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New Hampshire Key Primary State For Rubio, Bush

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio battle for the Republican nomination.
Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio battle for the Republican nomination.

Marco Rubio’s solid third place in Iowa gave him momentum for Tuesday's New Hampshire primary but made him the target of criticism from his rivals.  Rubio is polling second in New Hampshire, still well behind front runner Donald Trump, and the pressure is on.

Rubio biographer Manuel Roig-Franzia said the expectations are much higher for the South Florida senator than a week ago in Iowa.

“If he doesn’t finish second, you can be guaranteed that he will be subjected to an onslaught of criticism that he underperformed or that it was a bad showing for him,” said Roig-Franzia, who wrote the unauthorized biography 'The Rise of Marco Rubio'.

Now, said Roig-Franzia, Rubio is seen as the best prospect to win the Republican nomination and beat democrat Hillary Clinton.

If New Hampshire is important for Rubio, it’s also a critical state for his former mentor, Jeb Bush.

Bush is polling fifth in New Hampshire.  But Roig-Franzia said it’s not time to write his political obituary just yet.

“He may end up surprising people at some point, but he’s clearly on the ropes and in big trouble and needs a good showing in New Hampshire, if only to comfort his own staff that he’s going to be in the game,” he said.

Roig-Franzia said even if Bush doesn’t do well in New Hampshire, it may not be the time for him to drop out of the race.

"He has a lot of money still, and money can keep you alive for a long time in a primary fight."