CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump signed up for the New Hampshire presidential primary on Monday, becoming the first person who has served as president to file such paperwork in person more than once.
After signing up for the 2016 contest on the first day of the filing period eight years ago, Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence to file his paperwork for the 2020 contest. That was in keeping with a tradition of other incumbents who also sent surrogates, but his return on Monday was something new.
“Vote for Trump and solve your problems,” he wrote on the commemorative poster all the candidates are asked to sign.
Also new was the security surrounding his visit. Only supporters selected by the campaign were allowed to line the hallway to the secretary of state’s office at the Statehouse, and access to the building was restricted.
Candidates this year have until Oct. 27 to officially sign up, and dozens are expected to do so. The process is easy: They need only meet the basic requirements to be president, fill out a one-page form and pay a $1,000 filing fee. In 2020, 33 Democrats and 17 Republicans signed up. The all-time high was 1992, when 61 people got on the ballot.
Trump won both the 2016 and 2020 Republican primaries in New Hampshire but lost the state in both general elections.
In 2015, he was in second place behind retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in some national polls when he signed up for the primary. He used the experience that day, in part, to boast about his personal wealth.
“They wanted a cashier’s check,” Trump said. “So this is from a bank that’s not actually as rich as we are.”
On Monday, he touted his wide lead in current New Hampshire polls and noted that support for Florida Gov. Ron DeDesantis has dropped significantly.
“Bad things are happening, but we keep going up,” he said. “
At a news conference Monday, New Hampshire Democrats criticized Trump, calling him untrustworthy.
“At a time when our country confronts significant problems at home and around the world, and when our global leadership is as indispensable as ever, we need to be united. But Trump is incapable of bringing us together,” said U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat. “We are the Live Free or Die State: We have no use for a man who would overturn our elections or praise dictators. I know that as Granite Staters and Americans, we will reject Trump and we will win next November.”
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