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Clinton, Sanders to Face Off in New Hampshire Town Hall

  • Chris Hannas

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand together before the start of the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada Oct. 13, 2015.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stand together before the start of the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada Oct. 13, 2015.

With U.S. presidential candidates now focusing their attention on the northeastern state of New Hampshire, they will once again turn to a round of debates to make their cases before voters make their choice on Tuesday.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, fresh off her narrow win in Iowa, is taking part in a town hall event Wednesday night with Senator Bernie Sanders, and the Democrats have a standard debate scheduled for Thursday. Republicans are set to hold their debate on Saturday.

While the small state is rural, like much of Iowa, analysts say its Republican electorate is much less religious than the group of voters that helped give Texas Senator Ted Cruz a 28-to-24 percent margin over the billionaire Trump in Iowa. Another conservative, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, finished a close third with 23 percent.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meets with attendees during a campaign stop Feb. 2, 2016, in Milford, N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meets with attendees during a campaign stop Feb. 2, 2016, in Milford, N.H.

Sanders, Trump lead polls

Pre-election voter surveys in New Hampshire show Trump with a commanding lead over other Republican challengers, but the polling was conducted before Tuesday's Iowa caucus. Trump had led the polls in Iowa for months as well.

Surveys of Democratic voters in New Hampshire show Sanders, who represents adjoining Vermont in the Senate, with a wide lead over Clinton, the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. But she told CNN Tuesday, "I feel good about my prospects" in New Hampshire and that she is looking forward to the events Wednesday and Thursday for her and Sanders to showcase their differences.

Several Republican candidates, all calling themselves conservatives but minus some of the harsher rhetoric employed by Cruz, are looking to New Hampshire to revive their campaigns after poor showings in the farm state of Iowa.

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during a campaign stop, Feb. 2, 2016, in Newbury, N.H.

Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during a campaign stop, Feb. 2, 2016, in Newbury, N.H.

Hoping to re-energize campaigns

Ohio Governor John Kasich, endorsed by The New York Times for the Republican nomination, has campaigned for weeks in New Hampshire and has pulled to second place behind Trump in some voter surveys in the state.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said at his New Hampshire headquarters that he intends to campaign hard in the state in the coming week and declared, "We can stop with the Donald Trump inevitability, because the guy who does nothing but win lost last night."

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two U.S. presidents, has made numerous political stops in New Hampshire and is also looking to breathe new life into his well-funded, but stumbling campaign. He said New Hampshire voters often "reset" political expectations as the effect of the Iowa results fades into the past.

Rubio nearly overtook Trump for second place in Iowa and is viewed by some Republicans as the candidate with possibly the broadest voter appeal in the November national election against the eventual Democratic nominee.

A spokesman for Rubio, with a Cuban-American heritage like Cruz, dismissed the chances of Kasich, Christie and Bush, saying the contest has now boiled down to a three-way race among Cruz, Trump and Rubio.

Rubio wasted no time in attacking Cruz, alleging that Cruz's career is "one of calculation." The Florida senator said Cruz has "criticized (Trump's) New York values but has raised millions of dollars in New York City."

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a caucus night rally, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a caucus night rally, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Iowa win significance

In past presidential elections, Republican conservative stalwarts who won in Iowa faded as the race moved to other states. But Cruz told CNN, "I believe we have the national campaign and infrastructure to capitalize."

Trump tweeted, "Because I was told I could not do well in Iowa, I spent very little there, a fraction of Cruz & Rubio. Came in a strong second. Great honor."

In the Democratic race, Sanders greeted a large crowd of supporters from a flat bed truck at 5 a.m. as he arrived in New Hampshire after a flight from Iowa. He said after his virtual deadlock with Clinton in Iowa, his campaign is going to "astound the world again" in next week's voting.

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