Politics

In New Hampshire, the Circus Has Come to Town

Chaos of presidential primary season in the Granite State

In the days and weeks leading up to the New Hampshire primary, the Granite State buzzes with events, media, phone calls, door knocks, and, of course, television ads.

Candidates seeking to amuse, entertain and persuade can be seen performing their political antics almost anywhere and at any time across the state — from local coffee shops and diners to town halls and rallies. But it’s been going on far longer. The visits from potential presidential candidates begin about a year and a half out from the primary.

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LifeZette has been on the ground in New Hampshire since the end of January. We were able to catch up with some of the candidates for exclusive interviews and were able to witness the sheer craziness of the primary election season.

Throughout the week before Iowa to primary day all the way through the morning after the election, live broadcasts are produced in Manchester from major television networks such as Fox News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC and Bloomberg.

But, the media aren’t the only thing buzzing. Volunteers for the campaigns are outdoors knocking in the snow, rain and cold weather for the candidate they believe will make the best president. They’re also making lots of phone calls to households across the state.

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Granite Staters enjoy the special first-in-the-nation designation, but don’t enjoy the hassle that is sometimes associated with it, from limited parking, to secret service barricading main roads, the incessant phone calls, and the pesky reporters bothering them with questions about who they will be voting for.

“I’m so tired of the damn phone calls,” said one agitated Manchester voter, who preferred to remain anonymous.

When asked if the phone calls made a difference in deciding whom he would be supporting in the primary, he said, “No.” But, he did note that he does attend candidates’ events and that’s how he decides whom to vote for.

However, two undecided voters who are college students in New Hampshire said they enjoy everything about the primary and the opportunities that it presents to get face time with candidates — who potentially could become the next president of the United States.

IMG_6775As the primary nears, many New Hampshirites can be seen sneaking a peek of the inner workings of live production and taking selfies with candidates and media personalities at events.

But, it’s not all fun and games — New Hampshire voters have a big decision to make on primary day. The Granite State is known for its indecision in the days leading up the primary, and this year is no different.

LifeZette spoke with various voters throughout the state while on the campaign trail and many said that they hadn’t made up their mind and would be deciding on the day of the election.

This year, the stakes are high for candidates with such a crowded GOP primary field — especially for the governors in the race. If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush can’t place in the top four here, their campaigns are in jeopardy. These candidates have staked it all in New Hampshire, with each visiting over 100 times since 2014 — the most of any of the candidates in the field.

IMG_6694Donald Trump has been leading the GOP field in every poll conducted among likely Granite State primary voters, but turnout will ultimately determine who takes it all.

The Democratic race has Vermont Sen. Sanders ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — who won the New Hampshire primary in 2008, but this time one can expect that the result will be much different. With Sanders neck-and-neck finish against Clinton in Iowa, his campaign has gained steam.

While candidates are busy making their final pitches, voters are finalizing their choices after months of listening to stump speeches, ads and debates. Tuesday night, the craziness will come to an end, and New Hampshire will have made its choice — and possibly the choice for the nation — as ballots are counted and the first-in-the-nation primary comes to a close, determining the future of the race.

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