will fall in line, give support to Romney and vote Romney. Who can make a difference? Cheney and Rove. If you meant any of the politicians in NH or the candidates themselves you are living in a political world that no longer exists.

    November 22, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    1. Ayotte opposes passage of legislation that would subject the minimum wage to automatic cost-of-living adjustments.

    2. Ayotte opposes any increase in the minimum wage and opposes efforts to make the minimum wage a "living wage".

    3. Ayotte opposes passage of legislation that mandates that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees.

    Fairly obvious why Kelly Ayotte and Mitt Romney are a good fit in their endorsement of each other. Neither one seem to care a hoot for America's working poor.

    November 22, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama wrote:

    If you stop and think about it the present state of incoherent lunacy amongst the GOPers started in 2007
    Actually, the intransigence began in earnest way back in 1994 with Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America".

    November 22, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. diridi

    none of GOP idiots make any difference...they are all thugs...of this nation....

    November 22, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Debbie wrote:

    This is pretty funny. Romney has now for the past 6 weeks had the Cheney/Rove group take over his campaign.
    Is it mere coincidence that that is also the time frame of when the Perry meltdown had reached critical mass, and the Cain Train was just leaving the station?

    November 22, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban

    Willard's going to b dissappointed in NH like he was dissappointed the last time he ran. I think Hunstman is going to be a formidable contender in NH.

    November 22, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Neither one seem to care a hoot for America's working poor."

    That's right...not like Newtered, who has a wonderful plan to get rid of all child labor laws, fire all adult school janitors and tell the poor kids to get to scrubbing toilets. Of course, CNN is ignoring this proopsal because they want to wait for Newtered to get elected so he can roll it out with much fanfare. After all, it's pretty clear that CNN would like nothing more than 8 year old janitors around their offices too. I mean, why else would they purposefully avoid reporting on anything and everything the GOP/Teatroll candidates say or do that is self-damaging?

    November 22, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Rudy NYC
    Indeed. We could even go further back than that couldn't we considering that the Koch Brothers have been insidiously insinuating themselves into our political fabric and make-up for over 30 plus years. It appears that with the final push of Citizens United they have succeeded.

    November 22, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Obama is a closet muslim

    IF we are to elect Obama, to four more years, we will take this country from a world leader to a 3rd world nation. Obama has not done one thing good for this country. His ratings are lowest among any president to have every serve.
    His job plan has been a complete failure, His health care has been a lesson in soiclized medicine, His immgration polices have beeen lousy,so bad states have to take things in to their hands. I understand Obama ahd Demo-craps have been to the border handing our voter registration cards to illegals coming acoross the border. He and his thugs in the justice department trample all over the consitution, and support and arm the drug Cartels. I would guess they are getting campaign donations from the Drug Cartels.

    Obama bad for this country bad for American
    Republicans 2012 and beyond.

    November 22, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |