Might New Hampshire relent on its 'first primary' status? Not a chance.(Read article summary)
New Hampshire residents are so determined that they once chose someone who insisted he wasn't even running for president. No way they'll let some other state horn in on their first-in-the-nation turf.
Don't mess with New Hampshire.
That's our advice to states jostling to move up their primaries or caucuses to have more influence on the presidential nomination process. Yes, we're looking at you Nevada, now that you've moved up your caucus to Jan. 14. Don't think you're going to horn in on the Granite State's turf. You'll notice that New Hampshire on Monday opened registration for its as-yet unscheduled first-in-the-nation primary vote.
New Hampshire really will hold that election in December to maintain its clear primacy in primaries, as it is threatening to do. If it has to it will turn back time and hold it last March.
You want to know how independent voters up there are? They once chose someone who hadnâ€™t entered their primary, wasnâ€™t running for president, and was working out of the country at the time. He ended up winning the general election and served two terms in the White House. Thatâ€™s one reason a former governor, John Sununu, boasted in 1988 that â€śthe people of Iowa pick corn; the people of New Hampshire pick presidents.â€ť
The story is this: In December 1951 Dwight Eisenhower was serving in Europe as NATOâ€™s first supreme commander. For years heâ€™d done his best to ignore all the people begging him to enter politics. People werenâ€™t even sure to which party his allegiance belonged.
Finally a committed â€śDraft Ikeâ€ť partisan forced the issue. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (R) of Massachusetts entered Eisenhower in the New Hampshire primary without the latterâ€™s authorization. In response, Ike said that yes, heâ€™d accept the GOP nomination if it were offered. But Republicans would have to forcibly draft him â€“ he was not going to actively campaign.
Thatâ€™s the kind of flintiness they respect in the White Mountains. On March 11, 1952, the uncampaigner noncandidate Eisenhower beat the GOP front-runner of the day, conservative Sen. Howard Taft of Ohio, in a walk â€“ 50 percent to 38 percent. â€śConvinced of being called to a higher duty, he announced his candidacy the next day,â€ť says a history of the incident from the Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College.
Eisenhowerâ€™s subsequent presidency indirectly produced a New Hampshire primary record. Only one person has won the Granite State contest three times â€“ Ikeâ€™s old Vice President Richard Nixon, who triumphed there in 1960, 1968, and 1972.