Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith topped former state Sen. Jim Rubens in a straw poll of Republican candidates seeking to unseat Democrat Jeanne Shaheen as U.S. senator.
The poll was taken Saturday at the annual picnic of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers held at the American Legion Hall 59 in Hillsborough.
Scott Brown, the former U.S. senator from Massachusetts known for his more moderate stance, came in third. He did not attend the event. Brown, Rubens and Smith are vying for the party's nomination in the Sept. 9 primary.
The straw poll results were provided by Brian Tilton, spokesman for the Rubens campaign. He did not know the exact tallies.
Several attempts to reach Edward Naile of the Coalition, other event organizers and several candidates were unsuccessful.
The gathering drew an estimated 150 people - including Republican candidates for governor, both congressional districts, Executive Council and the state Legislature.
"People are pretty energized. People are very concerned with what's going on with our state's economy and our national economy," Tilton said.
Also discussed were concerns about "government overreach" and infringement on the consitutional and the right to bear arms, he said.
A Ruger Takedown Rifle and Ruger .380 LCP pistol were raffled off at the event.
"People are looking for candidates they can support - people who match their views on issues they care about," Tilton said.
Rubens discussed his concerns about deficit spending and growth in the federal government since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, Tilton said.