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0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8e7c0000NHPR's reporting initiative focused on the impact of politics and public policy on the residents of New Hampshire, and the underlying forces that shape political decisions in the state. Learn more here.

Where Primary Campaign Dollars Are Landing in New Hampshire


When it comes to 2016 presidential campaign spending in New Hampshire, there’s one clear winner so far: The state Democratic Party. 

Roughly 30 percent of total candidate spending in New Hampshire so far this year has gone to the state party, and it came as a single, $100,000 expense: Hillary Clinton’s purchase of the party’s so-called "voter file." 

That file is a massive database of information on New Hampshire voters, stretching back several election cycles: where they live, how to contact them, how old they are, how often they vote, which party primaries they tend to vote in, and so on. The file even contains information on which voters have posted candidate lawn signs, or have brought food to campaign volunteers in the past. Data like that helps a campaign decide where to focus valuable canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts. And Democratic Party officials have labored over the years to maintain this data – adding, culling, and making sure it’s up-to-date enough that candidates will pay top dollar for it.

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

For a candidate like Clinton, who seems prepared to run as data-driven a campaign as any recent candidate, the voter file’s six-figure sticker price could prove a smart investment if it allows her to out-canvass her rivals.

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

The spending data comes from the most recent round of candidate fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week. The reports cover expenses from April through June, and we combined that data with information from the first three months of the year to make our calculations of where campaigns are spending in New Hampshire.

Political consultants are among the biggest expenses in the primary race so far, with a quartet of Granite State Republican strategists earning between $18,000 and $25,000 so far this year. That group includes advisors working for Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul. Total payroll and consulting costs for all campaigns added up to $144,000 in New Hampshire.

After the voter file and payroll/consulting costs, rent was the next largest category of spending in the first half of the year. Rent totaled $45,500, of which nearly $36,000 was paid by Clinton’s campaign. Campaigns also spent more than $8,000 in lodging, with the Bedford Village Inn earning $2,100 of that.

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

These spending totals span just the first six months of the year. And since most candidates didn’t officially enter the race until the spring or early summer, the reports cover just a fraction of the total amounts to be spent before Primary Day in February. As candidates add to their New Hampshire staffs, open state offices, build their canvassing efforts and expand advertising campaigns, the spending sums are sure to balloon.

In addition, spending by Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited sums of money, will only add to the political balance sheet in New Hampshire. The first finance reports by Super PACs are due later this month.

The map below shows where, by town, candidates have spent money in New Hampshire. Click on a bubble to see how the money was spent. For data on where in the state campaigns are raising money, check out the interactive map we produced earlier this week.

MAP: Campaign Spending Across New Hampshire

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