Covering almost all public campaign events attended by the candidates and speaking to voters, I’m starting to get a sense of what this race is about.
This list is in no way intended to be perfect or scientific — it’s just one person’s observations from the Granite state.
Have a question about something? Disagree with me? Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. It’s 2008 change and hope all over again — for Republicans
No, these are not old campaign clichés pulled from Barack Obama’s stump speeches. But these Republican sound bites certainly sound like it.
Perhaps it is my fascination with words and rhetoric, but it’s hard to miss the similarities between Democratic language in the 2008 elections and the things Republicans are saying in this one.
For many Republicans — or at least the ones coming to campaign events — there is a clear sense that this is their time for change.
What this specifically means for each candidate is still unclear, but it’s sure to have an impact at the polls. And probably doesn’t bode well for Charlie Bass.
2. Bob Giuda has a very strong handshake
Whether he’ll run an equally strong race against his Republican opponents in the primary is still yet to be determined. But you can’t help but admire the man — he’s clearly a person of passion and principles.
As a former captain in the Marines with a penchant for foreign policy and personal responsibility — and a son in the Navy and two sons-in-law who’ve been to Iraq — you can tell Giuda means what he says.
But whether his palpable anger with government waste and irresponsibility will translate to votes in the election is still up in the air — and will likely serve as a good measure of the true extent of Republican desire for change.
3. People really don’t like Washington
There certainly seems to be a bit more fondness for government among Democrats, but that “voter anger” the media likes to write about sure seems real to me.
And in response, every candidate in the race is basically trying to run as a political outsider, campaigning against the waste and corruption they perceive in government today.
I don’t know if any see the irony in their quests to join government as a method of fixing it. But each is billing himself as someone who will bring some “Yankee common sense” to Congress should he be elected. And voters seem to like this.
4. Giuda and Horn have serious potential — if they can get it out there
But Republican meetings they’ve attended seem sparsely populated — they need to find a way to connect with voters and tell them why they are different from Bass.
Bass served the 2nd district for 12 years, and the most current polling data shows that familiarity is serving him well.
The other two will need to do more than speak to town Republican meetings — often attended by as few as seven people — to get their names out there and present a formidable challenge to their better-known rival.
5. Where’s the support?
This is a random observation, but I haven’t seen many yard signs in front yards or stickers on back bumpers supporting candidates yet — from either party or any race.
Maybe it’s only June and people aren’t fired up yet, but for a state that touts its passion for politics, the grass and back bumpers don’t seem to be reflecting that yet.
—Up next: Check back tomorrow for a recap of the best quotes of the week.