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NH Primary Spending: Trump, Haley, Biden’s Big Investments

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In New Hampshire, the first state to host a primary, voters get a special chance to really get to know the candidates.

Every four years, when presidential hopefuls flock to the Granite State, New Hampshire people like candidates who make a personal effort – meeting them, shaking hands, and answering their questions straight up.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire explains, “We are used to asking them direct questions and we expect direct answers, and we make better candidates and better presidents as a result.”

How Much Cash Did Republicans Pour into New Hampshire? 

When it was time for New Hampshire to vote, only two Republicans were still in the running: Ex-President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. But the ballot still listed others who had bowed out, having already spent money to win over the state.

AdImpact, a company that keeps tabs on ad spending, reports that a whopping $300 million has been splashed out in the race for the Republican presidential nod. A hefty two-thirds of this was spent in the first two states to vote, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Most of this cash came from super PACs and other big groups.

Digging into the numbers, it’s clear that the Haley super PAC has spent way more than Trump’s on New Hampshire ads, trying to get one up on the former president.

The Haley team shelled out nearly $30 million on ramping up her campaign in New Hampshire, hitting over 100 spots in the state, says the campaign.

Mark Harris, a consultant with SFA Fund Inc., a super PAC backing Haley, mentioned that all the cash dropped in the Granite State aimed to boost their visibility. Snagging at least 40% of the votes was their target.

Harris mentioned that New Hampshire was all about cutting down the competition for Haley.

“Our goal was always to get to a two person race by South Carolina. So, the fact that that happened is a huge win for us,” he said.

He also shared with reporters on Tuesday that the PAC is ready to spend whatever it takes in South Carolina.

On the other hand, Trump dropped close to $13 million and only made 16 appearances in New Hampshire, based on CBS data.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who bowed out of the race just two days before the primary, didn’t put as much time or money into New Hampshire as his competitors. He spent around $8 million there, and didn’t spend anything beyond Iowa.

His campaign and three super PACs didn’t put any cash into New Hampshire ads. This really showed that DeSantis didn’t see much hope in the state. He made 48 visits there, though.

DeSantis admitted in a video posted on X, “We don’t have a clear path to victory.”

What’s the Spending Total for Democrats in New Hampshire? 

This year was a bit different for Democrats in New Hampshire. President Biden didn’t visit the state, and his name wasn’t on the ballot. Even so, his supporters kicked off a big write-in campaign. But, the Democratic party said no delegates would be given to the winner of Tuesday’s unofficial primary.

Mr. Biden shook things up by not taking part in the Democratic primary, focusing instead on South Carolina. New Hampshire held its primary first regardless, so the Democratic party won’t be giving out any delegates from Tuesday’s primary at the August convention. Still, Mr. Biden’s fans pushed for a write-in campaign for a symbolic win.

Mr. Biden’s supporters, including Granite for America, a super PAC led by Kathy Sullivan, former head of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, really went to bat for him in the state. They spent over $1.2 million on ads and mailers, as reported by Politico and The Washington Post. Democratic bigwigs like Rep. Ro Khanna from California and Hassan also made the rounds in New Hampshire, encouraging people to write Mr. Biden’s name on the ballot.

Rep. Dean Phillips, a Democratic underdog who argues Mr. Biden’s age is a disadvantage against Trump in November, poured $5 million of his own money into New Hampshire. 

Why Do Candidates Pour Time and Money into New Hampshire? 

New Hampshire’s early primary race gives locals a chance to really get to know the candidates, either from TV or their many public visits.

“What’s unique about New Hampshire in this capacity, we have to vet candidates in a way and give them a wide range of experiences in a small state,” Hassan said. “You don’t need a big war chest or a big entourage to make your case.” 

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