CONCORD, N.H. -- Commotion inside and outside of the New Hampshire State House continued Thursday as three more presidential candidates – Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Bernie Sanders – signed paperwork and handed in their $1,000 check to New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to file for the state’s first-int-the-nation primary.
The ceremonial process wasn't without a little drama as questions were raised over whether Sanders, a long-time Independent running for the Democratic nomination, would encounter problems when he filed for the primary because it is required for candidates on the state ballot to be a registered member of the Democratic or Republican Party. Vermont does not have party registration, but Sanders filed his paperwork for the primary without incident. The issue could still go to the New Hampshire ballot law commission for review if a challenge is filed, however.
After filing, Sanders exited the building to an exuberant scene of 725 supporters cheering for him at a brief but charged rally on the lawn outside. “With your help, we are going to win here in New Hampshire!” he declared to the mass of people gathered, just as the sun started moving behind the State House’s dome.
All of the candidates filing for the primary in person sign a sheet with their names and add a short note for posterity. Sanders wrote, “We need a political revolution. Our government belongs to all of us, not just the 1 percent,” Marco Rubio wrote his campaign slogan, “A New American Century!” and Carly Fiorina wrote, “Let’s take our government back!”
Rubio was the first major candidate to stop by Gardner’s office Thursday, and he was greeted with a throng of supporters holding signs outside and inside lining the walls of the State House. When he sat down to speak with reporters, he was peppered with questions about his finances and use of a Republican Party credit card from when he was serving in the Florida State House. Rubio defended himself, taking aim at Donald Trump, who attacked Rubio on the issue while sitting in the same spot one day earlier.
“I find it curious that Donald Trump, the only person in this race that has filed for bankruptcy not once but four times is attacking anyone’s finances,” Rubio jabbed.
He was also asked about the last time he spoke with Republican rival Jeb Bush, and mentioned that it was in Colorado at the last debate. “Most candidates aren't talking in between the debates,” he said.
After Rubio wrapped up, his supporters marched around the halls of the State House, shouting "Rubio! Rubio!" in a parade.
When Carly Fiorina filed for the primary, she was greeted by a crowd of people in bright red “CARLY For America” shirts, from her Super PAC, as they chanted, “Carly for America! Carly for America!”
Even with her poll numbers sagging since her standout debate performance in September, Fiorina told reporters that the state of her candidacy has still improved significantly in New Hampshire, where she mentioned that she was once running 16th out of 16 people.
Fiorina also called out a “double standard” for conservative women, saying, “it’s disappointing, it’s disappointing when just because I'm a conservative I'm told too often by people in the media or commentators that I'm somehow anti-woman, that is a ridiculous charge
Martin O’Malley and Donald Trump were the first major candidates to file for the primary on Wednesday. The filing period runs until November 20th.