August 26, 2002


GOP May Feel Generation Gap in N.H. Primary (Helen Dewar, August 26, 2002, Washington Post)
A few months ago, many Republicans thought Sununu was a sure bet to defeat Smith, citing polls that showed the younger man with a substantial lead in the primary and a better chance of defeating Shaheen in November. Several polls showed Sununu defeating Shaheen but showed Smith losing to her.

Now many observers say the tenacious, well-financed Smith appears to be back in the game, though few go so far as to describe him as the favorite. Smith says he pays no attention to opinion surveys because he has never won a poll or lost an election. But others, including some Democrats, say they think the momentum is going Smith's way.

"You can hear it, feel it, shifting toward Smith," said Arnie Arnesen, a former Democratic gubernatorial and congressional candidate who served as her party's commentator during a WNDS-TV debate in Derry, N.H., this month. "We tend to like the disruptive mavericks up here."

Smith "has had a lot of people in New Hampshire rolling their eyes, but he makes a good case that he's in a good position to help the state," said Fred Bramante, Arnesen's Republican counterpart during the debate. Bramante was referring to the seniority and committee positions that Smith says are worth millions of dollars in highway and other funds to New Hampshire, an argument that rankled the Union Leader but appeals to those receiving the federal funding.

Smith's edge from the start has been his supporters' fervor, which reflects the emotional intensity the senator brings to his causes. Sununu's support might be broader, but it appears less intense. "If the turnout is low, Smith has a really good chance of winning," said UNH's Andy Smith. "If the turnout is high, then Sununu probably wins."

The political battlefield is littered with the corpses of candidates who ran on their own inevitability and nothing else. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 26, 2002 7:06 PM
Comments for this post are closed.