Our man Phil on the scene – Dateline New Hampshire.

Dixville Notch

As the bell tolled midnight earlier this morning in Dixville Notch, a tiny hamlet in the picturesque valley between Dixville Peak and Sanguinary Mountain, the first 17 votes of the 2008 Presidential Election were cast in New Hampshire’s First-In-The-Nation Presidential Primary.  These first 17 voters cast their ballots from the confines of the quaint ballroom of the very famous Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, known for its skiing, golfing, and its hosting of the casting of the first ballots every four years in Presidential Elections.

Less than 15 minutes after midnight the following 2008 Presidential Primary results were made official by election officers in Dixville Notch:

Republican Primary                                       Democratic Primary

Senator John McCain – 4 votes                        Senator Barack Obama -7 votes

Governor Mitt Romney – 2 votes                      Senator John Edwards – 2 votes

Mayor Rudy Giuliani – 1 vote                           Governor Bill Richardson – 1 vote

No that isn’t a misprint – Senator Hillary Clinton failed to receive a single vote in Dixville Notch and is tied with Congressman Dennis Kucinich with zero votes after the first New Hampshire votes were tallied.  

The question on the minds of candidates, pollsters, pundits, and voters this morning is how representative of the state of New Hampshire are the voters of Dixville Notch?  Later this evening we should get a better idea of just which campaigns will “Live Free” and which might “Die” as they leave the Granite State. 

On the Democratic side a win by Obama is sure to leave the Clinton campaign in a tailspin that might be impossible to pull out of.  Can Edwards generate a showing in New Hampshire that will allow him to see another day?  If Clinton can pull off a victory, which now seems unlikely, how does that impact the race heading into Super Tuesday?

On the Republican side a loss by either McCain or Romney leaves a lot of questions as to the viability of their campaigns in the days and weeks to come.  A win probably catapults them into the frontrunner status and for Romney probably means a win in Michigan.  How important is it for Huckabee to finish no lower than a strong third if he hopes to keep his momentum heading into Michigan next week?  Can Ron Paul beat out Giuliani in the fight for fourth?  Does Thompson become irrelevant if he barely registers or can he pull an upset and finish higher than sixth and take that momentum to South Carolina?

 We’ll try to answer these questions and others as the day progresses and the results start coming in.  I’ll post updates throughout the day as news, buzz, and scoop comes in.  If you have any questions or hear anything interesting today, please add it below!



37 Responses to “Our man Phil on the scene – Dateline New Hampshire.”

  1. 1 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    A very interesting note on the New Hampshire turnout in today’s Presidential Primary.

    The previous high turnout in a New Hampshire Primary occurred in the 2000 election cycle when just under 400,000 turned out to vote. New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner is projecting voter turnout to hover around the 500,000* mark today. If Secretary Gardner’s projection is accurate that would mean a 20-25% increase over the previous high turnout.

    Are Iowa and New Hampshire indicative of this year’s voter turnout trends or just early excitement that is bound to wane as the year goes on? If they are indicative it looks like 2008 will go down as an election year when America decided it is important to be politically efficate.

    *Just heard that some precincts are running out of ballots and the Secretary of State’s office is trying to get more ballots to them.

  2. 2 Larry M
    January 8, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Drudge is reporting many towns are out of Democrat ballots. Who benefits from such high turn-out? Could it be the Clinton machine driving everyone and their mother to the polls?

  3. 3 Matt in the hat
    January 8, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I just don’t see how Hillary pulls this out, and I think Romney is going to win because it seems like McCain is the one who loses votes when Democrats gain.

  4. 4 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Larry and Matt – My guess is that a high turnout on the Democratic side is being fueled by a large number of Independent voters choosing to vote in the Democratic Primary. Who does this help? It is certain to help Obama, but the big winner under this scenario just might be Mitt Romney if Obama is taking Independent voters away from McCain.

  5. 5 Waring
    January 8, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Any of the last ditch efforts going to work? Like Huckabee saying he wants to end birthright citizenship? Should pull some anti-immgration voters.

  6. 6 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Waring – I think the only questions that remain on the Republican side are will it be Romney or McCain and can Huckabee finish a strong third? It seems as if it is much too late for Huckabee to make a serious run at first or second in New Hampshire irregardless of any last second maneuvering.

  7. January 8, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I think McCain and Romney are going to battle to the wee hours of the morning in this one… its going to be close.

  8. 8 Allen
    January 8, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    David, I think you’re right on the Republican side but think Romney is going to pull it out for the reason Phil said, everyone who can seems to be voting D today. On the D side, I wouldn’t be shocked by an Edwards close third or even second. People seem to be running from Hillary in droves from what I’ve read.

  9. 9 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    The New Hampshire Secretary of State now believes that turnout could be as high as 70-80% of registered New Hampshire voters.

    It is also being projected that 150,000 Independents will vote today – 90,000 in the Democratic Primary and 60,000 in the Republican Primary.

  10. 10 Bring Back Reagan!
    January 8, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Anyone think either of these races could be over by the end of today? Or the end of next week? I guess the Republican race will still go on, but Hillary seems to be imploding.

  11. January 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    If Obama wins by as much as he’s expected to, I think he all but has the nomination sealed up. Hillary would be likely crushed again in South Carolina, and would have to make a stand on Feb. 5th, at which point, Barack has too much momentum.

    The GOP race lasts until Feb. 5th at least. If McCain wins, it sets up for a McCain/Huckabee throwdown in South Carolina, with the winner of that taking on Rudy and his “big state” strategy on Super Duper Tuesday.

    If Romney wins, he’ll take on Huckabee in SC and that winner moves on to face Rudy.

    Of course, just my humble opinion 🙂

  12. 12 Bring Back Reagan!
    January 8, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    The $64k question is this, in my opinion: Is the turn out so high because of the weather or are people inspired to vote for Obama? I’d guess a little of both, but probably Obama more. Though the weather will probably help Hillary since her supporters are generally older.

  13. 13 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    David – I think you’re right, it is going to be a much longer night in New Hampshire than it was in Iowa. We should have a good idea of the outcome of the Democratic Primary fairly early this evening, but the outcome of the Republican Primary might not come until early tomorrow morning.

    Bring Back Reagan – I think an Obama win tonight puts him one large step closer to wrapping up the Democratic nomination. That being said, he is running against Hillary Clinton, a candidate with a lot of money, a lot of supporters, a major political machine behind her, and the belief that the Presidency rightfully belongs to her regardless of what everyone else is saying. I don’t see her stepping down gracefully in other words. There has been speculation that she might step down if she believed she would be handily beaten in New York – only time will tell. It is rumored that a major meeting has been called for by the Clinton camp in the morning to discuss a retooling of her campaign operation (James Carville and Paul Begala are rumored to involved – doesn’t seem like a campaign of “Change” to me.).

    On the Republican front I don’t think we’ll know who the nominee will be until Super Tuesday at the earliest, but it is possible it will be as late as March 4, when Texans go to the polls. There is even a scenario (one that seemed unlikely just a week ago, but seems more plausible with each passing day) that could lead to a contested Republican National Convention in Minnesota the first week of September. A loss by McCain tonight is likely a nail in his coffin. A loss by Romney tonight hurts, but doesn’t end his run as he is still likely to finish strong in Michigan and Nevada and possibly South Carolina in the next two weeks.

  14. 14 Dirk K.
    January 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Mr. Buster,

    What about Thompson, or is his campaign just lying face down in the gutter?

    Do you think if the independents get the candidate they desire by voting in the Democratic side, that will have repercussions for the general election, or do you get the sense it’s just an anti-Clinton push?

    Does Huckabee need to finish in a certain place to get momentum for South Carolina, or can he safely write of NH?

  15. 15 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Dirk – Thompson has written off New Hampshire and has all eyes on South Carolina. He made a brief stop in New Hampshire over the weekend to participate in the ABC and FOX debates and then quickly headed South. He’s not even in New Hampshire tonight – he’s on an 11-day bus tour of South Carolina. I wouldn’t say his campaign is lying face down in the gutter, but a loss in South Carolina may well lead to that.

    I certainly think the number of Independent voters choosing to vote for a Democratic candidate in the Primary posses a real concern for the eventual Republican nominee in the General Election. Obama has clearly energized a segment of the voting population that has either: 1) Never voted, 2) Rarely voted, or 3) Voted for Republican candidates in the past. The good news is that there are ten months before the General Election which gives the Republican nominee plenty of time to get their message out to the Independents and for the Democratic nominee (especially if it is Obama who is still being tested for the first time) to make a memorable mistake on the campaign trail.

    I think Huckabee has written off New Hampshire if you mean finishing no better than third. I don’t think he needs to do any better than third to remain competitive in South Carolina. If he is able to perform well in Michigan that will help as well. We’ll know more about Huckabee’s future post South Carolina.

  16. 16 Karen N
    January 8, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Who do you guys think will be the first people fired from the Clinton campaign and how soon after tonight will it happen? I think that Mark Penn guy is history first thing in the morning.

  17. 17 Dirk K.
    January 8, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks Mr. Buster,

    The media is setting this up as a showdown between McCain and Romney. What about Giuliani? Does his regional influence, and non-conforming conservatism give him any edge to battle McCain?

  18. 18 Dirk K.
    January 8, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Mr. Buster,

    Also, what is happening when people show up and they are out of ballots at the booths? Are those people getting to vote? Is this going to turn into a mini-2000 with candidates protesting that the results aren’t accurate because not everyone got to vote?

  19. 19 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Karen – That is a very good question and one I’m not sure I have the answers to. What is rumored is that there will be major meeting in the Clinton camp tommorrow – we’ll have to wait to how that meeting turns out.

    Dirk – I think the only way one can look at the Republican contest at this point is as a two horse race between McCain and Romney. The question for Giuliani is not if he can win New Hampshire, but if he can finish third or fourth if not fifth.

    I haven’t heard any reports of people being turned away from the polls. It sounds as if the New Hampshire Secretary of State did a pretty good job of getting additional ballots to precincts that were reporting the need for additional ballots.

    Less than an hour before the polls are closed and there are rumors that the networks will be able to make an early call in one of the contests. Numbers should start coming in in about an hour.

  20. 20 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    The initial returns are coming in.

    Democratic Primary – 5% reporting

    Obama, Barack 5,303 37%
    Clinton, Hillary 5,084 35%
    Edwards, John 2,432 17%
    Richardson, Bill 636 4%

    Republican Primary – 4% reporting

    McCain, John 2,722 38%
    Romney, Mitt 2,061 29%
    Huckabee, Mike 766 11%
    Giuliani, Rudy 624 9%
    Paul, Ron 541 8%
    Total Write-ins 165 2%
    Thompson, Fred 85 1%
    Hunter, Duncan 52 1%

  21. 21 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    FOX has just called New Hampshire for Senator John McCain.

  22. 22 Barry
    January 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    What now for Romney? I know what he says, but that hasn’t always meant anything when it comes to two losses in a row.

  23. 23 Jennifer for McCain
    January 8, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Yeah McCain!!!

  24. 24 My Name is also Earl
    January 8, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    What’s the deal with these numbers for hillary? Is it possible she’ll win tonight? I smell something funny if she does.

  25. 25 firstfriday
    January 8, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    It’s early, but still odd, we’ll give you that.

  26. 26 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Barry – Romney is definitely not in the position he hoped to be in post Iowa/New Hampshire, but he plans to move forward to Michigan where it will likely come down again to a race between McCain, Romney and Huckabee who should be a much stronger competitor there than he has been in New Hampshire. I would be very surprised to see Romney drop out anytime before Super Tuesday is over – with so many candidates still with a chance anything can happen and he is the only candidate with three top two finishes in the first three contests and a virtually limitless bank account.

    Earl – I think everyone is a bit shocked by the numbers Clinton is enjoying at this point. Unless the bottom falls out of these numbers you’re going to hear Clinton call this a huge victory. I think most still see it as unlikely that Obama doesn’t pull out the win here – Exit Polls indicate a 4-5% win for Obama.

  27. 27 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    A new FOX exit poll shows the following:

    Clinton – 39%
    Obama – 37%
    Edwards – 16%

  28. 28 Curious Bill
    January 8, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    If Hillary wins do heads still roll in her campaign? And what’s Obama’s spin on this?

  29. 29 firstfriday
    January 8, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Hillary was expected to win, so her win shouldn’t come as that big of a surprise. What’s most surprising is this was a race in New Hampshire at all. Two weeks ago it was Hillary in a walk. Now it’s a real race, no matter the outcome.

  30. 30 firstfriday
    January 8, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Fox just reported the votes that haven’t come in yet are from college towns, which in theory favor Obama. Will that mean anything in the end? Start brewing coffee.

  31. 31 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Bill – There have already been a couple of announcements tonight of “new” staffer’s joining the Clinton campaign including Maggie Williams, a longtime confidante to Sen. Clinton and Doug Sosnick, White House Political Director for Bill Clinton. The Clinton camp is framing this as “gearing up for Super Tuesday” and the need for additional staff members to handle the increased load over the next several months.

    Assuming Clinton pulls this out you can count on the rebirth of “The Comeback Kid” phrase made popular by Bill Clinton in New Hampshire to be reborn as “The Comeback Girl.” I think the Obama camp will bill this as a great finish for them since Clinton enjoyed a large lead as recently as a week ago.

    This does indeed appear as it will be an early morning call.

  32. 32 Chloe Saint Peter
    January 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    With the Fox exit poll being revised, this race is now a race again. No longer a corronation, no longer an insurgency, but a race. The next bellweather will be when the fundraising numbers come out on the 15th, or whenever.

  33. 33 firstfriday
    January 8, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Chloe, you’re right, but a bigger question is where do the people that supported Edwards go? That’s where the next fight will be. Someone will have to address his “Us against Them” supporters and run risk of losing some of the moderate support they’ve enjoyed thus far. Things keep getting more and more interesting…

  34. 34 Chloe Saint Peter
    January 8, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Fox reports AP called it for Hillary. ‘Night all.

  35. 35 Phil A Buster
    January 8, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    FOX has also just called it for Hillary. An interesting turn of events from the fell this morning to now. Looks like the short road to the White House is once again the long road for both parties.

    See you all in Michigan next Tuesday.

  36. 36 Phil A Buster
    January 9, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Hillary’s Tag Line from her victory speech – “Let’s give America the kind of comeback New Hampshire has just given me.”

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