On the Trail

Blog Post
Monday, February 25, 2019

During the latest Facing the Future program, political correspondent Paul Steinhauser and Concord Coalition New Hampshire State Director Tyler Sweeney discussed candidates running for president in 2020 and activities taking place in advance of the New Hampshire primary.

The candidates are talking about issues that relate to the nation’s fiscal and economic challenges, including health care, immigration and domestic investment focused on climate change.

“I have been everywhere; I’ve been criss-crossing the state,” said Steinhauser. “We’ve seen interesting and pretty healthy crowds over the last month and a half.”

“This field is shaping up, but it’s not set yet; we still have a ways to go,” he said. “A couple of the candidates have already put together some smart staffing moves here in New Hampshire.”  

Especially for lesser-known candidates, Steinhauser said, New Hampshire and Iowa will have “outsized importance.” These candidates will need to do well in those states to have “any prayer of making it into March and into Super Tuesday.”

Steinhauser said that because the most attention  is focused on the Democratic field, the audiences at events are more progressive and this is reflected in the issues being discussed on the trail.

“There are questions about everything and anything,” he said. “I’ve got to give credit to New Hampshire voters . . . they take very seriously this tradition of holding the first primary in the nation.”

Sweeney said that he and Concord Coalition volunteers have already attended several campaign events and engaged presidential candidates on fiscal issues. “And as people keep coming into the state, we’re going to keep on going around asking them the tough questions,” he said.

He said that candidates are treating New Hampshire with the attention it demands as the first-in-the-nation primary, in spite of recent chatter that the state is perhaps slipping from its stronghold.

“These candidates are going back to the way that New Hampshire politics has always done things,” Sweeney said. “They’re going face-to-face with people.”

He added: “We want to make sure that when people are coming out here and they’re promising things, that we’re going to have an accountability to those promises. “One of my volunteers said it pretty well. He said, ‘I don’t want a promise, I want a plan.’ ”

“A promise is a campaign slogan that gets you elected,” he said. “A plan is something that sets us up for the future.”

Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.