Political climate in N.H. shifts over 8 years

January 8, 2008 4:57:23 PM PST
The Chicago connection to Hancock, New Hampshire includes a mountain with the same name as a landmark building in the Loop, Monadnock, and political consultant Lauren Carney, who moved there from suburban Des Plaines. ABC7 visited Carney four years ago, eight years ago and twice before that. Then, the political landscape was reliably Republican red.

And even though Hancock looks the same today, quaint is probably an understatement. The political topography is turning blue, like an Obama sign.

"A lot of Democrats have been inspired by Obama. Obama caught fever here," said Carney.

"Barack Obama comes through and shows us how to speak our minds and how to tell the truth," said Anita Mendes, Obama supporter.

The sentimental favorite is aging war hero John McCain, who won the Republican primary in 2000 with the help of independent voters who may be in a different mood this year.

"It will be how many independents want to get on the Barack Obama bandwagon. It's going to influence what happens in the Republican primary," said Susan Burke, McCain supporter.

This rural hamlet may be small, but voter turnout is heavy like in the rest of the state on an election day unlike almost any other.

"There's much more hype. My phone has been ringing every day, every hour," said Carney. "The number of people that were going in when the polls opened at eight o'clock was phenomenal. And I have never seen that many cars when it opened up, even during general elections in November."

Carney is a Republican. She said she voted Tuesday for Rudy Giuliani.

The Obama phenomenon may be real, but she's not on that bandwagon. Turnout was so heavy they had to deliver election equipment to parts of the state on an emergency basis to satisfy all the people.

They have a slightly arrogant approach to politics in New Hampshire. A local saying says, "In Iowa they pick corn. In New Hampshire, we pick presidents."