Lead: Since the 1920s New Hampshire has held the first presidential primary in each electoral cycle. It achieved this distinction by accident but today guards its status with great vigilance.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Primaries, preliminary nominating elections at local, state and national levels, have been around since the first part of the 20th century. They arose because of the needs of political parties to vet or recruit attractive candidates that could win in the general elections. Whichever party or was the most unified and focused had a better chance of winning in November.

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