WebHeader_Grove.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support local and independent journalism by making a gift to NHPR today.
Politics
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8f680000Coverage of the 2016 races in New Hampshire, from the White House to the State House.

For Trump's N.H. Inner Circle, a Day to Celebrate Candidate's Improbable Rise

Josh Rogers

Donald Trump laid out his vision to Republicans and the nation Thursday night as he accepted his party’s nomination.

For New Hampshire delegates loyal to Trump, Thursday was a chance to celebrate their candidate, their own improbable rise, and thumb their nose at elements of their party who doubted Trump. For many delegates who didn’t back Trump, it was a time to reassess.

Donald Trump’s New Hampshire inner circle spent the afternoon soaking in the sun and downing beers outside the arena.

The gang was all there: Trumps’s ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski posed for selfies with a stream of admirers.

Londonderry State Rep. Al Baldasaro puffed cigarettes and spat insults at his party’s state chair, lone Republican statewide officeholder, and the leader of the New Hampshire House.

“Only in my own state, do I got three idiots that have no damn clue on the constitution and the laws of the land, and that’s Kelly Ayotte, Jennifer Horn, and Shawn Jasper.”

Standing nearby, Fred Doucette, one of Trump’s state co-chairman, said he was proud Donald Trump saw him as worthy of leading his state campaign.

“And again, I’m humbled by that. But I’m lucky enough to have seen intimately what he does and how he does it and I just sit there nodding, yeah, he’s got our back.”

Trump’s other New Hampshire co-chairman, Steve Stepanek, assured anyone within earshot that Trump’s success in the primary was only the beginning..

"Not only are we going to win, its going to be an overwhelming win. It’s a tsunami coming and people still don’t get it."

If the wave Stepanek predicts comes, the fact that some core Republicans will tell you they have doubts about Trump may not make any difference.

But if November turns out to be close, harvesting every vote from party regulars will be crucial.

After Trump’s speech ended Thursday night, some of New Hampshire’s convention delegation gathered outside their hotel for some  hot dogs and burgers.

As she stood by the grill, Diane Bitter of Rye, an alternate delegate for Ted Cruz, said voting for Donald Trump, which she plans to do, remains a leap of faith.

"He doesn’t have a record in any kind of public service, and that’s the big unknown and from my point of view. It’s just a little bit scary."

But less scary, she allowed, than if Trump doesn’t become president. A few steps away, Bruce Perlo sipped from a small snifter of bourbon. He’s chairman of the Grafton County GOP. Perlo wanted John Kasich to be president but unlike Kasich himself, Perlo now backs Trump without hesitation.

"Because Hillary is just so awful," he said. "So case proved."

That’s a logic all Republicans  -- those who love Trump, and those who don’t – may end up finding persuasive. If so, the once remote possibility of President Donald Trump could become reality.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.