I had hoped that this would be the presidential primary year when I would finally be able to get out and meet the candidates – all of them – face to face. Get a measure of them. In the past, I was usually tied up at the office or in other scheduling conflicts.
In New Hampshire, many of the campaigns start out with house parties, where the candidates talk informally in people’s living rooms, or in fraternal lodges or town halls and the like, and then build up to larger venues. Since the televised debates often screen out those candidates struggling in the survey polling, serious voters will seek out opportunities to give everyone a chance to be heard and considered. This is, after all, grassroots politics.
Somehow, my calendar in the fall and early winter filled up with other activities. So I decided I’d devote the weeks just before and after the Iowa caucuses to the project. What I discovered, though, was that almost all of the remaining events were now scheduled in Merrimack Valley, over an hour away from the seacoast region where I live – that is, they’re in Manchester, Nashua, and Concord. And the U.S. senators in the running were all stuck in the impeachment hearings in Washington.
Well, there have been some surprises since then.
One was on Tuesday afternoon, the day after Iowa, when Amy Klobuchar spoke at South Church in Portsmouth. I attended and am glad I did. The sanctuary was packed, every seat on the main floor, and she really delivered. I had a much better appreciation for her as a presidential contender. Actually, she was amazing.
And Sunday afternoon, Pete Buttigieg appears at the middle school here in Dover. I’m planning to be there, for perspective, if nothing else.
I do regret not starting on this project earlier. I’m left wondering about those who simply failed to connect, what we’re missing.
Still, we’ve met with some interesting and devoted volunteers who’ve canvassed at our front door. And we’ve been following the local news. So it goes, down to the wire.