Webster School, in Manchester, NH — I walked the half-mile here from home for 7 years of my childhood. It is, and was, a polling place for Ward 1. I came back yesterday to hold a sign for us Democrats.
Things looked pretty even when I got there. Ward 1 was solidly Republican when I was little — my family used to joke that the Devines were the only Democrats there, us on North River Road, my grandpa and Uncle Shane’s family up on Union St. Demographics have shifted it toward a more even balance, judging by the yard signs I saw nearby.
But I could tell, in the two hours I stood there, the tide was against us. When I got there, the signs were almost even, and good positions at the front had been claimed for our side by a bunch of union guys who were NH electrical workers by trade.
But as time went on, folks from our side drifted away and nobody replaced them. Their signs disappeared because the law says that the only signs allowed must be held up by people. There were a couple of campaign supporters for Carol Shea Porter who stayed the whole time, and there was Betsy Devine, who came just for two hours and then left because I had to drive people to the polls down in Cambridge.
The Republicans who were there when I came were still there when I left, and more had come out to stand with them. They were enthusiastically greeting voters they knew.
The Republicans I met there were pleasant local people, fed up with the bad economy and convinced that free enterprise solutions would make needed changes. They were not ignorant, aggressive, or hostile–people unlike them make all the headlines of course.
I hope the three Republicans now going to Washington from NH reflect the good will and good hopes of the people I met outside Webster School in my old home town.