WASHINGTON — Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, the two remaining presidential hopefuls with ties to Maryland, could be heading in the same direction: political oblivion.
That’s the assessment of political observers in New Hampshire, where Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s primary there.
Democrat Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s former governor, suspended his campaign Monday. Poor showings in the Iowa caucuses already have persuaded two other Republicans, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, to end their White House bids.
Carson, former director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, secured 9.3 percent of the Iowa caucus vote and gained three delegates, putting him fourth among the Republicans. But his campaign says that he is energized and ready to move forward in New Hampshire.
“Concerning the fact that nine months ago he was unknown and now he is 4th in the caucus, he is very encouraged and he is moving on with wind in his sails to New Hampshire, South Carolina and so on said A. Larry Ross, communications director for the Carson campaign. “He’s encouraged by the the response [and] the momentum.”
Fiorina, who received her master’s degree in business from the University of Maryland, did not perform nearly as well, as Carson, coming out of Iowa with 1.9 percent of the vote and no delegates.
“The other candidates simply did a better job,” said Andrew Smith, the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.
“She wasn’t able to expand upon her early successful debate performances beyond what she had talked about already and that wasn’t resonating in Iowa as strong as she hoped,” he added.
Some analysts believe that Fiorina could perform better in New Hampshire.
“I think Fiorina has a great ground game in New Hampshire,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics & Political Library. “She’s campaigned here and I think she will do better than expected.”
However, other analysts contend that Fiorina’s lack of media coverage could seal the end of her campaign.
“She hasn’t been polling well at all, she unfortunately has been left out in the cold for media coverage… she’s going to have a difficult time convincing the media to cover her,” Smith said.
The Fiorina campaign did not return calls seeking comment.
According to New England Cable News, which tracks candidate events in New Hampshire, Fiorina has visited the state 28 times and made 146 stops – five more were planned just for Wednesday.
Analysts believe that Carson faces a rocky road in the Granite State.
“I think [Carson] has a big challenge coming into New Hampshire,” Levesque said. “He didn’t campaign here, he definitely had a bad night in Iowa and trying to reverse that at this point when all if the media is focused on three other candidates… I think it’s going to be difficult for Carson.”
Smith agreed, saying: “I don’t see where Carson is going. I don’t see how he has an avenue in New Hampshire. Carson doesn’t have much of a chance after having underperformed twice – people will start to write his political obituary.”
However, the Carson campaign has taken a more positive outlook on Tuesday’s primary.
“Many [voters] are saying ‘I change my mind – I’m voting for you,’” said Ross. “He is a man of high integrity with a moral compass… he’s been galvanized by what happened [Monday] and it’s energized him to keep moving forward.”
Carson’s official campaign website does not show any scheduled events in New Hampshire until his appearance Saturday at the next GOP debate, this one to be held at Saint Anselm College.