MANCHESTER, NH – On Saturday, Elm Street was packed with people enthralled with classic cars and one man looking to get their votes and share stories about his old Ford Fairlane.
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld made a campaign stop at the Rotary Club of Manchester’s Cruising Downtown event on his quest for the 2020 Republican Presidential Nomination.
As he met voters one-by-one on his walk down Manchester’s main thoroughfare, Weld found an audience that was uniformly receptive and still generally trying to sift through their options for next year’s Presidential Primary.
What was not uniform was the type of voter that Weld met throughout the day.
Some, such as James Kaklamanos of Nashua, have long appreciated Weld’s reputation for independent thinking.
Although Kaklamanos is a registered Republican, he has gone back and forth between the parties over the years when it comes to candidates he supports.
“In the past, he’s been a really independent guy, he’s never taken any crap from the corrupt Commonwealth and its one-party system,” said Kaklamanos. “A guy like that provides fresh thinking to a lot of ideas.”
Others, such as Roger Amadon, were receptive to Weld due to his tone.
Amadon, who came to the event from north of Concord, calls himself a supporter of President Trump. However, he says he would be open to voting for anyone that supports Trump’s ideas whether it’s Trump or someone else.
“When (Weld) speaks, he is very eloquent and he doesn’t trash Trump and that’s what I like about him,” said Amadon. “Weld has the right ideas, but the key thing is that this country has to stay in a direction that is positive.”
Despite the overwhelming odds in trying to take down a sitting president in a primary, Weld is confident that he can be the first candidate in 40 years to come close.
For Weld, the focus is on fiscal conservatives upset with Trump’s fiscal policies, traditionalists upset with Trump’s unpresidential demeanor and even Democrats or others whose main goal is to vote directly against Trump and want a chance to cast that vote as early as possible.
“If someone is very quiet, I assume they’re a Trump supporter, but that’s maybe 2 out of 20. Most people say ‘wow, you’re a Republican running against Trump, that’s cool, we wish you the best of luck’,” said Weld. “New Hampshire Republican voters are not in lockstep, even if the party is. My job is to get more millennials voting, more women, and change the complexion of the electorate.”