MANCHESTER — Organizers of the “Freedom Summit” in the city on Saturday said they expected more than 700 people to gather to hear local and national political figures deliver political homilies to the conservative faithful.
"This is an opportunity to get major national figures to New Hampshire to offer their thoughts on where we are headed as a nation," said Greg Moore, New Hampshire state director of Americans for Prosperity, which planned the event along with Citizens United, another conservative political advocacy group.
The activities at what some say is New Hampshire's first major political event of the 2016 presidential campaign begins at 9 a.m. at the Executive Court Banquet Facility on South Mammouth Road, with admission by ticket only. The major broadcast and cable television news organizations and major newspapers from across the country were expected to cover the event.
In addition to coverage of today's "Freedom Summit'' in this weekend's New Hampshire Sunday News and at UnionLeader.com, follow Editorial Page Editor Drew Cline's Tweets of the event @DrewHampshire.
At the summit, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte will speak, along with several potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Speakers include Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as well as U.S. Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. and Steve King, R-Iowa.
Also speaking will be former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, radio personality Laura Ingraham and Arthur Brooks, head of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
The event coincides with annual "tax day" activities, in which the groups highlight their conservative positions against the backdrop of the federal deadline for paying income taxes.
Organizers say the event has been sold-out, with New Hampshire residents making up the majority of the ticket-holders. Proceedings will be broadcast on C-SPAN and on the conservative website breitbart.com,
Moore said the summit is an opportunity for candidates with national ambitions to test their message before a conservative crowd in the state with the first presidential primary.
"It allows them to see which issues are resonating,," Moore said. "They'll get an idea of what issues are important to the activist community and how to frame the issue to really move people."