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June 9, 2013

N.H. campaigns heat up well ahead of election cycle

State sees early start to 2014, 2016 elections

(Continued)

The attacks on Ayotte and Shaheen may seem premature, but they don’t get the early-bird campaign award.

Enthusiasm builds for 2016

That goes to former state Democratic Party Chris Spirou for his move back in February to draft Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president in 2016.

But certainly Republicans are just as enthusiastic about the wide-open 2016 race without an incumbent president on the ballot.

“This race will be very interesting,” Breton said.

The conservative Cornerstone Action extended an invitation to up-and-coming Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to speak at a fall banquet. Paul spoke at a GOP fundraiser last month.

Polling by the University of New Hampshire and New England College in Henniker give Clinton a big lead in the 2016 Democratic field.

NEC had her at 65 percent with Vice President Joe Biden at 10 percent. UNH had Clinton at 61 percent, Biden at 7 percent.

Others showing up in early polls include New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner.

On the Republican side, UNH polling showed no clear front-runner. Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tied at the top with 15 percent, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan were in double figures, too, at 11 percent.

NEC had Rubio on top at 17 percent, but the others tightly clustered behind him, along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Ben Tafoya, an assistant professor of political science who oversees polling for NEC, said the results show two interesting, but totally different narratives.

“On the Republican side, the race is totally up for grabs,” Tafoya said. “On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is way out front.”

The GOP is where the real action is now.

“There’s no national successor to Mitt Romney,” Scala said. “There are a lot of people without national name recognition.”

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