President Carter's campaign chairman, Evan Dobelle, today said he is unfazed by Carter's poor showing in the polls and that he looks "forward to a one-on-one campaign with somebody."
"I would prefer to go unopposed . . . the key to New Hampshire is to have it unified," he said of this state where a strong write-in drive for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) has begun, and the only Democratic senator, John A. Durkin, has threatened to run as a favorite son.
Brushing off the mounting nation-wide move to pit Kennedy against the president, Dobelle said, "We don't feel threatened; we're not preoccupied with polls, potenial opposition of the specter of a draft movement."
Dobelle was in New Hampshire to open Carter's campaign headquarters for the state.
State Executive Counselor Dudley W. Dudley, who is behind the Kennedy write-in effort, today responded by saying, "If polls have significance, they would regard any campaign for Kennedy as a serious, signifficant threat." Dudley, the state's second highest-ranking Democrat, added that the Kennedy write-in effort would be called off if the president solves the nation's economic and energy problems by the end of the summer.
Gov. Hugh J. Gallen, who was appointed Carter campaign chairman for New Hampshire today, said he is convinced the energy situation, at least, will be resolved and voters will not have to leave chilly homes to cast ballots in February's presidential primary.
Gallen, an early Carter supporter, said he has received personal assurances from Carter, Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger and presidential assistant Jack Watson that the region would have adequate supplies of home heating oil this winter - "and that's all the assurance I need."
"When I have three men of the integrity these three men have making this commitment to the New England governors, what more could I have?" said Gallen.
Gas and home heating oil supplies, said Carter campaign officials, will be the prime issue of the 1980 campaign.
In fact, that concern sparked the announcement last week by Durkin that he is "actively considering" running against the president here to "force Carter to deal with the issue."
The headquarters opening today, with only a handful of reporters and campaign staffers present, signified what Dobelle characterized as the campaign's style: "We're not coming here with a media blitz, rah rah or pompons - the people don't want that."
Dobelle said said the president would not mount an expensive media campaign here because "the people won't be deluded by rhetoric and slick advertising; we're not campaigning on performance."
Added Dobelle: "the president is not a parthenogenetic, vacuous creation of television."