With Iowa behind them, candidates and political enthusiasts alike are turning their eyes eastward to New Hampshire, where voters are gearing up for their big event- next week's Jan. 10 primary. The Granite State hosts the first voting contest that will award delegates to the GOP presidential candidates, as well as the first in the nation voting contest that will use a ballot.
That ballot is not short on names. The New Hampshire Secretary of State released sample ballots for next week's primary for both the Republican and Democratic parties, and they total 30 Republicans - a record high for the state's Republican ballot - and 14 Democrats, according to Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
The Republican ballot includes seven leading GOP contenders as well as seven others challenging for attention. Some of the additional names may look familiar. For example, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, who is now seeking the libertarian party's nomination, former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, and Fred Karger, a political consultant and gay rights activist, are some of the individuals listed.
Herman Cain, the one time front-runner for the GOP nomination who dropped his bid in early December amid allegations of sexual harassment, also appears on the ballot. He filed his candidacy with the New Hampshire Secretary of State before dropping out of the race.
Other names are more of a question mark to voters. Bear Betzler of Philadelphia, Pa., is one of the candidates appearing on the ballot. He describes himself on his campaign webpage as "a Management Consultant, providing bold results-oriented leadership to Global Corporations for high-profile projects and strategic change programs." This is Betzler's first campaign for public office, according to his website.
Another unfamiliar name on the ballot is L. John Davis Jr., of Grand Junction, Colo., who bills himself as "a conservative Republican choice" who "will take a practical, common-sense approach to solving our Nation's problems," according to his campaign website.
Despite the record high number, there is only one female candidate listed on the Republican ballot, Michele Bachmann.
The Democratic ballot is considerably shorter than the Republican ballot, but Democratic voters in New Hampshire wishing to take part in Tuesday's primary do have a list of 13 names to check off aside from Barack Obama. The listed individuals span the ideological spectrum. Some are to the left of Obama, such as Darcy G. Richardson of Jacksonville, Fla., who bills himself as a "progressive Democrat" on his webpage and is running because he's been "disappointed by President Obama's abandonment of many of the progressive values that he articulated so eloquently."
Others are to the president's right, like Robert B. Jordan of Garden Grove, Calif., who is running on an " oil platform" which proposes lifting all restrictions on drilling in U.S. oil reserves, including the ANWAR and Prudhoe Bay regions in Alaska.
Qualifying for ballot access in New Hampshire is a relatively straightforward process. Candidates wishing to file for the first in the nation primary are required to submit a declaration of candidacy to the secretary of state's office, along with a $1,000 filing fee. New Hampshire's filing deadline was Oct. 28, 2011.