Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at a national security forum in Manchester on Wednesday June 3

Jul 14, 2015 10:57 PM

Steinhauser: Graham back to NH to help Granite State preserve primary status

NH1 Political Director -

CONCORD – Lindsey Graham’s making a last minute trip to the Granite State Wednesday to try and protect New Hampshire’s special status as the first-in-the-nation primary state.

The senator from South Carolina and Republican presidential candidate will hold a news conference at City Hall in Manchester. According to a release from his campaign, Graham “will address the importance of protecting the valuable role that the early primary states play in vetting and testing the candidates, the danger of nationalizing the primary, and the Republican National Committee’s responsibility to ensure that the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, and the South Carolina primary remain significant.”

Only 10 candidates will make the stage at the first GOP presidential nomination debate, which Fox News is hosting August 6 in Cleveland (host city for next year’s Republican convention). With 15 candidates already declared and at least two more GOP White House hopefuls all but certain to announce, a bunch of contenders won’t make the cut. Fox News is using an average of national polling to determine who makes the stage, rather than surveys from the early voting states.

If the debate were held today, Graham wouldn’t make the cut.

Last month some of the top Republicans in New Hampshire sent an open letter to Fox News and the Republican National Committee that strongly criticized the move to limit the first debate to ten candidates.

Many in the Granite State see what Fox is doing as a real threat to the first-in-the-nation primary status, by winnowing the field of candidates before New Hampshire gets to do so.

This is the third trip to the Granite State so far this month for Graham, who acknowledges that a strong finish in next February’s primary is crucial to his longshot hopes of winning the nomination.

After the news conference in city hall, Graham becomes the latest GOP White House hopeful to do a walking tour with Mayor Ted Gatsas. Graham stays in Manchester, heading next to the Puritan Backroom,

Thursday Graham holds private meeting before heading over the Stratham Fair. Graham will tour the fairgrounds with former longtime state representative and former state House Speaker Doug Scamman.

Graham makes his fourth trip to New Hampshire this month on the 22nd, when he speaks to the Greater Derry-Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.


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