MANCHESTER, NH (WWLP) – New Hampshire is home to just over a million people.
“A quaint place. It really is. It’s a friendly town. Really all of New Hampshire is very friendly,” said Donna Griffin of Nashua New Hampshire.
“The north country is great with skiing and vacationing, and there’s the sea coast. It’s a pretty state,” said Larry Weinert of Wilton New Hampshire.
The Merrimack River runs along Route 3 and right through the state’s most populated city – Manchester. Old mill buildings and a skyline full of church steeples welcome you to the Queen City.
“Manchester is 50 miles from everything. Fifty miles from the city, 50 miles from the mountains and 50 miles from the ocean,” Don Pauliot, Manchester NH.
But every four years, eyes from thousands of miles away are on the Granite State during its first-in-the-nation primary.
“The whole state is spotlighted around the world during the primaries and it’s pretty interesting to see your town and your state on the media. it’s fascinating,” said Chris Masters of Durham New Hampshire.
In the weeks leading up to the primary, candidates make their rounds, usually participating in smaller campaign stops. A popular stop is at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.
The tiny, classic diner has been visited by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and many others – those visits memorialized by pictures covering every wall. And the stories customers continue to tell.
“When John McCain was running, he and Hilary Clinton were across the oval from each other at the place I was having breakfast,” said Weinert.
“It’s like nowhere else. Unless you’re really politically involved and on the inside. But here, you don’t have to be. You can just be in a restaurant eating and the next thing you know you’re having a conversation,” said Don Pauliot of Manchester New Hampshire.
Although little, the state plays a big part in determining a candidate’s future. Candidates who do poorly in the New Hampshire primary frequently drop out, while those who do well, become serious contenders for the nomination.