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New threat to old ways in N.H.’s primary politics

Most GOP hopefuls look to TV debates, not local meetings

Mitt Romney has held many local campaign events in New Hampshire, such as this one in Nashua during the summer, but Newt Gingrich has been closing in on his lead in the state. Mitt Romney has held many local campaign events in New Hampshire, such as this one in Nashua during the summer, but Newt Gingrich has been closing in on his lead in the state. (Jim Cole/Associated Pres/File)
By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / December 4, 2011
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Every four years, New Hampshire politicians trot out their Rockwellian vision of good old-fashioned campaigning in grange halls and clapboard churches to justify why the state deserves to hold the nation’s first primary. But this year, debates and national television appearances, not face-to-face encounters, have driven the race, propelling some candidates into the top tier and relegating others to the back of the pack, nationally and in New Hampshire. The decline in traditional politicking has prompted some soul-searching about the future of the New Hampshire primary.

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