A county treasurer who lost her bid for a fourth term last week to a 20-year-old Dartmouth College student from Montana blames her failed candidacy on "brainwashed college kids."
Republican Carol Elliott said students just voted for the Democratic ticket, which included Dartmouth junior Vanessa Sievers. Sievers won by nearly 600 votes out of 42,000 cast after targeting voters at Dartmouth and Plymouth State University through a $42 ad on the Web site Facebook.
"It was the brainwashed college kids that made the difference," Elliott, 66, told the Valley News of Lebanon. She said she had little faith that Sievers will fulfill her duties adequately.
"You've got a teenybopper for a treasurer," said Elliott, who has held the position for six years. "I'm concerned for the citizens of Grafton County."
The part-time job pays $6,408. It involves keeping tabs on all county money, making investments and making payments ordered by county commissioners.
Sievers said Wednesday she was surprised by Elliott's "brutal attack."
"She's never met me before," Sievers said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "She has no idea what I'm like."
Sievers, a geography and history major from Big Sky, Mont., said she has been active in politics for many years and has worked on numerous New Hampshire campaigns, ranging from the mayoral race in Lebanon to Bill Richardson's presidential campaign.
"I've always believed that being involved in local government is part of your responsibility as a citizen and is a way to get involved in your community," she said.
Sievers said her age has nothing to do with her qualifications, noting that she has worked as a bookkeeper, managed her family's finances and has been thoroughly researching investment options to prepare for her new job. She also took issue with Elliott's claim that college students were brainwashed.
"I don't know why people think college students are less informed than other members of the community. A lot of students get very, very involved in their communities, are extraordinarily involved in politics in the area, in doing community service, everything," she said. "I think college students are connected, and sometimes know more than the 'real' citizens. ... I think we're just as real citizens as anyone else in the county."