I’m back in Palm Desert, California…should I mention that it’s 75 degrees right now? Yeah, that’s right…no more long johns, fleece, or snow boots for Lindsay!
Anyways, my last days in New Hampshire were a lot of fun. The office was full of volunteers the weekend before the election, so we were able to do tons of phone calling, canvassing, and visibility. On a side note, the difference between the weekenders and fulltimers is pretty amusing. We got a van full of college kids from New York, and they would not stop talking about how they were going to the NH State Liquor Store to buy tons of alcohol and get plastered. Then they would take a 2 hour break during prime calling hours to go to Applebee’s for dinner and drinks…we were 3 days away from the primary! Focus, people, focus! Oh well…they did some work, so they weren’t completely useless.
On Monday we did some last minute lit dropping and canvassing. Laura, Paul, and I were sent to drop lit and DVD packets in an area a few minutes north of Laconia. The houses were pretty far apart, so we just drove from house to house and dropped the DVDs on doorsteps. The houses we were dropping at were right on a huge lake (don’t remember the name of it…maybe it was Lake Winnipesaukee) and I remarked how interesting it was that all the boats were shrinkwrapped. Laura and I started wondering how exactly you go about shrinkwrapping a boat, and Paul got so annoyed by the discussion that he drove us to a marina office so we could learn about shrinkwrapping boats. The guy inside the office explained the process…turns out they use a big heat gun. You learn something new every day…
Later that evening we returned to the farmhouse because General and Mrs. Clark were coming to visit. The Clarks were on a one day 10 county tour of New Hampshire, and were stopping at our farmhouse in Alton to greet local supporters and volunteers. The press bus proved to be a minor annoyance, as for some reason the driver didn’t go where we were directing him towards, and he succeeded in tying up traffic while he tried to execute a turn on a small country road. This local guy was really annoyed that he couldn’t get home and wanted to know what the hell was going on, so we told him. Laura says she saw him inside the house later, so it’s possible that a disgruntled motorist was converted to a Clark supporter. Once we got the Clarks and press inside the house, we went in to listen to Clark speak. There were about 50+ people crammed into the dining area/kitchen area. Probably the most hilarious part of that evening was when Clark was coming towards Laura and I but Laura was turned the other way and he tapped her on the shoulder…she turned around and was like “Oh!”…I guess you had to be there, but it was great. Clark then made a really short speech (maybe 3-5 mins or so…a shortened version of his stump speech) and then Deanna (the wonderful local supporter that handed her lovely farmhouse over to us volunteers, and invited us to her other house to watch the Iowa caucuses and enjoy some delicious homemade pizza and steamed mussels…she rocks!) stood up by Clark to make a short speech. She thanked him for running and then started talking about Tom, Joel, Mike, and myself (the 4 full time interns at the office) and how we worked late into the night to get Clark the nomination, were very dedicated to the campaign etc etc…they were some very nice remarks. After the speeches, General and Mrs. Clark came into the living room to meet with just us volunteers for about 10 minutes. It was kind of surreal…here we were chatting with the Clarks in the living room where we were staying. Usually during the evening we kick back, eat some dinner, and watch C-SPAN or Blind Date (yeah, don’t laugh…there is not much of a selection late at night), but that evening we were having a nice discussion with General Clark. Mrs. Clark is awesome, too…she will make a great First Lady.
Later that night we learned that Clark won Dixville Notch and Hart’s Location, which was pretty cool. Guess what song was playing on the car radio as the residents of Dixville Notch cast their ballots…”Hey Ya” by Outkast!
On the day of the primary we performed the usual GOTV (get out the vote) tasks…calling people and reminding them to vote…doing viz outside the polling places, etc. After the polls closed we headed down to Manchester, went to the rally, had some dinner, and then headed to the hotel we were staying at. I headed out the next morning…luckily the snowfall wasn’t too heavy and my plane was able to get out of NH. The campaign said they were shooting for 3rd place, and that’s what we got, so I guess that’s alright, but I really wish we could have pulled a 2nd place showing.
If you ever get the chance to work on a Presidential primary in NH, don’t pass it up. It’s hard work, long hours (12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week) but you will have so much fun doing your job, and you’ll be working for a candidate you actually believe in. Where else but New Hampshire would you be able to have a 10 minute meeting with your candidate without having to donate $2,000? The citizens of NH love being “first in the nation” no matter how much they may complain about all the phone calls they get from the different candidates. They are extremely nice up there…for instance we were out doing viz and some random lady got out of her car and handed out cups of hot chocolate she bought at Dunkin Donuts for us…that was much appreciated. The local supporters are wonderful people…handing over their houses and apartments so volunteers could live there…cooking us pasta and lasagna for dinner…dropping a few pizzas by the office for lunch…bringing donuts in the morning…basically making sure we were being taken care of.
In closing, my 3 weeks in New Hampshire were absolutely amazing. I’ll have some pictures up soon…I only brought a disposable camera with me, but Laura and the other volunteers took a lot of pics with their digital cameras, so I should be posting those in the days to come.