Seen from behind a American flag, supporters of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. gather for his primary night rally at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, N.H., Feb. 9, 2016.
Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/AP

The mood at Marco Rubio’s New Hampshire watch party

The presidential campaign: Marco Rubio
Because of his youth and relatively moderate campaign rhetoric, Rubio is often touted as the Republican Party’s best hope of appealing to younger voters.
The Marco Rubio watch party was not exactly packed with rabid supporters. There were political tourists present, including one man who was a Christie supporter and told MSNBC he was just there to see the look on Rubio’s face.

But among Rubio voters was a lot of heartburn over New Hampshire primary winner Donald Trump and concern about last Saturday’s GOP debate, in which the junior senator from Florida repeated the same line about Obamacare four times – which led to the nickname “Robot Rubio.”

Kurt Wright, a Vermont state rep backing Rubio, said he feared the debate dragged down Rubio. “If it continues to stay muddled [after NH] it’s advantage Trump,” he said. “That’s what I’m concerned about.”

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Robert Ruben, a 62-year old Portsmouth resident who chose Rubio over Kasich this week, sounded stunned by Trump. “Democrats are beatable, but not by Trump, not by Cruz,” he said.

His wife, die-hard Rubio volunteer Anne Caplin, 60, predicted a “virtual landslide for Hillary” if Trump won.

Bedford resident Anne Hammer, 44, said she voted for Rubio after seeing him in a town hall on Sunday where he put to rest her debate concerns. But she also saw Trump’s rally last night – and came away terrified.

“I’ll be really happy if it’s Rubio” she said. “After last night, I’m frightened by Trump. I can’t stand Hillary, but if it’s Trump versus Clinton I don’t think I could vote.”

On the ground with the New Hampshire primary
Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders was the projected winner in the New Hampshire primary, the nation’s first of the 2016 presidential race, on Tuesday,