Beacon Hill lawmakers head north for New Hampshire primary

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BOSTON — The New Hampshire primary is just days away and that can only mean one thing in neighboring Massachusetts — a mass exodus of elected officials from Beacon Hill to the frozen north to stump for the candidate of their choice.

The so-called surrogates join the small armies of political pitchmen already roaming New Hampshire in search of undecided voters.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined Chris Christie at a rally Saturday morning in Bedford, N.H.. Baker formally endorsed Christie on Friday.

"He did a pretty terrific job of working across the aisle with the other party to get a lot of stuff accomplished on behalf of the people of New Jersey and that's why we're endorsing him," Baker said.

Former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, a Republican, will be knocking on doors for Jeb Bush. Swift, who now lives in Vermont, said Bush has the right temperament and experience to lead the country. She's also unfazed by his low poll numbers.

"I've heard that Jeb's crowds have gotten bigger," she said. "He's an extraordinary businessman as well as having an accomplished record as a conservative governor."

State Sen. Ryan Fattman is leading a contingent of fellow Massachusetts GOP lawmakers and activists to rally voters for Marco Rubio. He estimated the group has knocked on thousands of doors, drawn by Rubio's age and aspirational message.

"To me, it's a generational thing. He talks about living paycheck to paycheck. He's brought up a family in the 21st century," Fattman said. "There a lot of people who get out of college. They can't find a job. They have a lot of debt, and they want to start a family."

Hillary Clinton easily has the largest contingent of Massachusetts elected officials supporting her candidacy, including Attorney General Maura Healey, state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, state Auditor Suzanne Bump and nearly every member of the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy says he's heading north and taking along some of his own campaign volunteers to shake hands and knock on doors for Clinton.

Kennedy pointed to what he called Clinton's progressive Democratic record — including a decadeslong fight to expand health care — and her strong resume as a former U.S. senator and secretary of state.

"When it comes to being commander-in-chief of the United States — the hardest and most complex job in the world — you want someone who has the greatest experience possible," Kennedy said.

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey was also on the stump, heading a group of volunteers in Nashua and Dover, N.H., on Saturday to canvass for Clinton.

Among those Massachusetts elected officials backing fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and working to galvanize voters in New Hampshire are state Sens. Jamie Eldridge, Pat Jehlen and Dan Wolf.

"Bernie Sanders embodies the ideals that make the Democratic Party the party of working people, the party of equality and justice, and the party of change," Eldridge said in a written endorsement.

The elected official in Massachusetts with perhaps the most sought-after endorsement hasn't given any indication that she plans to back a candidate ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a hero to the liberal wing of her party, has yet to choose between Sanders — who echoes some of her critique of Wall Street — and Clinton, who would be the first female president.


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