Robert Siegel

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Our co-host, Robert Siegel, has been in New Hampshire all week with the other journalists, pundits and campaign staffers who descend on the state every four years, and he's been captivated by some of the other visitors.

For Republicans who aren't named Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, the goal in New Hampshire's upcoming primary is to finish second — at best.

That's the best outcome the establishment Republican contenders can hope for following this week's Iowa caucuses, where Cruz and Trump topped the field in a tight three-way race with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

With New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary less than a week away, the publisher of the state's largest paper, the Union Leader, told NPR's Robert Siegel his assessment of how the Republican presidential race has played out thus far in a single word: "Extraordinary."

And the reason he describes the GOP campaign that way boils down to Donald Trump, who, despite coming in second in the Iowa caucuses this week, enjoys a double-digit advantage in most New Hampshire polls.

Republicans in Iowa are preparing to caucus in a little over two weeks — Feb. 1 — and they're wondering if this year is really going to be different because of Donald Trump.

On Monday night, the Osceola County Republican Committee met at the Pizza Ranch in Sibley, the county seat. Sibley is in western Iowa, the more socially conservative, more Republican part of this first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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