As the New Hampshire Primary approaches, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) at Saint Anselm College has been busy welcoming potential presidential candidates to campus. New Hampshire is a must-visit stop on the campaign trail for any candidate hoping for success.
In the beginning of February, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, held a town hall at the Institute. As a Republican presidential candidate, Haley spoke about foreign policy, education, and how her role as an ambassador would be beneficial to the country. Haley participated in a 60-second interview with a Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador, in which she spoke about her enthusiasm for college students and young voters. Haley remarked that Gen Z is an untapped resource that will help America fix major issues in the future. She returned to the Institute on May 24 for the first Politics & Eggs Series of 2023.
The American Stage Series kicked off on March 3, 2023, with the arrival of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. As an environmental lawyer, Kennedy spoke about climate change and global warming. He also sat down with student ambassador Maya Pontes ’26 and gave advice to students pursuing an interest in environmental studies. Following his visit, Kennedy formally announced his Democratic presidential campaign on April 19, 2023.
Another exciting event that took place was the town hall hosted by Governor Chris Christie. Christie ran in the 2016 Republican presidential race and took part in the Republican debate hosted at Saint Anselm College in 2016. Christie was very interactive with the crowd and student ambassadors. At his town hall, the Governor was quick to criticize former President Trump and was hoping a Republican candidate could defeat him in the nomination. His status as a potential presidential candidate remains unclear but should be known in the coming days.
On April 18, the Mayor of Miami Francis X. Suarez, was welcomed for the continuation of the American Stage Series. As mayor, Suarez came to the state of New Hampshire hoping to gain support in a potential presidential run; as a Republican, he’d add another candidate to the long list of contenders. Suarez was very engaged in the crowd, even handing out his personal phone number so the audience could reach him at any time. After the event, Suarez met with student ambassadors asking for their opinions of his potential run. He compared himself to the horse that won the Kentucky Derby race in 2022, stating that he would be the underdog that comes out in victory.
Wrapping up the month, the Institute hosted a special event with the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication titled “Stepping Up and Standing Out: Women’s Political Participation in 2024” on April 24. The special guest was Emmy-winning journalist and former TV news executive Betsy Fischer Martin. Joined by Jennifer Lucas of the Politics Department, they discussed the future for women in politics, both in terms of the 2024 election specifically and overall participation. Fischer Martin is also the Executive Director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, and she presented extensive polling data collected by her program.
On May 1, Michigan businessman Perry Johnson stopped by the Institute for a press conference to garner support for his candidacy. Just two months prior to his visit, he announced that he is in the running in the Republican presidential race. At the conclusion of his conference, he met with students to discuss how he can shape his platform for college students and young voters. He asked many questions such as, “Why young voters vote Democrat?” or “What are the issues that concern college students?” Each student received his signed book and was toured his campaign bus.
CNN Political Analyst John Avlon returned to campus on May 2, as part of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics Bookmark Series to discuss his newest book, Lincoln and the Fight for Peace. This was his second time to participate in this author series in the last five years. This event was a moderated discussion with history professor Hugh Dubrulle. For over an hour, Avlon explored President Lincoln’s vision for peace and the fundamental importance of character when leading the nation.
The month of May continued to be extremely busy, as Senator Tim Scott hosted a town hall on May 8th to discuss his interest in the GOP race. Exactly two weeks from his visit to the Hilltop, Scott officially declared his candidacy. With the tagline “Faith in America,” the senator shared his vision lead the country with conservative ideals. Scott is the first Black senator from South Carolina and currently the only Black Republican senator in DC.
The last major event of the semester was a town hall hosted by CNN who welcomed former President Trump. This event gained national attention and brought many well-known news outlets to campus.
Despite the controversial decision to move the first Democratic primary to South Carolina, the excitement for the 2024 campaign season continues to build at the Institute. The months leading up to the GOP primary, which is slated for February 13, 2024, will be a very busy time. The Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassadors are excited to take part in these events and to network with guests, VIPS, and industry experts.