, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

January 5, 2008

Local supporters gear up for New Hampshire

Iowa is over, and New Hampshire is on deck.

Like their counterparts throughout the country, local supporters of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates spent yesterday digesting the results of Thursday's caucuses and were looking ahead to Tuesday's primary.

Massachusetts' neighbor to the north will be the center of the political universe for the next few days, and many North Shore residents plan to trek up Interstate 95 to campaign for their candidate.

"I'm moving to New Hampshire - for the weekend," said Beverly Democrat and Hillary Clinton backer Arthur Powell.

His candidate's third-place showing in Iowa hasn't diminished Powell's optimism. He said more people participate in a primary, and he predicted that the increased voter involvement would translate into a different outcome in New Hampshire.

"A primary is a different animal, and New Hampshire has always been very good to the Clintons," Powell said. "Iowa is nice, but New Hampshire will matter."

It's an outlook not likely to be shared by supporters of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mike Huckabee, the winners in Iowa.

"I'm very pleased with the outcome," Laura Dietz, chairwoman of Ipswich's Democratic Town Committee, said about Iowa. "The win by Barack Obama flies in the face of the cynicism that surrounds politics, and that is extremely refreshing."

Christina Bain of Manchester is stumping for former Gov. Mitt Romney in New Hampshire today and tomorrow.

"Every door has to be knocked on," she said.

Iowa, she said, is not representative of what will happen elsewhere in the presidential race.

"Iowa is kind of its own nucleus," Bain said, and cited the state's evangelical Christian population that turned out Thursday to support Huckabee.

"I think that Huckabee gave the voters of Iowa a message that hit home to them," said Nancy Luther of Topsfield, a Republican State Committee member from the 2nd Essex District.

Luther is in Rudy Giuliani's corner because of his straightforward, realistic message and his broad appeal in a general election. But yesterday, she wouldn't predict his fate in New Hampshire. She left it up to the voters.

"The only poll that counts is the one that occurs on Election Day," she said.

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