MANCHESTER, NH — A sold-out convention is drawing Democrats of all stripes to the SNHU Arena Saturday for a chance to hear from their favorite candidate — 19 presidential hopefuls are on the schedule for the day-long NH Democratic Party convention
Manchester’s downtown is “party central” for those who are already dedicated to a candidate as well as those still trying to decide from the crowded field of candidates. Doors opened at 7 a.m., and the atmosphere was energized by the various camps of supporters, sporting homemade signs and candidate swag.
Festivities were scheduled to kick off at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Mayor Joyce Craig and some of her fellow Democratic mayors from around the state, including Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley, Mayor Dana Hilliard of Somersworth and Mayor Caroline McCarley of Rochester. The first candidate scheduled to speak is Vice President Joe Biden, at about 9:45 a.m., followed by Cory Booker, just after 10 a.m. Each candidate is scheduled to have about 10 minutes on the microphone.
The lineup appears to be alphabetical, with Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang closing the day between 2:45 and 3 p.m. In between prominent state and national dignitaries will have time to address the crowd, including former NH Gov. John Lynch, state lawmakers and union officials.
Convention-goers were boisterous and out to make some noise, some amplified with drums and megaphones, cheering, chanting and waving from the sidewalk at passing traffic surrounding the arena. Local candidate campaign headquarters were open for supporters to stop by and gear up with signs and T-shirts.
Several candidates have announced public events in the area, including a lunchtime stop by Booker at Shopper’s Pub, just across the street, and a picnic in Kalivas Park with Mayor Pete Buttigieg at about 2:30 p.m. You can check here for locations around the city and beyond.
Early arrival: The John Delaney Bus rolled by the SNHU Arena just as the doors were opening. Photo/Stacy Harrison
Logistically, those attending — and those avoiding — the convention should be aware of street closures surrounding the arena and look for parking, or seek alternate routes accordingly.
Check back for convention updates throughout the day or search #DemsNH2020 on social media, the official event hashtag.