Vermonters happy to help out in New Hampshire campaigns

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(Host) With Vermont’s primary still a distant two months off, many Vermonters have been exercising their electoral enthusiasm in New Hampshire.

VPR’s Susan Keese talked with some Vermont volunteers campaigning on the other side of the river, and files this report.

(Sounds of crowd) "One two three, yay Bill…"

(Festa) “My name is Bryan Festa and I’m from Poultney and it’s really great to be here to really help the governor to get the momentum that he needs and this is a good beginning for him.”

(Keese) Festa and his wife moved to Vermont three years ago. They’re campaigning for New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. They say electoral politics are more personal in New Hampshire.

(Festa) “Well, I mean it’s small, you can see people face-to-face. Things are not anonymous. When we were making calls and we were holding out signs the other day, we could really bring the message out to people and that’s really what they need to know and not what the media is portraying.”

(Keese) Scott McCarty, a UVM senior from Brattleboro, is spending his winter break working for Hillary Clinton. He’s been knocking on 160 doors a day.

(McCarty) “It’s like fuel. It keeps me going and I keep going. There are so many people still undecided. I actually met a couple yesterday who said, `You know, I love Hillary Clinton, but I really like John McCain.’ And it’s those independents that are really going to shape this debate and are really going to be making this decision.”

(Keese) Dennis Delaney, a former Chittenden County Senator and retired college professor, is working in Nashua for John McCain. He’s been there since the day after Christmas.

(Delaney) “I had some time, I said this is my country and I care about it. So I drove on down the 26th and I’ll be here through the election.”

(Keese) That’s today’s primary election. Delaney says he isn’t jealous that New Hampshire gets more attention from the candidates than other states. He thinks Iowa and New Hampshire are a great way to start the presidential process.

(Delaney) “Because they’re small and candidates who want to be president of the United States have to show up in someone’s kitchens and someone’s parlor and someone’s town meeting down the road. You get a real sense of the candidates in two small places like Iowa and New Hampshire and I really hope that it continues that way.”

(Keese) Vermont’s primary is on March 4 this year.

For VPR News, I’m Susan Keese.


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