MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – Voters in this independent New England state set
Mitt Romney on his journey to the Republican presidential nomination by giving
him the victory in their first-in-the-nation primary at the beginning of this
year. They returned to the polls Tuesday to finish the electoral process they
started, this time choosing between Romney and incumbent President Barack
Ron Gosselin, who has lived in New Hampshire for all of his 75
years, was one of those primary voters who got to see his choice returned to the
ballot for Tuesday’s general election.
“People see New Hampshire as a
leader,” he declared as he stood outside of a Manchester polling station,
holding up campaign signs despite the chilly weather.
But like many in
the Granite State, the retired hardware store owner is no strict party line
voter. The placards he displayed were in support of a Democratic candidate for
New Hampshire is known for going its own way, and voters
like Gosselin have made this one of the purplest of swing states. Though it only
delivers four Electoral College votes, they were very much up for grabs in an
election that surveys showed as exceedingly close when polls
Diana DeLizia, 42, who moved to New Hampshire from New York two
years ago, was excited to cast a vote Tuesday in a state where the winner was
not a foregone conclusion.
The Obama supporter, who accompanied her
20-year-old daughter to the polls Tuesday, noted that New York was all but
certain to back the Democratic candidate.
“In New Hampshire, we had to
make sure we got out and voted,” she said. “Our votes are counting for
Both presidential candidates have made trips to the state in
the waning days of the campaign, offering impassioned pleas for voters’ support.
Obama recruited former Democratic president Bill Clinton to join
him at a rally in the state capital on Sunday.
And Romney, whose
headquarters is in neighboring Massachusetts, the state he once governed, chose
to hold his “Final Victory Rally” in Manchester Monday night before adding on
last-minute stops in swing states Ohio and Pennsylvania on election
Thousands of Romney supporters waited hours in the searing-cold
November night to get into Verizon Wireless Arena Monday, where a full house
euphorically greeted Romney and his wife Ann when they showed up at around 11
Waving red, white and blue glow sticks and beating together
Romney/Ryan plastic bats, those who made it into the stadium were treated to a
concert by Kid Rock before hearing Romney make his closing
“This is a special moment for Ann and me, because this is where
our campaign began. You got this started for me!” he told the
“Your votes and your work here in New Hampshire will help me
become the next president of the United States.”
Obama also chose a
symbolically significant location to deliver his final campaign speech – Des
Moines, Iowa, the state that backed him over expected winner Hillary Clinton
during their caucus and propelled him to the White House in 2008.
come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote,” he said to applause, his
voice hoarse as he chanted, “Fired up and ready to go!” with the crowd. “I came
back to ask you to help us finish what we’ve started.”
dissatisfaction with both candidates has been an issue during the campaign, none
of that was on display in either Iowa or Manchester.
who had been waiting upward of four hours occasionally broke into “Romney!
Romney!” chants to keep their spirits high as they waited to go through security
and enter the arena.
Marie Demers, 49, decided that the cold was too much
for her for Monday night’s event, but was proud that her 28-year-old son was
among the thousands of supporters willing to brave the elements to get
“They’re exercising their freedom,” she said. “I was so proud to see
the crowds of people willing to stand out in the freezing cold [to show] their
Demers was born and raised in New Hampshire and said she never
missed a primary or general election.
“I love that we get to start it
off,” she said. “It’s such a privilege that we have this.”
Not that her
family helped determine the final verdict.
While she and her son voted
for Romney, her daughter and daughter-in-law went for Obama.