Republican Party

NH voters weigh in ahead of 1st GOP debate

Political analysts say Donald Trump's absence from Wednesday's debate in Wisconsin creates a unique situation for others in the race

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We are five months away from New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary but already Granite State voters are making their voices heard.

Eight Republican presidential hopefuls will take to the debate stage on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, trying to gain ground in the race for the GOP nomination. Voters in New Hampshire say they are ready to play a big role in deciding the eventual nominee.

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“I know it’s going to be narrowed down to one eventually,” Rick Shaw said.

Shaw, a street musician, has lived in Manchester for 30 years and has seen politicians come and go throughout his time in New Hampshire. He's hoping the candidates will bring a more positive message and change the overall political climate.

“Too many negative innuendos or promises that can't be made by any candidate regardless of political affiliation,” he said. “It's difficult.”

Despite that difficulty, Shaw and others will be watching the first primary debate. One candidate that will be missing from the stage however is former President Donald Trump.

Poll numbers show former President Donald Trump with a significant lead over his Republican opponents.

Political analysts like Scott Spradling say that creates a unique situation for others in the race.

“At this point, the frontrunner of the entire thing is not on the stage and is the major potential conversational point for everybody else to talk about,” Spradling said.

Trump is opting instead for a pre-taped interview with former Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson that will air at the same time as the debate.

That decision brings about different perspectives from New Hampshire voters.

“He’s known, but he should be defending himself and get out there and be in those debates and not sitting on the sidelines,” Alisson Gamache said.

There have been four criminal indictments in just over four months as former president Donald Trump continues to face more legal trouble, with the latest coming out of Georgia. NBC10 political reporter Matt Prichard has reaction in New England.

“He has so much other stuff to deal with right now that he probably can’t get away,” Diane Sizemore said.

Trump has said he will surrender on Thursday to face charges in a Georgia case accusing him of illegally scheming to overturn his 2020 election loss.

The first GOP primary debate airs on Fox News at 9 pm on Wednesday.

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