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The First Votes: Tales from Iowa and New Hampshire. Guests David Kochel, Iowa Senior Advisor for Romney for President 2008, 2012 and Jim Merrill, NH Senior Advisor for Romney for President 2008, 2012. T he states of Iowa and New Hampshire have for years been the first two states where votes are cast in the presidential nomination process. What’s it really like on the cold, hard winter ground when the race officially begins? How do the voters respond to presidential candidates criss-crossing the state for months, showing up wherever ten voters are gathered together? Is this the best way for the parties to nominate a president? David Kochel and Jim Merrill understand Iowa and NH better than anyone and have strong opinions on the impacts of the early races in the states themselves and on national politics.