New Hampshire: Enough endorsements for everyone

After adding his name to an already bloated Republican field on Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to head from the Garden State up to a town hall in New Hampshire.

Part of his effort will be to load up on local endorsements to show the Granite State's residents that he is a legitimate contender. But here's the thing: New Hampshire has by far the largest state legislature in the country, and that means that even minor candidates can announce an impressive-sounding number of local endorsements.

Potential presidential nominees court New Hampshire voters more vigorously than in other states. That's because the state's early primary in February—and the accompanying media attention—can elevate a weak candidate or tear down a frontrunner in a single day.

CNBC recently pointed out that several ostensibly serious candidates, including Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and George Pataki, do not have the backing of a single national politician. A representative for Fiorina's campaign pushed back, saying she has the support of 13 members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

While local support could make a difference, that number is less impressive when you realize that the state has 400 representatives—more than any other state by a long shot.

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New Hampshire has one representative for every 3,300 residents. More than half of those reps are Republicans—enough for the 14 major, declared Republican candidates to each receive about 17 endorsements. Only 43 have publicly backed a candidate so far.

The state also has 14 Republican state senators, two of whom have already chosen to back Fiorina's campaign. Overall, Fiorina's local New Hampshire endorsements place her second behind Rand Paul, who also has two senators, as well as 20 representatives.

Even Donald Trump, who is not widely viewed as a serious contender for the party nomination (despite coming in second in a recent poll in New Hampshire), managed to get one member of the massive 400-person house to back him.

With 80 percent of the New Hampshire house and half the Senate uncommitted, there is still plenty of time for other candidates to lure representatives to their camps.

Last election, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum were leading that count by this time in 2011. But by the time the primary came around, Mitt Romney had more endorsements than both candidates combined.

Here's how many endorsements are still on the table.

And the endorsements themselves may not sway New Hampshire voters, who take pride in giving non-establishment candidates a fair hearing. In 2008, Romney secured 40 endorsements from the House and Senate, but lost the vote and nomination to John McCain, who was endorsed by 19 reps and four senators.

Unlike national endorsements, which tend to point towards the eventual nominee, endorsements from New Hampshire politicians may not carry much weight at all. We'll have to wait until February to find out.