First In The Nation.

Those four small words carry incredible significance. They are constitutionally binding. They are a responsibility. They are indicative of a state where the word “politics” does not represent some abstract idea in Washington D.C., but rather a sport.

As the First In The Nation (FITN) state, New Hampshire holds the first presidential primary every election cycle. It is not only an event that citizens in New Hampshire take pride in, but an important stepping stone in the election process demonstrating to the rest of the nation the ability (or lack thereof) of presidential candidates to organize and campaign.

In coming months, Republican candidates will cross the Granite State over and again to prove that they’ve got what it takes to win the presidency, hoping to collect the hearts, and the votes, of all in the meantime. They’ll kiss babies, speak on college campuses, and have hot dogs at every independent hot dog stand they can find. It’s all part of the process.

This time around, the focus will be on Republicans. Thus far, President Obama is running uncontested for the Democratic nomination, meaning there will be no Democrat primary for this cycle. Surely President Obama will be making his rounds in preparation for the general election, but for now, Election 2012 coverage is all red.

As is fairly common knowledge on campus, I am a registered Republican and am not afraid to declare so. I will not, however, be supporting or working for any of the candidates in the race, thus leaving me just an observer of the FITN primary for this cycle. For better or for worse, I am emotionally invested in my politics, meaning that when I work for a candidate, I fully believe in them rather than chasing a title or a paycheck.

My pick was Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a very honest and inspiring man who brought a different attitude to the political stage. I spent the summer interning at his New Hampshire campaign headquareters in Bedford and loved every second of it. I learned a lot, but I also learned that in an instant a campaign can fall victim to a lack of funds.

Since that fateful day for Team Pawlenty following the Ames Straw Poll in August, I’m not so secretly still sitting back and crossing my fingers hoping that  somehow he’ll manage to make his way onto my primary ballot in January. I was, and still am, attached to the message of Governor Pawlenty’s campaign, prohibiting me from being able to work for any other candidate.

Because New Hampshire plays such a large role in determining who will receive the nomination and go on to try a stab at winning the general election, it is of the utmost importance that we pay attention, participate, and discuss what’s going on all around us. Government inherently belongs to the people, and we must take ownership of it.

Regardless of party affiliation, it is important for us to embrace the system that, whether we like it or not, we are to inherit. We must stay informed in order to work together as a generation to solve problems that will be handed down to us by our parents and grandparents. It’s an unfortunate mess we’re going to be walking into, just a few years from now. But at the end of the day, it is ours. We must get involved now, educate ourselves now, and care now so we are prepared to inherit the stalemate that is Washington, D.C.

This column will serve as analysis for the biggest FITN events each week. It will describe events, candidate faux pas, and everything else essential for keeping track of the Republican primary. While views expressed in this column are solely my own, I hope it will encourage debate, discussion, and participation by all parties and political beliefs for the first step in the general election process.


Allie Bedell can be contacted at


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