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NHPR: As N.H. GOP candidates jockey for Senate nomination, name recognition proves elusive

In case you missed it, NHPR wrote about how Granite Staters are still “unfamiliar” with the Republicans running in the NH GOP Senate primary where the “fundamental basic challenge remains getting voters to pay attention.” The report came out minutes after the B-tier candidates staggered out of their first primary debate, where they tore into each other in a desperate bid to get viewers’ attention. Key Excerpts:

  • When Don Bolduc worked the room inside the Windham library last week, it didn’t take long to shake hands. After all, just 12 people turned out.

  • The candidates in the seemingly wide-open Republican primary for U.S. Senate are pitching a message of change from incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan, but it isn’t clear if voters are paying attention. A recent poll showed many respondents were unfamiliar with the candidates, with Bolduc having the most name recognition, a likely result of his failed 2020 U.S. Senate bid.

  • The turbulent economy, a war in Europe and landmark Supreme Court decisions are all front-burner issues, while a Senate race that could decide the balance of power in Washington remains tepid a little more than two months out from the primary.

  • So far in this sleepy race, Gov. Chris Sununu’s decision not to run remains its biggest development. That means having name recognition, at least among the Republican loyalists in the state, should count plenty.

  • “There is only one candidate so far who passes the 'Who’s that?' test among Republican primary voters, and that’s Don Bolduc,” said University of New Hampshire political scientist Dante Scala.

  • To date, none of the candidates have run TV ads or held large public events. To the extent this primary has had significant moments, they’ve largely been confined to social media [...]

  • But for Morse and every other candidate in this race, Scala said the fundamental basic challenge remains getting voters to pay attention.

  • “We can talk about their profiles, all we want," he said, "but if it's just you and me and other people who follow this race closely, it really doesn't matter."

  • What matters right now for the candidates is doing all they can to get primary voters' attention.


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