Lest there be any doubt that Haley Barbour (R) is taking a serious look at the presidency, Roll Call has learned that the Mississippi governor will be offering free food to prospective supporters in New Hampshire later in the month.
The “free dinner and date night,” to be co-hosted by the local conservative think tank Cornerstone, begins with dinner at the Puritan restaurant in Manchester the evening of Feb. 26. We hear, by the way, that the Puritan has delicious chicken fingers.
Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle made headlines by attending the Iowa premiere. And she’s also slated to visit New Hampshire to promote the movie at the same Hooksett theater the day before Barbour’s visit. It’s unclear if Angle and Barbour will participate in any events together.
We couldn’t help but notice that the number to RSVP on the Barbour invitation is that of Sarah Dennehy, the wife of Mike Dennehy, a top Granite State GOP operative who served as Sen. John McCain’s national political director for part of the 2007 presidential contest.
Mike Dennehy, who has been handling PR related to the film, told Roll Call on Thursday that he has not committed to Barbour or any of the prospective 2012 challengers.
“Barbour simply made a donation to help promote the movie,” he said.
But Dennehy and others noted last month that Barbour has been sending signals that he’s becoming more focused on recruiting operatives in the first-in-the-nation primary state. While major questions remain over whether someone from the deep South can compete in northern New England, it appears that Barbour is trying to make the case. Everybody loves free food.
He has work to do, however, having earned just 1 percent in a WMUR Granite State poll of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters released earlier this week.
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Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.