N.H. Primary Live Blog: Christie Makes a Diner Stop, Union Shows Support for Clinton
Check this blog throughout the day and evening for updates and photos from NHPR reporters and contributors in the field. We'll be covering eight candidate headquarters as results come in this evening. Our live broadcast begins at 7 p.m., and you can listen online right here or on the NHPR app.
Where to vote: Map of N.H. Polling Places
Live returns and results (Check after the polls close for real-time updates.)
For political junkies: These are the Towns to Watch on Primary Night
In Durham, Union Support on Display for Clinton
by Rik Stevens
After the months-long campaign, the final day of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary is seeing the candidates’ organizations and ground game in full swing.
In the UNH town of Durham, volunteers stand in the cold behind the polling place at Oyster River High School, just beyond the line warning against electioneering past a certain point. A pile of campaign signs leans against a nearby doorway, and vans roll by with candidate signs taped to the side and messages reading: “This van is going to the polls!!”
“I normally don’t get too caught up in the primaries; we usually let the candidates duke it out,” says Clinton sign-holder Steve Lachance, business manager for the United Association union of plumbers and pipefitters, “But Hillary just lines up with everything we’re for.”
He explains why he and other union members are out supporting Clinton over Bernie Sanders, who has enjoyed wide support from organized labor.
“It’s definitely going to be a heated race,” he says. “She’s got the knowledge and know-how to save the country.”
New Jersey Governor and GOP candidate Chris Christie made an impromptu stop at Mary Ann's Diner in Windham. Photographer Allegra Boverman says Christie shook hands with every kid in the restaurant, and that the diner's owner said they were expecting him (and his entourage).
Sam Needleman is a 16 year-old junior at Hopkinton High School. When asked why he was willing to stand outside the polls and hold a Hillary Clinton sign when he's not old enough to vote, this is what he had to say: Listen to Sam Needleman's response
NHPR's Natasha Haverty spoke to a 93 year-old voter at Concord's Ward 3. Take a listen to what she had to say:
In Pelham, moderator Philip Currier says voting has been, "slow, but picking up a hair. I don't think we'll get to 50 percent for the day."
As part of New Hampshire's "GOP Heartland," Pelham is one of the towns to watch in the Republican Primary.
Voter Turnout, New Registrations Heavy in Durham
by Rik Stevens
Candidates of both parties have been targeting young voters - especially Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton - and in Durham, they've found their marks.
Simon Freitas is a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire. The Everett, Massachusetts native says Sanders’ message of income equality and economic reform resonates with him.
“Obviously free public college!” he says, laughing as he stands outside the Oyster River High School where he voted in a primary for the first time. “When I come out of college, I’m probably not going to be making that much money and I’ll probably be drowning in student loans.”
For Graham Ayres, a 23-year-old senior at UNH, both Democrats made pitches that align with his own ideas of where the country needs to go. The undeclared voter from Enfield, N.H., says he ultimately voted for Clinton because she’s more electable in the fall.
“I consider myself an educated voter who sees the importance of this election,” Ayres says.
Inside the school, poll moderator Christopher Regan says it's shaping up to be a busy day. There were 40 or so people waiting at the doors when polls opened and by 9:30, nearly 850 had voted. He expects between 4,000 and 5,000 for the day.
“It projects to go heavier for a primary,” he says.
Regan also notes a large number of people who registered to vote on Tuesday, which is allowed in New Hampshire. That, he says, signals more enthusiasm than in other years.
“My guess is that these are not the usual voters,” Regan says.
Regan says there hadn’t been any problems with the new state law requiring a photo ID
NHPR's Casey McDermott spoke to voters in Manchester's Ward 4.
Maria Camacho of Manchester is a 22 year-old, undeclared voter supporting Ben Carson. She said it was a challenge deciding whom to vote for in the primary, and said that she wished New Hampshire could have seen more candidates that thought they could win here besides Donald Trump.
"Barack Obama was a wonderful president," Camacho said, "It is sad to see Obama go, but I know the next president that we'll have will do its job."
Nick Jansen is a registered Democrat supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
"I think both Republicans and Democrats feel the country's not working for them," he said. "I think there's a lot of anger on the Republican side and I think Donald Trump's found a way to tap into that. I think Bernie Sanders has found a way to tap into the fact that Democrats don't need to settle for what he calls establishment politics."
In Hollis, poll moderator and state rep. Jim Belanger says that although the early morning turnout wasn't as strong as he expected, "there as not been a down moment."
In Concord, Voters Weigh in On Their Choices
by Rik Stevens
Ray Popsie of Concord is one of those voters the candidates have coveted: The independent, or undeclared, voter who is not aligned with either party. The 55-year-old transportation manager voted for Carly Fiorina.
"I think she's more even-keeled than everybody else," Popsie says. "If you vote for Hillary Clinton or if you vote for Trump, you're just not paying attention."
He believes people are flocking to Trump because "they don't wan the regular old guys anymore."
Popsie's first choice was Marco Rubio but the Florida senator's much-criticized debate performance left him cold.
"He just became too robotic," Popsie says.
Lena Healey, 37, is blunt when she explains her vote for Trump.
"This country's gone weak," she says. "(Trump) tells it like it is."
Melissa Fisk voted in Concord with her two sons, 10-year-old Ryder and Tanner, 8, in tow. It was actually Ryder who got the longtime Democrat interested. For Christmas, the aspiring politician said he wanted to meet all the candidates so the family went on the campaign trail and came away impressed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
"It felt like he had the most trustworthiness."
Fish says she was put off by Hillary Clinton's support of Planned Parenthood and the ongoing investigations into the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
As for Ryder, he's already got his own campaign sign: Ryder Fisk 2048.
Maureen Barrett is another lifetime Democrat who says she voted for Donald Trump because can't trust Hillary Clinton and she's fed up with political correctness.
"I like the man. He's got a lot of characteristics like I do," says the 68-year-old Barrett, of Concord. "He says what he means and he's not into the same old corruption. If Hillary gets in, this country is going to go right down the tubes."
Concord Ward Sees Heavy Morning Turnout
by Rik Stevens
It looks like it could be a busy day at the polls as the nation’s first presidential primary gets underway. When the Ward 3 polling place in Concord opened at 7 this morning, there were already 15 people waiting in line and a steady parade of voters streamed in over the next 45 minutes.
And those voters interviewed had one thing in common: They’re angry and they’ve had it with what they see as Washington’s politics as usual. So, you had Democrats voting for Donald Trump, independents casting ballots for Carly Fiorina and Republicans pulling for whoever they thought could knock off Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the fall.
Polls are open across New Hampshire for the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
About 30 voters waited in line outside Concord's Ward 7 before doors opened at 7 a.m.
City election officials went through the crowd to remind them to have their IDs ready when they got to the voting station inside.
AnnalieseWorsterwas one of the voters waiting in line before the polls opened. She brought her daughter Ellie, and their dog, Lulu, a yellow lab.
"I'm really excited about voting because I feel like every primary session we have an opportunity to elect a nominee for our party that represents us in the best way that they can."
Bernie Sanders supporters were placing signs just outside Ward 7 before the doors opened, but an election official quickly told them the signs had to be removed because they were on public property.
Polls Open for First in the Nation New Hampshire Primary
- by Rik Stevens
Voting in New Hampshire began at midnight in Dixville and Hart’s Location. Most polls open between 6 and 8 a.m. though some open later in the day. Polls close between 7 and 8 p.m.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner predicted a turnout of 62 percent. Gardner believes 550,000 votes will be cast by the time things wrap up: 282,000 votes for Republican hopefuls and 268,000 ballots for Democratic candidates. The last time there was no incumbent on the ballot (in 2008) about 530,000 people voted in the primary.
The X-factor: Weather. The National Weather Service says a storm that started Monday could leave up to eight inches of snow in some parts of the state by the time it ends early today. That could drive down turnout.
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