Stormy Weather pp 167-192 | Cite as

Stormwatchers: The Primary and the Media

  • Dante J. Scala


Part of the mystique of the New Hampshire primary has been the apparently splendid isolation of the state and its citizens. Tucked away in the north of New England, its citizens once seemed insulated from the corrupting techniques of modern political campaigning, such as sound bites and thirty-second commercials. Here in New Hampshire, presidential candidates were compelled to campaign as if they were running for sheriff, as journalist John Milne put it.1 Candidates had to talk with voters one at a time and build their organizations from the grass roots up because there was simply no other way of running a campaign. New Hampshire “offers the only opportunity for someone who might be the next president of the United States to actually have to answer more than one or two questions from an average citizen,” said longtime observer Dayton Duncan.2 Thus, the first-in-the-nation primary has taken on the status of an endangered natural habitat, a political wildlife preserve of national value—or as activist Terry Shumaker said, the last bastion of true democracy against the onslaught of campaigns run on television screens and candidates who only see voters from airport tarmacs.3


Radio Station National Medium Presidential Campaign Local News Front Runner 
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  1. 9.
    Charles Brereton, First in the Nation: New Hampshire and the Premier Presidential Primary (Portsmouth, N.H.: Peter E. Randall, 1987), p. 126. The campaign also spent $31,000 on newspaper ads, and just $20,000 for television time in Maine, New Hampshire, and Boston.Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    Jules Witcover, Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972–1976 (New York: Viking Press, 1977), P. 223.Google Scholar
  3. 19.
    Lorna Colquhoun, “Bradley’s Illegal Drug Was Marijuana, Twice,” Manchester Union Leader, August 30, 1999, A8.Google Scholar

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© Dante J. Scala 2003

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  • Dante J. Scala

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