According to one influential New Hampshire Republican, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has not emerged as a favourite with local activists in the crucial early primary state.
In fact, Bruce Perlo, Chair of New Hampshire’s Grafton County GOP, said it seems like area Republicans prefer other options.
Bush is currently campaigning in New Hampshire and Perlo was among the local conservatives who gathered Thursday night in Concord, NH for a “Politics and Pie” town hall-style event. Perlo said local Republicans don’t have bad things to say about Bush, but they are gravitating towards other candidates.
“What I haven’t heard is people saying, ‘I don’t like Jeb Bush because he’s a Bush or I don’t like his policies,'” Perlo told Business Insider. “They have just said nothing. What I’m hearing is that they think Cruz, or Rubio is a better guy. They haven’t tried to knock anybody down.”
Jennifer Horn, chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, similarly concluded that while Bush has dominated the fundraising race, he hasn’t locked down an advantage in the Granite State.
“You don’t have to raise $US100 million to be heard in New Hampshire,” she told the New York Times, adding, “There are no front-runners here right now.”
At the event on Thursday, Bush spoke for 15 minutes and then answered questions for about an hour. Perlo said he thought Bush was impressive. He specifically praised the Floridian for maintaining his cool when one attendee pushed back against Bush’s immigrant position.
“I thought he handled one rather acerbic objection in a good way,” Perlo said, adding that he was pleasantly surprised with Bush’s lightheartedness.
“He made a bunch of jokes, took shots at the other side, nothing mean, just funny things. He’s a very funny guy. I didn’t realise he had such a good sense of humour,” Perlo said. “People were very positive about him. I didn’t hear anybody say, ‘wow this guy’s a loser.’ I think of who I talked to everybody thinks he is certainly one of the top three contenders in the Republican race.”
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