The Granite State prides itself on low crime, no taxes and being first in the nation to shrewdly appraise prospective presidential candidates. Each leap year, politicians and the media swarm the small city of Manchester and surrounding towns, with hopes of better understanding this inscrutable electorate. Hands will be shaken. Babies will be kissed. No diner is safe.
So just who are the people of New Hampshire? And how have the candidates reached out to them? We took to the main streets and back roads to find out.
Andrea Nagy works at the Ben & Jerry’s in Manchester, but she says so far only one candidate has come through in her 6 years there: “We have had Chris Christie come in six times and I’ve served him ice cream once… The two flavors that he ordered when I took his order was he got cherry Garcia and cookie dough in a plain waffle cone but I hear that he tends to get cookie dough a lot.” At this rate, Christie could be well on his way to joining Bernie as an ice cream flavor inspiration.
Sean Dolan grew up in NH and votes all the time. “I have two kids— that’s the biggest reason,” he says. “It’s more important than anything on TV. It almost matters less in NH because we’re solid blue and I’m fine with Hillary or Bernie. Really. I plan on voting for Jill Stein. But it’s gonna be whoever the Democratic nominee is. It’s fine with me as long as it’s not a Republican."
Roberta DeSouza is undecided—but the one thing she feels strongly about is voting.“You’re privileged, that’s why you’re in America. You’re free to vote. So why aren’t you doing it? Who are are you hurting besides yourself? If you don’t like this person and you don’t want them to be president and you don’t vote— you just gave them a vote by not voting. You’re not proving anything.”
Cheryl Carter teaches yoga at a senior center in Raymond, NH, just outside Manchester. She is also undecided—but has a strategy: “Usually I wait until it gets narrowed down a little bit. It’s too much, there are too many choices. The first people in the primaries aren’t going to get the support anyway so I wait until the final two are selected.”
Carol Reed says she always votes, even in primaries. “I had a father-in-law who’s since passed away and he was a politician. he was in the legislature in NH. He was a selectman. And he would look on voting day to see who voted and if someone in the family hadn’t voted he’d come get us.”
Jim Robinson likes to encourage his friends to vote— even though his candidates don’t always pull through. “I’m a Republican. I only flopped one time, but then I saw the error of my ways and decided to stay the course.”
John Scott told us during his lunch break from his job with Servcorp that he is not voting in the primary because he has “no interest in it.” He has never voted. “Nothing’s going to change. That’s how I see it.”
Actress Eliza Dushku, her mother and their assistant dining at the Red Arrow in Manchester, New Hampshire. Dushku, a Massachusetts native, introduced Sanders at a rally in Keene this week. “[Bernie Sanders] is so genuine. He’s so - he just feels honest. You can kind of feel the integrity and the sincerity and that he’s a man of morals and principles.”
Lou DiOrio is not sweating the primary— he says that he always votes. “I want to have a choice, that’s all.”
David Stonehill isn't technically from New Hampshire-- but loves it nonetheless. He is an election law attorney from NY campaigning for Hillary Clinton and says coming to NH for the primary was a big motivation, “it’s like the World’s Fair of politics.”