Josh Rogers

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPRâââ

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It happens at the beginning of every year: elected officials, legislative staff, lobbyists, journalists and the public gather in large numbers in state capitol buildings around the country for a relentless few weeks — or months — of lawmaking.

In 2020, official business had wrapped in many states by mid-March when lockdowns began. In others, the spread of COVID-19 sent lawmakers home early.

Rep. Dick Hinch, a Republican who was elected speaker of the New Hampshire House just one week ago, died of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This comes about a month before the state legislature, the largest in the U.S., is expected to convene for its regularly scheduled annual session.

The state's attorney general, Gordon MacDonald, announced the cause of death Thursday afternoon with the consent of Hinch's family, following an autopsy by New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Jennie Duval.

Until last year, the architect of Donald Trump's presidential campaign was an obscure political operative in New Hampshire.

Now, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski can claim to have engineered victories in South Carolina and New Hampshire and a second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, a winning streak that gives Trump a strong shot at the Republican nomination.

On the night of his New Hampshire primary victory, Trump acknowledged Lewandowski's role in the win, asking, "Does Corey have a ground game or what?"

If you had to name a state where Donald Trump's political rise has caused the greatest disruption, New Hampshire would be a good pick. Trump has led every poll taken there since June — while tearing up the traditional Republican playbook for winning in New Hampshire.

Trump has avoided the retail politicking that most other campaigns view as a must-do in favor of large rallies. He has never even spent two days back to back in the state campaigning.

Jeb Bush went straight to New Hampshire after Wednesday night's Republican debate. That's where the former Florida governor needs a strong showing if he is to remain a contender for his party's nomination and where he's now working to reignite a campaign seen as sputtering.

The large sign that hung above Jeb Bush's head during his New Hampshire campaign stops read "Jeb Can Fix it." It was intended to refer to Washington, but to GOP voters like Larry Eller, who turned out to see Bush at a Geno's Chowder Shop in Portsmouth, the first thing Bush needs to fix is how he's campaigned.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: