Economy a top concern of NH voters at the polls

Nov. 8—Inflation and the economy weighed heavily on voters’ minds as they cast ballots Tuesday in several close contests for the U.S. House and Senate.

“The gas wells, the oil for our house, I think it’s terrible,” said Linda Bowen, 75, a registered Republican who voted right GOP in Manchester’s Ward 6. , who voted right GOP in Manchester’s Ward 6. “A lot of people I’ve talked to are tired of the prices, especially for gas and groceries.”

Samantha Selimovic, 27, registered as a first-time voter on Tuesday.

His biggest concern: “Inflation, gas, food. Just the cost of living. It’s terrible,” Selimovic said.

For the most part, he said, “I will vote for the opposite party that caused this inflation.”

Securing the nation’s borders against illegal immigration, concerns about preserving democracy and protecting the right to an abortion were other top concerns for some voters.

Deana Sweeney, 61, registered no, said abortion is her main issue. He supported pro-choice candidates.

He wished the political climate was more welcoming to the political collaboration of the two parties.

“I just wish there was a center, a center on all the issues, that they would talk to each other,” Sweeney said.

Great turnout

Secretary of State David Scanlan predicted New Hampshire voters would set a one-term turnout record with 591,000 ballots cast, breaking the 2018 mark of 580,214.

Several city clerks in the southern suburbs of Merrimack, Derry, Auburn, Bedford and Salem late Tuesday afternoon reported they were on track to go well above their 2018 turnout totals.

As a result, the Democratic campaigns of Senator Maggie Hassan and Congressman Chris Pappas along with Republican challengers Don Bolduc and Karoline Leavitt spoke with one voice on one thing.

They all urged supporters to stay in line late Tuesday even after the polls closed.

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In Derry, commenters on social media reported heavy traffic leading to Calvary Bible Church on Hampstead Road, the only polling station in the city of more than 34,000 people.

In past years, Derry has had several polling sites, including at Pinkerton Academy.

The comments also reported waiting in traffic for up to two hours, and that while waiting in traffic saw many cars turn around. There were also complaints about limited parking at the site.

In Manchester’s Ward 6, moderator Louise Gosselin said the polls of Henry J. McLaughlin Jr. Middle School was “extremely busy,” and he called turnout higher than normal for a midterm election. More than 1,200 people – more than 20% of registered voters – cast ballots in the first four hours of voting in a ward with only 15 more registered Republicans than Democrats heading into Tuesday’s polls.

Decision to make

In Ward 3, retired baker and registered Republican Lorraine Hartofelis, 88, voted for 1st Congressional District Democrat Chris Pappas and U.S. Senate Maggie Hassan after watching all the debates.

“I think Karoline (Leavitt) is too young,” Hartofelis said of Pappas’ Republican opponent.

“I think he has a lot to learn, and he’s a little gung ho,” Hartofelis said outside the Ward 3 polling station at the Carol Rines Center on Elm Street.

Social Security was the main issue for Hartofelis, who relies on monthly paychecks.

“And inflation is out of control,” he said.

Although he cares about border security, he said Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc has contradicted himself too much. “I would never vote for him. Hassan has a proven record,” he said.

A retired truck driver and World War II veteran, registered Republican Bertrand Gosselin, 94, went the other way and voted for Bolduc and Leavitt, citing the border and the economy.

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“The border should have been closed a long time ago, and we wouldn’t have this problem that we have now. We have some people who want to keep it open, oh, God, people are leaving them with no idea of ​​what America is. yes,” he said. “They’re jumping the border, and they’re coming in and they shouldn’t be allowed.”

As for Leavitt, “We need new blood. We need a new perspective.”

Back in Ward 6, registered Republican John Kovacs, 65, a retired state corrections officer, voted right Republican.

The state of the economy and the nation’s border police against illegal immigration were his main issues.

“We need to secure our borders,” Kovacs said.

Linda Jones, 67, who works at the Moore Center, said “democracy at stake” was her biggest motivation for voting.

Jones cited election “denials” that claim former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Bolduc initially said that Trump won the 2020 election and later changed his position to say that President Joe Biden had legitimately won the White House.

Jones, who voted right Democratic, said the problem of the economy is global.

“It’s all over the planet,” he said. “It’s not the fault of any party. It’s all connected to the pandemic.”

Realtor Jen Bowles, 38, said she split her ticket.

“The economy is a big factor,” he said.

Arthur Lawrence, in the 70s, said he voted for Bolduc at least in part because Sen. Maggie Hassan’s record “is completely contrary to his advertisements.”

“I look for character, and I look for substance,” he said.

In Bedford, Dylan Vilela, 18, a senior at Bedford High School, voted the Republican ticket in his first general election. He came in support of Governor Chris Sununu, who arrived at the Bedford polls at the same time, and said hello.

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At a national level, he said the border and inflation are issues he follows closely.

“I just think that a lot of the Democrats in office are spending recklessly on things they shouldn’t be spending on,” Vilela said.

Kim Yang, 22, who held a sign that read “vote blue” at Bedford High School, said she would vote right-wing Democrat. He is looking to attend graduate school.

“Being an Asian American woman, I always felt that the Democrats just understood what it takes to not only unite minorities but make us feel seen and represented,” she said.

She liked how Hassan and Pappas remained committed to women’s rights after Roe v. Wade flipped. Public education is also important to Wang.

“Looking at bills like the concept of division law coming through Congress was very disheartening, knowing that teachers can be threatened and prosecuted for just trying to teach these things to their students,” he said.

At the Ward 3 polls at the Carol Rines Center in Manchester, Michael Kapos, a barber, did not want to reveal who he voted for, though he said he is a registered Democrat.

“I vote every time, and I vote for the best person who will do the job,” he said. “I vote for Republicans and Democrats. I vote for the person, not the party.”

He hates all the attack ads, calling them this cycle more feisty than usual.

“I’m glad this is the last day,” he said. “I won’t have to see any more ads.”

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