By Faith Boehm
American University student Faith Boehm interviewed voters in Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire, before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary. Here’s what she found:
Jerry Paulson, 60, has driven to New Hampshire to see presidential candidates make their pitches for the Democratic nomination since 2008. This time, he left his home in Washington at 5:45 a.m. on Friday and drove through eight hours of rain and falling snow. He’s spending five days in Manchester knocking on doors and volunteering with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, saying she’s the most likely to defeat President Trump in November.
Paulson later said, “I think she’s really smart. I think she can convey ideas well, and I think she’d be a great candidate to have on the ticket in November.”
One reason he says he’s a Warren fan, Paulson said: “I don’t get a ‘falseness’ that I get from some of the other candidates.”
On Feb. 7, Paulson attended a Warren debate watch party at Great North Aleworks.
Other attendees said the biggest factor when deciding which Democratic candidate to support is who can defeat President Trump in November. Paulson, on the other hand, never mentioned electability.
Instead, Paulson emphasized Warren’s strengths.
“I really like that she’s coming out with policy,” he said, “whereas some of the other candidates are really afraid to put policy out because it might annoy some people.”
Ellen Semson and Jordan Grossman
Ellen Semson, 64, and her husband Jordan Grossman, 61, attended the debate watch party for Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the Great North Aleworks in Manchester. Both Semson and Grossman watched Warren on a large screen, talked with other undecideds, and sipped on IPAs. However, they entered the way they came in: Undecided.
Semson, who works in global marketing, is torn between former Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Grossman, with a background as an attorney for an insurance company, said he does not know which candidate to support.
Having traveled from Westchester County, New York, Semson and Grossman said they were excited to “be in the thick of things” to find out who is best suited to win the Democratic nomination and then the presidency.
“Who’s going to beat Trump?” asked Semson, “Who’s going to be able to gain the vote?”
Amy Rotenberg, a 54-year-old working in crisis management for high-profile corporations and executives, woke up at 3 a.m. on Feb. 10 to catch a flight for the New Hampshire primary to support her longtime friend Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Rotenberg, a Minnesota native who recently relocated to Washington, D.C. from Baltimore, Maryland, met Klobuchar 30 years ago when they both worked at a Minnesota law firm. Having canvassed and worked at a phone bank for her Monday afternoon, Rotenberg said that Klobuchar is special because “the way she goes about governing is to try to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Although Klobuchar’s poor treatment of her own staffers has been documented, Rotenberg said such actions are overstated. “None of us are perfect every single day,” she said.
Overall, Rotenberg was pleased with her decision to support Klobuchar in New Hampshire. “It’s not that she doesn’t have big ideals and big philosophies, it’s that you have to bring that into governing in a way that actually produces results,” Rotenberg said, “And that means reaching across the aisle, finding consensus positions that can benefit most people. It means talking to people that don’t agree with you and listening to them.”
Although Thomas Cheng, 28, is volunteering with a competing Democratic presidential campaign, he attended Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s result party at the Grappone Center in Concord, New Hampshire, on Feb. 11.
Cheng works in education technology in China. Cheng, a 2013 graduate from American University’s School of Public Affairs and School of Communication, visited Iowa for the Chinese Lunar New Year. After, he made his way to New Hampshire, trying his hand at political tourism.
While in New Hampshire, Cheng attended town halls, a rally for President Trump and the 2020 McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner.
Cheng said, “Even with the debate, it’s hard to really have an in-depth look at all the different candidates.”
Additionally, Cheng said, “Even though a lot of them are just giving their broad stump speeches that they often give on the trail, it was the first that time I had a chance to sit through, what was it, 10 minutes of every single candidate.”