Top Ten Takeaway: The New Hampshire Primary

A political newbie shares the best — and weirdest — moments of the New Hampshire primary.

A week before the New Hampshire primary, I went with a group of students to see what it's like to be the first in the nation. It was clear as soon as we got there that both candidates and New Hampshire citizens take this title seriously. Candidates hosted up to five events per day, and citizens attended as many events as they could.

Here are some of the most interesting moments from the trip that could only be experienced firsthand:

  • Despite having to ask another New Hampshire audience to "please clap" for him, Jeb Bush had a sincere personality and made a huge effort to connect with his audience. He even choked up while answering a question about addiction.
  • People spent hours waiting in line to hear their favorite candidates. High-profile candidates such as Trump and Bernie Sanders had to turn away hundreds of supporters.
  • Unhappy rioters screamed at Ted Cruz when he answered a question about climate change. (He says it isn’t real.) Police then broke up a fight and escorted the rioters outside.
  • Donald Trump swears frequently when he's not on national television.
  • During the Republican debate, Marco Rubio was accused of being robotic. The next day, people showed up at his event dressed as Marco Roboto.
  • Presidential candidate Vermin Supreme has stumped in New Hampshire for decades. He wears a boot on his head and promises free ponies to all.
  • While waiting to get into events, we were offered dozens of buttons and signs. The lower a candidate was in the polls, the more free merchandise they wanted you to take. Jeb even gave out free chapstick.
  • Media came from as far as Sweden and Japan to record the New Hampshire activities. They were especially interested in young voters.
  • Campaign headquarters are open to the public. They offer free pizza in exchange for sitting at a phone bank or door knocking.
  • Almost every candidate stayed long after their speech was over to answer questions and take pictures with audience members.


Leah Kiernan is a junior at Rhode Island College and an intern at Rhode Island Monthly.