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N.H. GOP chair doubts Donald Trump can win

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump earlier this week.Ty Wright/Getty Images

Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the New Hampshire Republican primary, which is less than three months away.

But the state party's chairwoman doesn't think the developer and television personality will ultimately prevail there, calling his political style a poor fit for the first state to host a primary.

"Shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire, and I don't expect that they will now," state GOP chair Jennifer Horn said Wednesday in a phone interview, when asked about Trump's candidacy.

Establishment Republicans, after initially dismissing Trump's appeal to the party base, have grown increasingly concerned with the durability his campaign has demonstrated. Trump has repeatedly issued the types of public statements that have been deemed gaffes, and proved fatal, in past campaigns.


But he continues to enjoy a healthy lead both in New Hampshire and in national polling.

"In New Hampshire, historically, the truth is, people really don't make their final decisions until very, very close until Election Day," Horn said, noting that US Senator Marco Rubio has been climbing in state polls.

"People are probably underestimating [New Jersey Governor] Chris Christie. And, certainly, [former Florida governor Jeb] Bush is working very, very hard in New Hampshire," she added.

The heavy retail-style campaigning that some candidates have been emphasizing – over, say, Trump's massive rallies – tend to pay dividends in her state, Horn said.

"Big rallies are a lot of fun, but in New Hampshire voters are looking to have that real conversation with a candidate," she said.

Jim O'Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.