James Pindell notes the potentially decisive importance of field operations to the upcoming election in New Hampshire in a recap of the critical Senate race between Governor Maggie Hassan and Tea Party darling Kelly Ayotte, holding the line for Southern-style GOP hard-liners way up in reality-based New England.
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But if the presidential race is close and the Senate race remains within the margin of error, the tiebreaker may have less to do with branding — and more to do with the operations of each campaign.
In that respect too, Ayotte will be forging her own path.
Hassan’s campaign is part of a coordinated Democratic party operation fueled by hundreds of staffers and thousands of volunteers — and their efforts benefit not only Hillary Clinton but Hassan as well.
In past elections, Republicans have implemented a similar model for the party’s nominees. But Trump has not invested in much of a ground game this year in New Hampshire, leaving the get-out-the-vote efforts to roughly 50 staffers from the Republican National Committee.
Merrill, who oversaw Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign in New Hampshire, conceded that Democrats have a much stronger field operation in 2016 than Republicans do.
“What Republicans have right now is nothing like what we had four years ago with Mitt,” Merrill said. “However Ayotte, on her own, has built her own field operation and her own brand.”