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New Hampshire and the Presidency

  • Dante J. Scala

Abstract

In January 1999, one year before Democratic voters began choosing their party’s nominee for the highest office in the land, the long-range forecast for Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign was clear, sunny skies. Up in New Hampshire, the home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, all the signs pointed toward good weather: Gore possessed the backing of party regulars both nationally and in New Hampshire, most notably the support of Governor Jeanne Shaheen, the top Democratic office-holder. He enjoyed all the privileges and prerogatives of the vice presidency, including a widespread network of fundraisers. And despite the scandals of the Clinton administration, Gore could claim to be the steward of eight years of peace and prosperity. And surely Democrats held Gore, the number-two man on a ticket that had returned their party to the White House, in a special place in their hearts.

Keywords

Democratic Party Presidential Nomination Nomination Process Front Runner Presidential Primary 
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Notes

  1. 8.
    For a short summary of the history of the American presidential nomination process, see Dante Scala, “The Evolution of Nominating Conventions,” pp. 32–39, in American Presidential Campaigns and Elections: A Reference Guide, edited by Ballard C. Campbell and William G. Shade (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2003). For an extended treatment, see James W. Ceaser, Presidential Selection: Theory and Development (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979); William Crotty and John S. Jackson III, Presidential Primaries and Nominations (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1985); James W. Davis, U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System (Westport, C.T.: Greenwood Press, 1997); Gerald Pomper, Nominating the President (Evanston, I.L.: Northwestern University Press, 1966); Howard L. Reiter, Selecting the President: The Nominating Process in Transition (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    Charles Brereton, First in the Nation: New Hampshire and the Premier Presidential Primary (Portsmouth, N.H.: Peter E. Randall, 1987), p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Scholars of the New Hampshire primary have mentioned different motives for the change. Charles Brereton attributes this change in date to “Yankee frugality,” stating that “someone with an eye for the dollar calculated that if the date were moved up to coincide with Town Meeting day it would be necessary to hold one less election in a presidential year” (Brereton, pp. 3–4). Niall Palmer argues that the change was for the convenience of the “large rural population, much of which would be engaged in ploughing in late April” (Niall Palmer, The New Hampshire Primary and the American Electoral Process [Boulder, C.O.: Westview Press, 2000], p. 1).Google Scholar
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    Michael G. Hagen and William G. Mayer, “The Modern Politics of Presidential Selection: How Changing the Rules Really Did Change the Game,” in In Pursuit of the White House 2000, edited by William G. Mayer (New York: Chatham House, 2000).Google Scholar
  8. 32.
    The Federal Election Commission’s ceiling on state-by-state spending is computed by multiplying the state’s voting age population times 16 cents, with adjustments for inflation. In 2000, a candidate receiving public funding was limited to spending $675,600 on the New Hampshire primary campaign. For more details on FEC rules, see Anthony Corrado and Heitor Gouvea, “Financing Presidential Nominations under the BCRA,” in The Making of the Presidential Candidates 2004, edited by William G. Mayer (Lanham, M.D.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), pp. 45–82.Google Scholar
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    For a full discussion of presidential campaign finance, see Anthony Corrado, “The Changing Environment of Presidential Campaign Finance,” in In Pursuit of the White House: How We Choose Our Presidential Nominees, edited by William G. Mayer (Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, 1996), pp. 220–53.Google Scholar
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    William G. Mayer, “Forecasting Presidential Nominations,” in In Pursuit of the White House, pp.44–71. Also see Randall E. Adkins and Andrew J. Dowdle, “How Important Are Iowa and New Hampshire to Winning Post-Reform Presidential Nominations?” Political Research Quarterly 54, no. 2 (June 2001): 431–44; and “Break Out the Mint Juleps? Is New Hampshire the ‘Primary’ Culprit Limiting Presidential Nomination Forecasts?” American Politics Quarterly 28, no. 2 (April 2000): 251–69.Google Scholar
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© Dante J. Scala 2003

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  • Dante J. Scala

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