(The Center Square) – The New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus are quickly approaching, making events like the Republican presidential debates more crucial, especially fastidious Granite State voters.
The New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity hosted a debate watch party in Manchester on Wednesday night. Organizers noted a different vibe with participants than the two prior debates, attributing it to voters “dialing in” on candidates.
AFP’s Greg Moore said the group was particularly quiet during the debate, suggesting they listened intently to the candidates trying to decide. However, out of about 60, only five said they had made up their minds post-debate.
While most are still undecided on who they will support in the primary, which candidate they would like to vote off the debate stage seems clearer.
Some observers, including Moore, think former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did better in this debate, although it appears the die has been cast on the presidential hopeful. Moore and other observers wonder why Christie is even still in the race.
Moore said therew was appreciation for fewer candidates on the stage as it allowed voters to hear from them without being interrupted or cut off.
In previous debates, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy scored well; many are still drawn to his message, especially his reluctance to pull the nation into another drawn-out war.
“They are concerned about getting America into another conflict, they’re concerned about the dollars. Concerned about not repeating the 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Moore told The Center Square.
Despite Ramaswamy’s appeal on foreign policy, some of his ideas are being taken with a grain of salt – specifically his proposal to build a wall along the northern border.
“Vivek tosses a lot of ideas out there to see what sticks, like a data test,” but New Hampshire voters “are savvy,” Moore said.
State House Majority Leader Rep. Jason Osborne, R-Rockingham, who was in attendance, was not impressed with Ramaswamy’s behavior.
Ramaswamy garnered a lot of attention after attacking former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s daughter for using TikTok. Moore said it wasn’t a high point for either candidate, including Haley’s “scum” retort.
“He continued to reveal his utter lack of ability to work with others, disqualifying him as a leader … Vivek is an aimless bomb thrower,“ Osborne told The Center Square.
“A lot of women in the room thought he came across too strong,” said Moore of the 37-year-old billionaire.
Both Moore and Osborne concurred those attending were void of comment with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.
“Not one person mentioned Scott or his performance,” said Moore.
Moore says New Hampshire voters may not be happy with Scott’s decision to “pull up stakes in New Hampshire and moved his super PAC to Iowa.”
There was a consensus that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a decent night.
Osborne, a DeSantis supporter, said the governor had a lot of high points during the evening.
“DeSantis remains the cool and collected, unflappable, champion of the people. He has the demeanor of a man who takes care of business,” Osborne said.
Osborne is confident DeSantis will finish second in the Granite State, especially if the field narrows further. However, he did say that the governor needs to spend more time in the state.
“He has not been here much. He needs to spend a good solid two weeks in the state,” Osborne said.