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Prominent Republicans, Democrats Looking Ahead To 2020 With New Hampshire Visits


New Hampshire is already seeing a stream of early visitors eyeing a possible 2020 presidential run. Democrats and Republicans are dropping in on the state that hosts the first presidential primary, still almost two years away. NPR's Don Gonyea is also there.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: This is former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley greeting New Hampshire voters at St. Anselm College's Politics & Eggs breakfast yesterday.


MARTIN O'MALLEY: We've got to keep the eggs.

GONYEA: A Democrat who ran last time and fared poorly, he reflected on 2016, finding one bright spot.


O'MALLEY: Say what we will as a party about Donald Trump, he has been the most effective tool for candidate recruitment we have ever had.

GONYEA: O'Malley's referring to all of the new Democrats running for federal, state and local offices these days. But he could also be talking about the coming 2020 presidential field. Here is a partial list of Democrats who've been here in recent months - Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, former Cabinet secretary Julian Castro and Congressman Tim Ryan. And on the Republican side, Senator Jeff Flake was here last month, and just last night, another veteran of the 2016 race.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Please join me in welcoming to New England College the governor of Ohio, John Kasich.


GONYEA: Governor Kasich, like Senator Flake, has emerged as one of the strongest Republican critics of Trump. That was on display last night. Take the president's Easter comments that he would end the DACA program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. Kasich had this to say.


JOHN KASICH: If we believe in justice, and if we believe in compassion, then there would be no reason why we would take somebody who was brought to this country at the age of 6 who's now 26 with a spouse and children and announce to them that we're shipping you out.

GONYEA: And then there was this when asked about the White House floating the idea of an Oval Office meeting with Vladimir Putin.


KASICH: You mean, like, now? No, not now. I mean, receive him to do what?

GONYEA: Those comments are about President Trump. But Kasich also directed this at some of Trump's strongest supporters, those who see themselves as victims of a changing economy.


KASICH: We need to address their problems. And we cannot allow them to call themselves victims. Victims are people who have a very hard time being able to get up on their feet. Victimhood leads to anger, and anger never leads to anything good.

GONYEA: In the audience was 60-year-old Gary Glines, a veteran of the first Iraq war. He says in November of 2016, he wrote in Kasich's name. He says he's increasingly alarmed with the Trump presidency.

GARY GLINES: Just watching the revolving door, it just seems like he's not in control. That means the country's not in control.

GONYEA: If Kasich does run as a Republican, he'd face an incumbent president with an approval rating currently at 80 percent among New Hampshire Republicans. Jennifer Horn, a former state GOP chairwoman, was there last night. She says it's an unusual time in Republican Party politics thanks to Trump.

JENNIFER HORN: People kind of aren't sure where he falls on any given day on any given issue. And I think that that opens the door to someone like John Kasich or any of a number of others to come in and make an argument for themselves.

GONYEA: Any decisions on whether to run may not come until after this year's midterm elections. Meantime, look for plenty of possible candidates dropping into New Hampshire just saying hello. Don Gonyea, NPR News, Manchester. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
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