Voters’ Voices: Claremont, N.H.


CLAREMONT, N.H. (Jan. 9, 2012)–In this small town in southwestern part of New Hampshire, many voters were pumped up about their candidates and the election on Tuesday.

At the Claremont Middle School polling place, Marianne Keeler of Croydon  had a cheer for her favorite Republican candidate:  “Go, Rick, Go!”

Outside the polling place, she proudly held two signs for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.  “Senator Santorum just loves life,” Keeler said.  “He has seven children of his own and a beautiful marriage.”

Keeler, 53, is a stay-at-home mom.  The most important issue in the election, said Keeler, is what she refers to as the pro-life stance. She was formerly a Democrat and, she confessed, that she was not concerned with politics until she had her first child. And realized, she said, that abortion must be stopped.  “Rick wants to turn this into a culture of life,” Keeler said.  “If we do this, God will bless us.”

Also holding two signs next to Keeler was Larry Converse, 69, the treasurer of the Sullivan County Democrat Committee and the retired local Democratic Party chairman. Of course, he was supporting President Barack Obama.

“It’s Obama and not the people who paid a thousand dollars to get on the ballot,” Converse said.  “I figured I better come and hold a sign up so people remember that there’s only one that really counts.”
Raymond Gagnon, 63, also was planning on voting for Obama. But, he said, he also had a soft spot for Republican Jon Huntsman. “I think Huntsman brings a level of civility and common sense to the party,” Gagnon said.  “I find him to be a very agreeable person that could certainly work at healing this country.”

But at the end of the day, Gagnon said, he believed that Republican candidates ultimately did not have the common man’s interest at heart.

“Unfortunately, throughout this primary,” Gagnon said, “we’re not hearing people talk about real people.”

(Kathleen Lees, a graduate student in magazine, newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University, is covering the New Hampshire primary. )


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