In this week's issue of the Boston Phoenix -- in print tomorrow, online now -- I use our "year ahead" issue to look at the very new Republican landscape in New Hampshire, awaiting the 2012 Presidential candidates.
Those candidates will be spending 2011 sucking up to influential Republicans in the Granite State, naturally. But suddenly it's a lot less clear who those influencers are.
Part of that is an ongoing power struggle -- currently playing out in the race to be the next state party chair -- between the establishment Republicans and the conservative Tea Party insurgents.
I didn't have room to put this in the piece, but it reminds me of the 1996 GOP nomination battle -- which was the last time the party was choosing a challenger to an incumbent Democrat seeking a second term. The NH Republican establishment was almost entirely behind Bob Dole. But the primary voters went instead with populist, insurgent, conservative, culture-warrior Pat Buchanan.
In any event, the new article is here:
The Road To 2012: The New New Hampshire
Also in the new issue, don't miss Steven Stark on five key things to watch in national politics in 2011; and the Phoenix editorial, on two topics -- the need for an independent redistricting commission in Massachusetts, and Scott Brown's vote on Don't Ask Don't Tell.