Candidates And Staffers Sweating Before New Hampshire Primary

By David Kamioner | February 10, 2020

You think you know what’s going to happen in New Hampshire on Tuesday?

So did Lyndon Johnson in 1968, Bob Dole in 1996, and Hillary Clinton in 2008. All thought they were going to win. All woke up Wednesday morning to a loss or disappointing results that cast a pall over their campaigns.

Johnson withdrew from the race, Dole went on to win the GOP nod but lose what should have been a Republican lay up after the Gingrich Revolution of 1994, and Hillary went on to lose the nomination to the disgraced 44th president.

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So the people in the Buttigieg, Sanders, Biden, and Warren campaigns are holding their breath, sweating in the snow, and working their tails off non-stop until the polls close Tuesday night. They’ve seen good and bad polls for them but they know polls are often wrong and New Hampshire likes surprising candidates.

I talked to a pal with Warren this morning and she says Liz will do better than they expected. That’s clever expectation management as you ersatz win no matter what, because you decide what you expected. This same person was talking actual win at Christmas.

I’ve been in her position before. Not in New Hampshire, but in dozens upon dozens of county, legislative, and statewide campaigns in the Mid-Atlantic region. There is a frisson, a live current running through staffer systems that is half dread and half picking out your office decor in the West Wing.

Phones are ringing with hardly a minute between calls, texts, and emails. Caffeine and tobacco are being consumed in mass quantities to make up for lack of sleep. Cheap sandwiches are being devoured with a Red Bull chaser. You officially say you’re “cautiously optimistic” and you pretend a bravado. But inside you’re churning with the overwrought spasms of a psyche close to burnout.

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The day is so busy between now and Tuesday night, mostly with Get Out the Vote operations, that the smart efforts have stopped looking at polls, as they really don’t matter anymore. If you take a backwards glance at a poll or your opposition at this point you will be missing a half step towards victory. Thus, it’s flat out and no sleep tonight.

We’ll bring you the latest Tuesday night as soon as we can call it.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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