From The First In The Nation Primary State Of New Hampshire…
Friday, January 6th “One Renegade Campaign Volunteer”
Having been to this wonderful state so many times, I was briefly introduced to the Primary Campaign process up here during the 2008 election season while on a trip picking up campaign collectibles. As a political junkie, I became enamored of what I saw. So, this year; because of the importance of defeating Obama, I decided to volunteer up here for a few days with the primary candidate of my choice, Newt Gingrich.
So, prior to leaving for New Hampshire on Thursday, I sent a note to Art suggesting that if I had time, I would pass on my thoughts about the process up here during the final days of this primary. So, despite the lateness of the hour, actually 12:15 in the morning after my day started at 8 am, subsequent to a 6 hour drive up Thursday night; here we go.
I’m going to remain anonymous though, as it’s the content that’s important; not the person writing it. There are some lessons to be learned from New Hampshire. Most of them will be random thoughts as they come to me.
Where Do I Begin?
First of all, New Hampshire voters take their primary SERIOUSLY, VERY SERIOUSLY. I can not even think of when I have seen this kind of Republican fervor in blue New Jersey. Perhaps it has something to do with it being the first in the nation primary, or it having to do with this region being one of he cradles of our democracy, voters get involved.
There’s lots of Town Hall style meetings schedule across the state and seem to be well attended. One event for Newt this evening produced a crowd 20% larger than expected. People listened intently and asked great questions. Nearly a third of the crowd stayed to ask other questions of Newt or make a comment.
A county fund raiser with multiple Presidential candidates was similarly “sold out.”
Here’s one other novel thing about New Hampshire campaigns…
It’s called a “sign wave.”
Betcha you are scratching your head, now, wondering what in tarnation is that?
Well, 10 or so volunteers get together and wave their candidates campaign signs at intersections and roundabouts in their towns, most often at rush hour. The first time I saw that was in 2008 in Keene, N.H. at about 6:30 am when a bunch of Hillary supporters were on the main square. Sometimes, they are just regular signs. Many times, there are three or 4 signs stapled to a 1 x 3 so that they can be seen from a distance in traffic.
Mind you, it’s really cold when you wake up here in they morning.
Try asking some of our County Committee people in Monmouth County to do that in more reasonable weather. Bet you they will look at you like you’ve got horns growing out of your head.
But, they certainly do it here.
Volunteers also come from all over. I’ve met several people from Pennsylvania and New York. One intrepid volunteer, and I guess well off volunteer even flew his twin engine plane from San Francisco to Iowa to volunteer for a week; and then on to Manchester, N.H to help out here. One wonders if we do this for the thrill of a Republican campaign that we don’t often see in blue states such as these.
Saturday, I’m advancing two events and then heading off to the big debate Saturday evening. I hope to be inside for a bit to pick up on what I feel the candidates are about. Yes, perhaps from my jaded view point; but without the twist of the media.
One last thought for the evening. Before you ever complain about putting out campaign signs; just imagine how difficult it is in New Hampshire this time of year; trying to plant your thin wire frame into frozen soil.
I know. I did it, at least 50 times today.
New Hampshire natives, adapt, perseveres and overcome. Perhaps that’s another lesson for all of us. It’s a shame more of us couldn’t come up here and learn something about real campaigning.