Voting Day: Slow but steady turnout – including candidates, surrogates and stars

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Kevin Costner drops by the Red Arrow Diner. Photo via Red Arrow Diner on Facebook

MANCHESTER, NH —  As voters headed to the polls Tuesday morning, so too did the campaign workers, toting signs and cheering their candidate on to victory.

By 11 a.m., 1,499 Ward 1 residents had cast ballots at Webster Elementary School.  The ward is the city’s largest with about 6,000 registered voters and one polling place where the presidential candidates make a point to stop by.

Tuesday morning, that included former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and others.

Tulsi supporters.

Occasionally, a celebrity stops by as well and Tuesday was no exception when actor Kevin Costner arrived to campaign for Buttigieg.

There was a steady stream of voters heading into the school Tuesday morning.

Attorney Bradford Cook, a longtime Republican who is chairman of the state  Ballot Law Commission, was among them.   He cast his ballot for Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts.

Attorney Bradford Cook.

“I wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump if he was running against himself,” he said.  He cast his ballot for Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts.

Asked what the odds are that Weld would win, Cook said, “None.”  The point, he said, was to send a message that there are a significant number of Republicans who do not agree with Trump.

“I don’t think he’s an honest man,” Cook said.

Weld, he said, was a fiscal conservative and a great governor of the Bay State.

Cook, a longtime Republican who is chairman of the state Ballot Law Commission, said Trump would never have been elected had there been three candidates in 2016 and not 21.

“If Donald Trump had been one of three Republican candidates last time he would have come in third,” Cook said.

George Bruno. Photo/Pat Grossmith

This year, Cook believes Democrats have the same problem.

George Bruno, a longtime Democrat who founded New Hampshire Legal Assistance and was ambassador to Belize under the Clinton administration, voted for Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Photo/Pat Grossmith

“I think he’s a candidate who can carry Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin,” he said.  “He’s a former superintendent of schools in Denver, Co. and he’s from a purple state.  He’s not in his 70s, he’s good on national defense and serves on the Intelligence Committee.”

Christy Bergquist said she voted for Elizabeth Warren but her wife voted for Pete Buttigieg,  She decided Monday to vote for Warren.

On Nov. 3, she’s voting blue no matter who the candidate is.

Campaign workers outside Webster Elementary School on Feb. 11, 2020. Photo/Pat Grossmith

At the Beech Street School, where Ward 5 residents vote, by noon 611 people had cast ballots.  The ward has about 3,000 registered voters.

Moderator Paul Crawford said the turnout was steady but slow for the primary.

“It’s been steady but not overly hectic,” he said.  Campaign workers didn’t arrive at the polling place until late morning.  Crawford said he thinks they were busy working on getting out the vote.

He also thought the weather was a factor in the lower turnout.  “The weather was bad this morning and there was a lot of icing,” he said.  The primary usually draws three times as many voters as city elections, when about 600 people vote, he said.

Selectman Maureen Stinchfield said television crews and media from   Spain, Italy, Denmark, Telemundo and Univision arrived to film the process.

Donald Trump Jr. greeting voters at Ward 8. Photo/Manchester Republican Committee Facebook

At Memorial High School, where Ward 8 residents vote, Donald Trump Jr. stopped by and chatted with a group of the president’s supporters.

By 1 p.m., 1,520 people had cast ballots.  One of them was Marilyn, who declined to give her last name.

A Republican, she wrote in Klobuchar’s name.   She voted for her because “she is an honest woman.  We need some honesty back in the White House and hopefully, she will be the candidate.”