Republican Candidates Become New Hampshire Tourist Traps

01/09/2012 09:11 am ET | Updated Jan 09, 2012

The unspoken truth about political events in New Hampshire is that they are not merely attended by Granite Staters. They are packed with Bostonians, folks from Vermont and, frequently, people who have traveled even further to get an up close look at primary bloodsport.

No one knows this better than Jackie Kucinich, whose father Dennis, a liberal congressman from Ohio, campaigned for the Democratic Party Nomination in 2004 and 2008. Ms. Kucinich returned to New Hampshire recently as a journalist for USA Today and discovered that the campaign trail still overlaps with the road more touristed.

"At a rally for Mitt Romney in Manchester on Wednesday, it was difficult to find anyone who was a New Hampshire resident," Kucinich writes. "The same was true Sunday at a forum held by former House speaker Newt Gingrich where people packed into the Don Quijote Restaurant."

Though political tourism might seem a step away from hot button issues, the trend is many a candidate's dirty little secret. Rick Santorum unwisely demonstrated this truth last week. "How many political tourists are there in the room?" Santorum asked at a rally, only to be met by a field of hands.

Alex and Stella Miller of New York, who regularly trek to New Hampshire during election season, later told Patch that a Santorum event described in the press as boasting "an overflow crowd" was actually attended by a less than enthusiastic crowd, "more than 60 percent" of which was "either anti-Santorum or out-of-town political tourists." Probably better not to ask for a show of hands.

Though New Hampshire's location and size make it a perfect destination for poltical tourists, Iowa also sees its fair share of visitors. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Ron Paul presided over rallies largely consisting of non-Iowans.

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