Oct 19, 2015 5:13 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
MANCHESTER – If you drive south on Elm Street, two blocks past the Verizon Arena, you’ll pass a plain looking one-story storefront building on the left side of the street.
But walkup to 379 Elm Street and you’ll come face-to-face with some prime political real estate in the first-in-the-nation primary state. The building has a rich history in campaign politics, and Jeb Bush is writing the latest chapter in the facility’s political biography.
Last month the former Florida governor’s Republican presidential campaign in New Hampshire opened up their Granite State headquarters in the building.
It was just last year that former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts set up shop in the building for his Republican challenge to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. But Brown was far from the first candidate to work out of the building.
In 2007, then-Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut used the cavernous offices as his Granite State headquarters for his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. But after a disappointing sixth place finish in the January 2008 Iowa caucuses, Dodd called it quits, just days ahead of the New Hampshire primary.
Hillary Clinton, then a New York senator, took over the space as she fought then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for party's nomination in a marathon and historic primary and caucus battle.
After Clinton bowed out that June, the New Hampshire Democrats used the building as their coordinated campaign office for the 2008 general election.
Two years later, then-Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes moved in, using the building as his HQ for his 2010 bid for Senate. Hodes ended up losing that year to the GOP candidate, former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte.
While the building is rich in recent history, it isn’t the reason the Bush campaign moved in. The easy accessible location, the large space, and the relatively low rent are all reasons why political campaigns are repeatedly attracted to the facility.
"Our HQ is centrally located on Elm Street and provides a ton of flexible space inside to support our volunteers in their contact efforts of Granite State primary voters,” said Rich Killion, a veteran Granite State GOP strategist who’s guiding Bush’s campaign in New Hampshire.
NH1 News was the first organization to get a look at the headquarters. The campaign currently has a dozen paid staffers in the Granite State, more than any other Republican campaign at this point.
While the Elm Street building is their only facility right now, the Bush campaign says expect that the change very soon, with more field staff and more field offices coming on line in the next couple of months.
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