With every major Republican presidential hopeful descending on New Hampshire this weekend for the state’s first candidate forum, attention will turn for the moment from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s entry into the campaign to the fluid Republican race.
Few of New Hampshire’s influential Republican activists will commit to a candidate based solely on what they see at the two-day gathering in Nashua. But the audition there offers a chance for one of the 19 prospects expected to attend to break out of the pack in a state where there is no clear favorite.
As Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin demonstrated earlier this year at a similar gathering in Iowa, a strong performance at one of the so-called cattle calls for candidates can be enough to vault a candidate into the first tier.