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Record number of Republicans file for New Hampshire primary

October 28, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli
(Brian Snyder / Reuters )

Thirty Republican candidates have filed to appear on the New Hampshire presidential ballot, a record number for the party in the nation's first primary state.

Democrats, meanwhile, will have the fewest number of candidates to choose from in the 2012 vote: just 14.

Still, Secretary of State Bill Gardner said in an interview as the filing period closed at 5 p.m. Friday that the 44 total candidates is the second-most ever in the history of the primary, the date of which he still has yet to announce.

Eight candidates came to Gardner's office in person on Friday, the final day of the two-week filing period. Among them were Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who on short notice had to take a red-eye flight from Arizona because his campaign overlooked the deadline to file by mail.

One candidate called Friday to remove his name, Gardner said, but state law required that he do so in person.

The previous record for Republican candidates on the state ballot was 25 in 1992, when George H. W. Bush was seeking renomination. Thirty-six Democrats filed that year, a primary won by Paul Tsongas but more memorable for Bill Clinton's second-place finish.

The number of states represented -- 26 -- ties the record. California is fielding the most candidates at four, followed by Illinois, Texas and Florida with three each.

Surveying the final list, Gardner noted that it included just one woman -- Michele Bachmann. He said he "can't imagine that it's ever been" that low.

Gardner was set to announce the date of the primary Tuesday, but abruptly put it off until after the filing period closed. He won't do so Monday -- Halloween -- saying it will likely come "midweek."

The 44 filings will generate $44,000 for the New Hampshire treasury. It costs nearly that much -- $35,000 -- for a single candidate to file for South Carolina's Republican ballot. That state's filing period ends next week.

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