President Donald Trump is returning to New Hampshire for a rally in Manchester the day after the Republican National Convention, and just weeks after canceling a similar event in Portsmouth, NH.
According to the campaign, the rally is scheduled for the PeriCohas Hangar on Perimeter Road at 6pm. It will be his first campaign stop after the semi-virtual RNC wraps up in Charlotte, N.C. on Thursday. It appears to back up claims by the Trump campaign that they’re going to play hard in New Hampshire to flip its four electoral college votes in November.
Last week, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed to NHJournal that President Trump was planning a return Granite State visit “sooner rather than later.”
“New Hampshire is a state President Trump looks forward to winning in November,” Lewandowski said. “Biden doesn’t share our New Hampshire values of smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation,” Lewandowski said.
“The President is always welcome in New Hampshire, a state he is clearly committed to winning, unlike Joe Biden,” NHGOP state chair Steve Stepanek told NHJournal. “Our grassroots army is working hard day in and day out to ensure that we deliver the Granite State this November.”
New Hampshire Democrats pounced on the news of Trump’s return. “Dear Mr. President, stay away. New Hampshire is not a photo op,” Executive Councilor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky tweeted. He also urged Sununu to join fellow New England Republican Governors Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont “in denouncing Trump.”
Volinsky’s primary opponent, state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, went even farther, calling on Sununu to stop the event.
“A rally this large with people packed together threatens public health and creates more uncertainty and more concern with schools about to reopen,” Feltes said in a statement. “Governor Sununu should protect public health, and for once, stand up to Trump and just say No,” Feltes said.
Trump’s decision to return to New Hampshire comes at an interesting time. The Biden campaign just increased the size of its local staff to 40, a significant number for a relatively small state — particularly one GOP presidential candidates have only carried once in the past 32 years.
On the eve of her loss to Sen. Bernie Sanders in the vital First in the Nation primary, Hillary Clinton had a paid staff of 50 on the ground. The FITN primary is one of the most important races for any presidential campaign. Has New Hampshire’s November outcome achieved similar status?
Veteran GOP communications advisor Pat Hynes says playing hard in New Hampshire makes sense. “I think we’re in the midst of a political realignment. The blue-collar voters Democrats have counted on to carry New Hampshire are in play as the GOP looks more like Laconia and Claremont than Bow and Bedford.
“You can see a real path forward for Trump here that wasn’t available for Mitt Romney,” Hynes said.