It’s the season of First Primary

Well it looks like I’ve landed in this area of the US in prime political season, the New Hampshire Primary happens tomorrow, determining which of the hopeful presidential candidates stand a chance and which will disappear into obscurity. I’ve awoken to a media frenzy on the topic with the Republican candidates in the spotlight. Apparently you win the Iowa Caucus (which happened on January 3) and the New Hampshire Primary or you go home. To my understanding, these locations sort of act as “temperature” gauges for the population at large. In Iowa, Obama walked away with the Democrat vote but competition was fierce with the Republicans and Romney beat Santorum by just 8 votes.

So far Mitt Romney is still in the lead but as the debates got more heated, he was apparently torn to shreds by his rivals over the weekend. Other heavyweights include Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, John Huntsman, Newt Gingrich and all hope to knock him off balance and make it to the top 3.

Votes are cast tomorrow, with the little town of Dixville Notch voting in advance, at midnight tonight, one of but a handful of places that kept this tradition of middle-of-the-night voting. Their 21 ballots cast will be cast, containing 30 names. That is probably the busiest day of the year for the inhabitants of this remote hamlet located 20 miles from the Canadian border, that is thrust into the spotlight twice on presidential years. They vote in advance for both the Primary and the Presidential elections as their tradition is to close the polls at one minute past midnight. I can imagine the media spotlight is fierce up there tonight.

Political tourism is apparently a strong feature of Primary season and an article by Bobby Caina Calvan in the Boston Globe gives great insight into the experience and motivation of volunteers, who often take holidays to come up to New Hampshire and campaign. Serious campaigning apparently involves over 12 hours a day of cold calling people, sweeping floors and shouting at cars as they drive in to town to encourage them to vote… a hard task in the cold weather! Now that’s dedication…

Twitter is currently buzzing, with hashtags including #nhprimary and #FITN. Someone commented that political tourists are good for business but bad for stealing car parking spaces. It’s the little things isn’t it…

I would like to be a political tourist tomorrow pretty please. The atmosphere must be interesting up in Manchester; there are reports of media frenzy. But I’m faced with a logistical dilemma. The bus service is scarce between Boston and Manchester, there are no reserved seats meaning that I may get stuck out there. The train service is actually routed through the bus service. One bus. So I could get stuck in a place where all the hotels are booked in the middle of winter. And being a broke student I cannot afford a 1h30 cab drive back nor, to be quite honest, the hotel… I’m really in 2 minds about this… I may have to bow out of being there this year and hope that my future media employer sends me back in 4 years time as a fully fledged reporter.

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About monicaheck
Monica Heck is a bilingual freelance writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland.

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