Making up the most valuable of these highly prized team members are the party regulars- you know, those stuffy "big shots"- persons some might call the “usual suspects.” Although I am a (somewhat) young conservative more true to actual principles and values than I am to the party, and tend to view the rigid party types as too "establishment" for my liking, I do recognize the obvious, immediate benefit they bring to a campaign. With donor lists, phone numbers, and political IOUs in hand, these party apparatchiks can bring instant momentum to any political organization. The candidate that lands such people early in the game can be granted major candidate status because the people concerned want to be with a winner, and they are more privy than the rest of us to the "inside track." Their judgment must be given a degree of credibility. Count almost as important the successful, professional political operatives. They too wish to work for a winner, which always looks better in the portfolio.
Another way to roughly gauge a leading contender is the ability to draw a crowd and build excitement.
Based upon my criteria as noted, I am designating three main Republican frontrunners here in NH as of the start of October.
US Senator George Allen (R-Virginia)
US Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas)
US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee)
Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia)
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R-New York)
US Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska)
Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)
US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)
Governor George Pataki (R-New York)
US Secretary of State Condoleezza "Condi" Rice (R-California)
Governor Mitt Romney (R-Massachusetts)
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado)
Former Governor Tommy Thompson (R-Wisconsin)
Three former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairmen, representing 14 years of service, have offered their support to Senator John McCain’s Straight Talk America. Rhona Charbonneau (1989-1993) and Jayne Millerick (2003-2005) will serve as state advisors to guide Senator McCain’s efforts to help elect Republicans up and down the ballot in November’s election. Charbonneau and Millerick join former Republican Party Chair Steve Duprey (1993-2001), who announced his support earlier this year.
Guiliani: While he hasn’t yet announced any prominent NH supporters to my knowledge (please email me if you know otherwise), “America’s Mayor” can pack ‘em in. Consider this note, again, from PoliticsNH.com:
Victory NH has rescheduled its inaugural First in the Nation forum featuring former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani from October 12 to November 3, to accommodate unexpected demand for tickets. The event will take place in Manchester and a specific location will be announced in a few weeks. Hizzoner will still take part in a fundraiser for New Hampshire House Republicans on October 12. (9/29)