NH Dem chief: A Trump win 'very hurtful' for our primary
© Getty Images

A victory by Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE on Tuesday would damage the credibility of New Hampshire's presidential primary, according to the chairman of the state's Democratic Party.

“I think this hurts the whole lure of the New Hampshire primary,” Ray Buckley said on Boston Herald Radio. "If he does win big, I think it will be very hurtful in holding on to the primary.

ADVERTISEMENT

“One thing we have been able to say for decades and decades when people would attack the primary is, ‘hey, we’re different.' You can’t just come in and dump the sort of money, walk in and take it for granted like he has.”

But Buckley said the Democratic primary race between Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT MORE and Sen. Bernier Sanders (I-Vt.) would “save the day for the Republicans” by offering a more substantial contest.

He praised Sanders’s close ties with New Hampshire, noting the lawmaker’s frequent involvement in Granite State politics.

“We are very familiar with Bernie from he was mayor and then in Congress and the Senate — he has never not come over here,” Buckley said, referencing Sanders’s tenure as mayor of Burlington, Vt. "He has attended Democratic Party county committee and local committee fundraisers.

“He has been terrific to the Democratic Party in New Hampshire. I don’t know if his [hailing from Vermont] is going to be a deciding factor, but it certainly is a factor.”

Buckley additionally cast doubt on whether Clinton’s many endorsements on the national stage would sway New Hampshire’s Democratic primary voters.

“I don’t think endorsements are having any level of impact on independent voters. When you have the potential for 100,000-plus independents voting in your primary, it’s really about who touches their heart, who gets them out.”

Both Sanders and Trump lead by double digits heading into Tuesday’s early voting contest, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls. Trump has a 17-point edge there over other Republican candidates, while Sanders has about 13 percentage points separating him from Clinton.