For Jeb Bush, New Hampshire is hope
CONCORD, N.H. — In the most likely state to resurrect or finish off Jeb Bush’s presidential ambitions, men like Michael Rossi, a soft-spoken retired food service employee in Concord, are far more important than any poll, TV ad or inflammatory Donald Trump news conference.
“Well, so far this year I’ve met Trump once,” Rossi said one sunny morning while waiting for Trump to show up at the state Capitol to file his candidacy papers.
“And I’ve met John Kasich, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Jeb, and — I think that’s all so far. . . . I haven’t really narrowed down my short list yet,” he explained.
One hears such comments constantly in New Hampshire, where in less than 100 days half as many voters than Hillsborough County will have an enormous role in picking the Republican nominee.
Thirty-five miles south, 48-year-old hair stylist Kim Boyce and three friends waiting for a town hall meeting with Marco Rubio to start, laughed incredulously about campaign workers promising that if they moved to an overflow area outside the main auditorium, Rubio likely would come shake hands afterward.
“Like we’re fans? We’re not fans,” she scoffed. “We’re here to see him and to see if we might become fans. We’re just starting to see all these candidates.”
“This is a long road,” said a chuckling Gail Miserandino, a fellow Merrimack resident. “We may change our minds more than once. . . . And we probably won’t decide until the last two days.”
This is not just talk. This, for Bush, is hope.
He needs a near miracle to turn around his sputtering campaign, and New Hampshire is a place that actually sometimes delivers them.