At Hollis Pharmacy and General Store it’s as easy to pick up a prescription as it is to get a dose of presidential primary politics.
“I gotta get a vote for a hug,” said Carly Fiorina.
Carly Fiorina, campaigning to be the next leader of the Free World, just a few feet from the sore throat medicine. She’s not the only one. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, John Kasich, Chris Chrisitie and Marco Rubio have also sought a sweet spot among voters standing in the candy aisle. Why? Because pharmacy owner Vahril Manoukian invited them.
That a small town pharmacist can command this much attention from would-be presidents might seem strange, anywhere else. But this is New Hampshire where voters not only have easy access to the candidates they expect it.
“I need to see someone in person, that’s how I get a feel of who your are,” said Nashua resident Meg Perez. “When you’re standing ten feet from me than I get a better idea than watching you on a television screen.”
The expectation that you will be able to see, touch and question candidates starts young.
The kids who showed up to see Carly Fiorina can’t even vote. But already they understand their special status as residents of the first-in-the-nation primary state. Take Katie Townsend, she was just six years old when she met Barack Obama.
And it’s not just candidates fielding questions. At events like this one voters ask one another a question.
“Ultimately, NH is still small enough that word of mouth - which I know sounds kind of pedestrian - really matters. People want to know what their friends are thinking of doing,” said Bedford Resident Rich Ashooh.
Rich Ashooh invites his friends - and anyone else wants to show up - to meet the candidates at his house in Bedford, New Hampshire.
But getting close to voters is not the same as getting their vote. This is New Hampshire after all, and a more worthy candidate may be shaking hands down the street.
There’s a reason they call this retail politics. As with merchandise, campaigns can be a tough sell.