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On The Trail: Candidates troop to Concord to file for New Hampshire primary

Southerners Graham, Rubio and Cruz among the candidates filing for February 9 ballot

♦By Patrick Scanlan, contributor

on-the-trail-new-hampshireCONCORD, New Hampshire (CFP) — Presidential candidates have been spending important time in New Hampshire over the past two weeks, passing through the Secretary of State’s office to file for candidacy and secure a spot on the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary ballot. The filing period attracts unknown underdogs and current poll leaders alike, who will all share equal space on the New Hampshire ballot.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in New Hampshire

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in New Hampshire

The majority of candidates filing, including U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida, expressed support for keeping the New Hampshire primary first in the national nominating calendar, allowing any U.S. citizen the ability to run for president and set the tone for the rest of the election.

Graham called the retail politics of the Granite State “an antidote to big money.”

“This is the last place where you can break through without being rich,” Graham said. He said that increasingly, the modern political process, with an emphasis on national polls and use of social media, is changing the way candidates run for president.

“The way you become heard now is not going to house parties and town halls, it’s whatever you need to say or do to get your national polling up,” he said.

Cruz said that “if our first elections were decided by large states, they would all be decided by slick Hollywood TV ads” and the winners “would just be whoever spends the most money.”

Cruz also took time to talk about larger issues. He stressed the importance of uniting conservatives with “common sense conservative values” and cited his previous record of standing up to Washington and big government, especially dealing with complex current issues such as immigration.

“If the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton are both advocates of amnesty, millions of working men and women will say, ‘To heck with all of you, you’re a bunch of corrupt Washington cronies, and I ain’t showing up,” Cruz said.

During his tour through the State House in Concord, Rubio defended himself over recent headlines related to the controversy of his use of a Florida GOP credit card for personal expenses, which he said was being drummed up by his political opponents.

“Those aren’t public documents, guys. Those are documents that were leaked by the chairman of the Republican Party, who was supporting my opponents,” Rubio said.

“The main issue in this election is moving forward and understanding the challenges before American and the challenges before our people,” he said.

The New Hampshire primary is February 9.

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