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New Hampshire-centric candidates say goodbye
MANCHESTER, N.H. – No two presidential candidates spent more time in New Hampshire and staked their campaigns in the state than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
After logging thousands of miles, dozens upon dozens of town hall meetings and plenty of stops in between, the two governors were introspective while reflecting on their last moments in the state that’s crucial for their political futures.
“I’ve never had such a good time in politics,” Kasich told a crowd of reporters Tuesday morning as he visited a polling location in the snow at a high school in Manchester. “I carried Dixville Notch!” he reminded the media, firmly stating, “we are going to South Carolina. We feel very good today.”
On the other side of town Monday night, Christie told his captive audience at his last town hall in the state, “I’ve got a flight scheduled for South Carolina on Wednesday morning. I intend to take it. But I want to take it with a 100 mile an hour tail wind from New Hampshire.”
“You decide,” he continued. “Not the talking heads on television. Not the pollsters… I’m comfortable to have my fate in your hands. I’ll tell you one last thing: I’m going to be President of the United States.”
-- Kailani Koenig covering the New Hampshire primary
Neighbors turned rivals
Don Tucker and Rick Simons are next-door neighbors of 25 years. In most other American neighborhoods, all would be dandy on this otherwise-normal Tuesday in February.
“We love doing the gardening together and barbeques and all that,” Simons said this last weekend. “We are also both in the electrical trade.”
But they’re New Hampshirites, living in the town of Goffstown, in the waning hours of a presidential primary that’s been in the making for years.
But what makes this neighborly duo standout among the other houses on little Church St. is the more-than-subtle political signage sitting amidst their snow-packed yards.
In Simons’ yard, a giant Bernie sign stands tall with lights strewn on its edges.
And just feet away across the house property line sits a flurry of Donald Trump signs – some that read “Trump” and several more with “Make America Great Again.”
“[Don] just likes Donald because he has the right first name,” Simons, the Sanders support, heckled about his friend and neighbor.
Over the years, the two have engaged in their fair share of political jab matches and debates.
“A couple years ago, I built a snowman outside,” Tucker recalled. “And I woke up the next morning, and he converted it to a Clinton snowman!”
There is a stark discrepancy in total number of signs between the two houses – seven to one. But Tucker said that’s for a reason.
“Two signs were stolen. And then two more,” Tucker exasperated. “And then the ‘T’ was painted over. So I wanted to make [the person’s] day by adding onto the number. I’ve now put up new signs and painted the ‘T’.”
Tucker -- with some white paint used for his day job – went out and repainted the “T” on his giant Trump sign.
Simons joined the sign war just last week after he picked up his solo sign at a Sanders campaign stop at the IBEW 490 Union Hall in Concord. He tossed the sign into his Highlander and headed back to Goffstown to proudly plant in his yard.
Despite the contrasting signs, there’s commonality among the neighbors. They are both supporting the two untraditional candidates from their respective parties.
“I agree with Bernie -- get all the money out of politics and let the people decide,” Tucker, a lifelong Republican, said.
And for Simons, he acknowledged, “They’re not the candidates each party is pushing for.”
And this may be the root at what makes these two politically-opinionated neighbors click.
“At the end of the day, we’re all Americans,” Tucker said from his doorstep overlooking the yard. “It’s important everyone realizes that.”
-- Vaughn Hillyard covering the Cruz caucuses
Snow Makes for an 'Extraordinary' Last Kasich Rally Before Primary
HOOKSETT, N.H -- A little snow didn't stop Gov. John Kasich from greeting his supporters here late Monday.
The Republican presidential hopeful held his final rally ahead of the state's primary — the first in the nation — outside of Robie's Country Store.
"Look at this. It's absolutely unbelievable," he said of the crowd cheering him in 19-degree weather under a light snowfall. "It's extraordinary being here tonight."
Those gathered should one day "tell your grandchildren" what it was like to stand there "with the snow coming down" to "participate in an America for an American that you believe can be brighter," Kasich said, adding that he expected to have a "great time" in the state of New Hampshire.
Kasich, who arrived in his campaign bus that parked just a few dozen feet away, told his supporters his bus is going to South Carolina, the next state to have their say.
"Some of you get ready, we're going to take off the snow boots and hats and put on the flip flops and have jambalaya in South Carolina!
When he asked the crowd how he could "possibly say thanks" for their support, Kasich supporters shouted out a simple instruction: "WIN!"