Trump supporters soak up experience at New Hampshire primary

State votes as Democratic presidential hopefuls seek momentum

US President Donald Trump (photo credit: REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump
(photo credit: REUTERS)
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire – President Donald Trump wasn’t facing a real challenge in the New Hampshire Republican primaries but was still able to bring thousands of supporters to the SNHU Arena, with many of them having to watch his speech on the large screen outside the full-capacity venue.
Kevin Gagne, a civil engineer from Bedford, New Hampshire, told The Jerusalem Post that he decided to take his son to enjoy the rally.
“We came in 2016 the night before the election and figured that this was a good time to come again. It’s an experience of a lifetime, especially for a kid. There’s nothing like it. There’s no other politician who can do a rally like this,” he said.
Both Republican and Democratic primaries in New Hampshire took place on Tuesday with results expected early Wednesday morning.
Gagne said he is satisfied with the job Trump has done since he took office.
“He’s probably the only politician in my lifetime, and I’m 47, who literally has done, or attempted to do everything he promised he was going to do. Everything. He’s worked on everything that he promised and hasn’t disappointed me at all.
 “In 2016, when all the polls were calling Hillary [Clinton] by a landslide – after I came to his rally, I said, ‘he is going to surprise everybody.’ And I was right because of all the anger that people feel about being judged by Democrats,” he continued. “I think his chances [for reelections] are not only a great; I think it’s actually going to be overwhelming. Maybe a landslide this time.”
Recently retired Robin Dunnam from Lakeland, Florida, took a vacation with her husband that combines watching different candidates.
“We were on vacation, and we just incorporated [the primaries] into it,” she told the Post. “I love politics, and I got to tell you, New Hampshire is exciting during this time. You get to go see all the candidates, and so it’s kind of exciting to see who the movers and shakers are in our country.”
She is a Republican and supports Trump but decided to watch some of the Democratic candidates as well, but left shortly after.
“I couldn’t take it. Once they start bashing Trump, I couldn’t stay. They were just bashing Trump and [telling] lies,” she said.
“President Trump has done a fantastic job,” she continued. “Yeah, he’s rough around the edges, and yeah, he kind of says it how it is, but to me, I love the [way he handles the] economy. I love everything that he’s done. I agree with everything he’s done. I hope he does more – I hope he gets drug prices down and fixes Obamacare – Nobody can afford that. It needs to be fixed, and it wasn’t fixed.”
On the other side of town, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, a modest crowd of a few hundred people gathered to watch former vice president Joe Biden, who has been struggling both in Iowa and New Hampshire. Recent polls put him at the fourth place in the state after leading the race at the early stages. He took the stage trying to sound optimistic.
“Guess who else is in Manchester tonight? Donald Trump,” he said. “What a coincidence. Sometimes it feels like he’s following me around. He seems very interested in who the nominee in the Democratic Party will be. I wonder why he’s so interested.”
Stabroulastirou Bakola, from Manchester, New Hampshire, told the Post that she is not worried about the polls.
“For those of you who are first-timers here in New Hampshire politics, don’t be fooled [by the polls].”
“There are so many people on the Democratic ticket, and 45% are undecided voters,” she added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg were jostling to remain atop a crowded field after strong performances last week in Iowa. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has jumped to third place in opinion polls in New Hampshire after a debate last Friday, is looking to gain momentum from the primary, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren, third in Iowa, rounds out the top of the slate.
Asked about the fact that unlike his rivals such as Sanders, Biden has been drawing a small audience, she said: “Ask a lot of the people in those bigger crowds where they live and where they come from. If they don’t come from New Hampshire, they don’t count at the voting box.
“Whether he wins or not – [former president] Bill Clinton didn’t win in this state and a lot of others didn’t win in the state of New Hampshire yet went on. He needs to do good, and he needs to grow good past New Hampshire as well,” she added. “We hope he wins, and many may be surprised, but it doesn’t end. It is very important here, and he has a lot of support here, but there’s a whole rest of the country aside from New Hampshire.”
When asked about Buttigieg’s message of a need for generational change, she said: “If I go to the doctor and I have a serious problem, I want a doctor with experience. If you put a brand-new doctor or one with the years of experience, I’m going to pick the one in an emergency with the years of experience.”
Reuters contributed to this report.