WASHINGTON – Thirty Republican candidates have filed to appear on the New Hampshire presidential ballot, a record number for the party in the nation’s first primary state.
Democrats, meanwhile, will have the fewest number of candidates to choose from in the 2012 vote: just 14.
Still, Secretary of State Bill Gardner said in an interview as the filing period closed at 5 p.m. Friday that the 44 total candidates is the second-most ever in the history of the primary, the date of which he has yet to announce.
Eight candidates came to Gardner’s office in person on Friday, the final day of the two-week filing period. Among them were Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who on short notice had to take a red-eye flight from Arizona because his campaign overlooked the deadline to file by mail.
The previous record for Republican candidates on the state ballot was 25 in 1992, when George H. W. Bush was seeking renomination.
The number of states represented – 26 – ties the record. California is fielding the most candidates at four, followed by Illinois, Texas and Florida with three each.
Surveying the final list, Gardner noted that it included just one woman – Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. He said he “can’t imagine that it’s ever been” that low.