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From Paul Steinhauser in the 603 - what to watch:

  • Beto O’Rourke’s whirlwind 48 hours in NH

  • The Texas two-step

  • Gabbard on the fence over some progressive litmus test items

  • Booker sets up shop

  • Weld’s big week ahead

Beto-mania blasts New Hampshire

Beto O’Rourke swept into the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state on Tuesday evening, and after a jam-packed 48-hour swing with stops in all ten of New Hampshire’s counties, the former-three term congressman from Texas turned Democratic Party rock star turned presidential candidate swept away many of the doubts in the 603 about his nascent campaign for the White House. The candidate’s Granite State itinerary was still a work in progress, even as O’Rourke and a couple of aides drove the nine hours from State College, Pennsylvania to Keene on Tuesday. But thanks to his social media mastery, and some smart advance work by a couple of locally based Democratic operatives who were helping him out in setting the table, O’Rourke drew big crowds and lots energy to his events. Along the way, the candidate fielded hundreds of questions from audience members and the media, and further cemented his status as an important contender for the Democratic nomination.
Concord Monitor 
Fox News  Fox News on Israel 
Seacoast Online  Seacoast Online on Gun Control
Keene Sentinel  Packed crowds 
WATCH: WMUR TV coverage 
WATCH: A 2020 prediction 
WATCH: Unionizing his campaign 
WATCH: Late term abortion 
WATCH: Electoral College

 

The Texas two-step

As former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was departing New Hampshire, El Paso native O’Rourke was arriving. Contrasting himself with O’Rourke and other rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Julian Castro on Monday – during his jam-packed 24 hour NH visit -  stressed that he’s “spoken in concrete and specific terms” and “didn’t grow up the front runner.” Castro, who later served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, also acknowledged his bid was a long shot, saying “if the election were held tomorrow, I know that I wouldn’t win tomorrow. But the election’s not held tomorrow. We still have 47 weeks until New Hampshire votes.”
Fox News
WATCH: WMUR coverage  
WATCH: Castro on DNC learning lessons 
WATCH: Castro contrasts with O’Rourke

WATCH

Gabbard crisscrosses the FITN state

As four-term Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii arrived in New Hampshire, Politico took aim at her Democratic presidential campaign. But Gabbard’s second trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state since declaring her candidacy included a busy itinerary full of larger town halls and smaller retail stops, plus lots of media appearances.
Concord Monitor
NHPR 
WMUR 
WATCH

 

You can feel the love

Best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson, a long shot for the nomination, returned to the Granite State this week, keeping to a busy schedule during a three day swing.
Concord Monitor
WMUR 
LISTEN:
 Williamson sits down for ‘Pints and Politics’ 


Hickenlooper’s weekend in NH

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper –now a declared presidential candidate – on Friday kicked off a three day weekend of stumping with a roundtable discussion in Manchester with Granite Staters working in community service organizations.
WMUR


But wait, there’s more

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts campaigns in the northern part of New Hampshire on Saturday and Sunday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota holds an event in Rye on Sunday.

Delaney on deck

Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, who launched his presidential bid in the summer of 2017, returns to NH for his 16th trip since declaring his candidacy. As the Concord Monitor and Seacoast Online reported, he’ll make stops next week in Dover, Durham, Epping, Henniker, Hooksett, Peterborough, & Manchester for a round-table on the opioid crisis.
TWEET 
 

Booker sets up shop
The Concord Monitor learned this week that Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker signed a lease for his New Hampshire campaign headquarters. And the building he’s chosen has a lot of political pedigree. The office, at 225 Eddy Road in Manchester, is visible from I-293. The office was the headquarters for Maggie Hassan’s successful 2012 campaign for governor. In the 2016 New Hampshire primary, the building served as headquarters for then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. And last year then-Executive Councilor Chris Pappas set up shop in the building as he successfully ran for Congress in the state’s First District.
TWEET

Harris doubles NH staff

Sen. Kamala Harris of California is adding two key aides to her presidential campaign staff in New Hampshire.
WMUR

Weld’s interesting week ahead

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld’s been making the rounds in New Hampshire nearly every week since announcing last month that he was setting up a presidential exploratory committee as a first step towards a possible longshot primary challenge against Republican President Donald Trump. The trips have become so frequent they don’t really require media attention. But looking at his itinerary for this upcoming week, two stops stand out. On Monday, he meets publicly with Steve Duprey, a former longtime New Hampshire GOP chair and current high profile committee member of the Republican National Committee. In January, the RNC voted unanimously to approve a resolution throwing the party’s undivided support behind the president. While the resolution was largely symbolic, it is also unusual, because the RNC traditionally refrained from expressing support for a candidate before he or she officially becomes the party’s nominee.

 

Duprey was highly critical of Trump’s criticism this week of the late Sen. John McCain. That’s no surprise, as Duprey was one of the Arizona senator’s closest friends and a top adviser on McCain’s 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. Duprey, by the way, didn’t attend that January RNC meeting where the pro-Trump resolution was passed. He said if had been there, he would have abstained on voting for the resolution, arguing that the state party has always remained neutral in the New Hampshire primary. Weld’s other high profile meeting is with Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is a supporter of the president and has close ties to Vice President Mike Pence. Weld’s meeting with Sununu is behind closed doors.

On Background

Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker and former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secy. Julian Castro all join ‘On Background’ – the NHTalkradio.com program that’s all about #NHpolitics
LISTEN


That's all we have, enjoy the weekend! You can follow Paul here and contact Kieran here