Dec 30, 2015 9:34 PM

Steinhauser-First on NH1 News: Bush back in N.H. Jan. 5-7 as campaign doubles size of staff here

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Jeb Bush returns for New Hampshire next week for three straight days of campaigning.

The upcoming trip, which NH1 News was first to report on Wednesday afternoon, came as the former Florida governor’s presidential campaign announced that it was deploying nearly all of its staff at its Miami headquarters to New Hampshire and the other early voting states. And top aides to the one time GOP front runner also decided to scrap some $3 million in reservations for upcoming TV commercials.

The former Florida governor will be back in the first-in-the-nation primary state next Tuesday through Thursday, holding town halls in Dover, Meredith, and Peterborough. News of the visit came one day after Bush cancelled a one day trip to the Granite State, which included a town hall in Peterborough, over safety concerns from Tuesday’s winter storm.

The Bush campaign is expected to transfer some 50 to 60 staffers from Miami and elsewhere to the early voting states, with 20 going to New Hampshire. That will double the size of the Granite State operation, which currently has 20 full time employees working out of the Manchester headquarters and field offices in Keene, Laconia, Littleton, and one on the Dover-Somersworth city line. The Bush campaign has concentrated efforts in the first-in-the-nation primary state, with the candidate considering New Hampshire a must win state.

(Even before the doubling of the staff, Bush has the largest number of full time employees in the Granite State of any of the 12 Republican presidential campaigns.)

Other staff will go to Iowa (where there’s currently 11 paid staffers), South Carolina (which currently has seven full time staffers) and Nevada (where there’s currently nine paid staffers).

“We’re making a strategic resource reallocation,” Bush communications director Tim Miller told NH1 News.

The ad buys that are being scrapped are in Iowa ($1 million) and South Carolina ($2 million). To date, the vast majority of the ad spending in support of Bush ($37 million) has come from Right to Rise, the super PAC backing him. The campaign has shelled out less than $2 million to run TV commercials.

More money has been spent on ads for Bush than any other White House contender from either party. But the commercials have not helped Bush pump up his poll numbers, which are hovering just below 10% in an average of the latest New Hampshire surveys, and in the mid-single digits in an average of the most recent national public opinion polls.

The $3 million in cancelled ad reservations will instead be spent on field efforts and voter contact.

“We’re doing what I think a smart campaign does at this stage of the campaign, which is maximize their resources to where they matter most, which is direct contact with the voters,” Rich Killion, Bush’s senior adviser in New Hampshire, told NH1 News.

“Jeb’s story’s being told out there and we want to take it to voters with the best means possible, directly to their doorstep, their mailbox, their phones, and the screens on their computers and hand held devices,” Killion added.

Killion, who said the staff size would double over the next two weeks, touted that “we feel confident we have the best ground game here in New Hampshire.”

“Now we’re going to add in more staff, which is going to help us amplify these efforts,” he added.

With less than six weeks to go until the Feb. 9th primary, Killion said “we’re now entering a stage where everyone has stopped window shopping and now they’re comparison shopping.”

A look inside the Bush campaign's New Hampshire headquarters, soon after it opened its doors earlier this year


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