MANCHESTER, N.H. – Fifty presidential candidates filed to enter the New Hampshire Republican and Democratic Presidential Primaries in November. Many are well known, but some of the lesser known candidates descended upon the DoubleTree by Hilton on Wednesday to spread the word on their campaigns in a forum for dark horse candidates.
The forum, part of New England College’s College Convention 2020, featured stump speeches from around half a dozen of these lesser known candidates running for the nominations of both major parties.
Each of the candidates decided to run for different reasons despite the long odds they face.
Mary Maxwell (R-NH) cited her love for the constitution and actually wanted to run for vice president in the New Hampshire Primary before learning she could not do so directly. Lorenz Kraus (D-NY) is running to divide the United States into four separate countries based on an anti-Semitic philosophy. “Hip Hop Republican” Darius Mitchell (R-MA) isn’t even on the ballot, but has been criss-crossing the United States on a platform of entrepreneurship, marijuana legalization and reforming parental custody rights.
These three, like many of the lesser-known candidates, have not received much, if any, attention from the general public. Still, there were some candidates who have received some of the political world’s gaze in the past such as Mosie Boyd.
Boyd (D-AR), received over 95,000 votes in the 2002 California Democratic Gubernatorial Primary and has appeared on CNN and Fox News in the past. She’s also made campaign appearances and knocked on doors in Iowa and here in New Hampshire during this campaign season. While she didn’t get a chance to meet with all of the other candidates and did not necessarily agree with all of their viewpoints, she appreciated the chance to speak alongside them on Wednesday.
“I think it’s wonderful, I’m so grateful to be here and to receive the invitation and to hear what my colleagues have to say,” she said. “It’s definitely a diverse crowd. I’ve enjoyed listening and I’m honored to be part of this process to hear patriotic Americans share what they believe.”
Boyd wasn’t the only candidate at the event campaigning in the Granite State.
Mark Stewart Greenstein (D-NH) has filed for presidential primaries in Vermont, California and Delaware in addition to New Hampshire. Due to the fact that he’s not taking campaign donations, he’s recycled signs from his previous grassroots efforts to bring the Hartford Whalers back to Connecticut, which he has placed throughout the greater Manchester area.
Stewart Greenstein’s primary goal is not to become president but to slowly build up a new libertarian-leaning party called the “Every Politically Independent Citizen” (EPIC) Party by reaching out to moderate voters and fellow hockey fans he meets through his travels.
“Invade the big parties. If you are not a leftist, don’t be afraid to be in Democratic primaries at the presidential level and the state level. Be willing to be in their caucuses, their conventions, even if they’re dominated by the far-left, because you’re not going to be alone,” said Stewart Greenstein, who received 29 votes in the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary. “You might be the only candidate, but so what?”
Even though many of these candidates do not have a realistic shot at winning, Dr. Wayne Lesperance, professor of political science and vice president of student affairs at New England College, said the New Hampshire provides a unique opportunity for these candidates, regardless.
“What’s neat about New Hampshire is that it’s relatively easy to get on the ballot. It’s part of the state’s commitment to promoting citizen activism and citizen engagement, it makes it possible for anyone with a thousand dollars to be considered in the New Hampshire Primary,” he said. “A lot of times people want to run because they want to raise attention about issues they care about. Whether it’s a Constitution Party type who would really like a strict interpretation of the constitution. There are some that believe America has lost its way on foreign affairs or domestic affairs. There are no shortage of conspiracy theorists who think the government is out to do this, that, or the other. Whatever the issue happens to be for them, they want to have the platform to raise it and this happens to be one of the ways to do that.”
The crowd, like much of the convention, had a fair deal of students. A group of students from Bentley College wasn’t particularly swayed by the candidates they heard.
One of the students, Massachusetts resident Julie Harrington, describes herself as a Never-Trumper Conservative and is planning to vote for Joe Biden.
“I would say I have a hard time taking them seriously, but they sporadically have some well-meaning ideas and beliefs,” said Harrington. “I am very fond of candidates who are passionate about what they believe in and don’t waver their beliefs to get votes.
Another, Londonderry, NH resident Mary Sullivan, is currently leaning toward supporting Bernie Sanders, but could be persuaded to support another Democrat with a good chance of defeating Donald Trump.
She felt that this event was entertaining, but markedly different from the other events she’s been to with more well-known candidates.
“The candidates that spoke today had big plans but not real plans to back them up, no real legitimate plans they could put in action. A lot of conspiracy theories I didn’t think I’d hear from a presidential candidate,” said Sullivan. “I would most certainly never vote for anyone that spoke today. I just think the other candidates have more comprehensive plans or are not promoting conspiracy theories, especially with so many good Democratic candidates out there.”