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    To win N.H. GOP primary, first you win over activists

    New Hampshire prides itself on its "retail-style" politics, requiring candidates of all levels to meet as many voters as possible and as often as possible. Helping politicians navigate exactly how to do that are certain local residents who serve as fixers and connectors. Presidential candidates woo these activists and operatives with birthday cards and phone calls years before they run. When they get more serious, they spend hours with them one-on-one, hoping to a secure an endorsement.

    This project attempts to list the cream of the crop -- on the Republican side -- and track which presidential candidates they endorse. This matters because in the aggregate their endorsements can signal who has the best ground game in the Granite State.

    There are certain Republican VIPs who are conspicuously absent from the list, largely because they are barred from endorsing or don't have the ability to make an independent decision. Lastly there are individuals who work in a capacity where they must remain publicly neutral. -- JAMES PINDELL

    James Pindell, Laura Amico, Patrick Garvin/Globe Staff