The Wash
Republican primary presidential candidate Nikki Haley takes a selfie with potential voters.

Haley delves into retail politics

Multiple stops at breweries and pubs allowed Haley to stand out among tough competition.

By Jordan Young and Isabelle Kravis

Laura Dowling and George Edwards were dining at The Peddler’s Daughter, a locally owned Irish pub filled with patrons. While they were waiting for their food, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley came through the doors with Gov. Chris Sununu to pour beers and talk to voters.

Dowling and Edwards, registered Independents, said they leaned toward supporting Haley but had yet to learn that she would appear during their dinner. 

“I’ve lived in New Hampshire for at least 40 years, and the thing that I really like about it is that we do get to see the candidates,” Dowling said. “We get to have that interaction, and to me, that means a lot. You’ve got that reality there rather than just seeing them on TV, and it’s a small enough place that we can do that.”

Republican Presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, at a bar with supporters.
Republican primary presidential candidate Nikki Haley pours a Guinness at her unofficial birthday party on the campaign trail as N.H. governor Chris Sununu watches. (Jordan Young/The Wash)

The former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations seemed relaxed as she served guests and blew out the candles on a surprise birthday cake the campaign staff had hidden behind the bar.

“All you have to do is just kind of give her some space,” said Jacob Adams, one of the volunteers with her campaign. “Let her take the reins, let her walk around, meet people, and that’s the best way — to almost have that hands-off approach and let her do what she wants.”

The pub manager Margaret Conneely said these events are “like religion” in New Hampshire.

“I think because there’s so much energy around political events in New Hampshire … that there’s particular emphasizing and excitement about election season,” Conneely said.

Haley talks to potential voters at Backyard Brewery and Kitchen during a surprise retail stop in Manchester, N.H. (Isabelle Kravis/The Wash)

Cathie Johnson was eating lunch at Backyard Brewery and Kitchen in Manchester two days later when Haley stopped in.

“It’s really fun to be here, but … at the end of the day, you are gonna look at the candidates and your beliefs, and you’re gonna just line up with whoever,” Johnson said.

But Dowling considers these stops essential to New Hampshire’s political culture. 

“I honestly think it makes a huge difference,” Dowling said. “I think that [when] you’re in a big city, you don’t have that opportunity.”

Adams agreed that the personal touch meant something and said Trump wouldn’t walk around and talk to people individually. “You know, that personal, loving touch, [you] just don’t see from them,” he said, “and I think that benefits her greatly.”


The Wash Staff

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