Folks in the Granite State are wondering where Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann has gone off to.
The Republican candidate for president hasn’t been around here since June 28.
She’s been in Iowa and South Carolina and Florida. But not here.
She certainly had a head of steam after an impressive showing at the GOP candidates debate earlier in June in Manchester.
And we certainly expected a victory lap of sorts after she won the straw poll in Ames, Iowa earlier this month.
But she’s been a ghost.
The truth of it is this: She may not want to be here as much as others may want her to be here.
In the same way that Mitt Romney is ceding Iowa to others (perhaps Bachmann), maybe Bachmann is ceding New Hampshire to others (perhaps Romney).
We in the Granite State like to believe that all roads to the White House travel through our first-in-the-nation primary. And we expect candidates to take the up close and personal approach … and do it often.
But all roads to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue don’t run through New Hampshire, in the same way that they don’t run through Iowa or South Carolina or any of the other primary states.
It’s all about the strategy the candidate will apply to his or her campaign.
Romney isn’t campaigning very heavily in Iowa for the same reasons that Bachmann hasn’t been campaigning heavily in New Hampshire: Voter temperament differs in the two states.
The more conservative, more evangelical base in Iowa serves Bachmann better than the more moderate, more broadly based primary voters in New Hampshire. She is a conservative, evangelical candidate and she might not do that well in the state.
There aren’t many people ravaged by the rains of Tropical Storm Irene this past weekend who are going to buy the Bachmann line that the storm was God’s wake-up call to Washington, D.C.
In New Hampshire, remember that come primary day the independent voters can choose whether to take a Democrat or Republican ballot.
In a way, the more broadly based primary that encompasses independents is a greater challenge — and a greater barometer — for candidates.
It is why Romney and Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer have said they’ll concentrate their efforts here.
Bachmann hasn’t been to New Hampshire because she’s forgotten us; she hasn’t been in New Hampshire because she feels she doesn’t need us.
Paul Briand is an editor/blogger for the non-partisan, non-profit Live Free or Die Association. See the LFDA’s full coverage of the 2012 presidential primary in New Hampshire here.