You, Too, Can Ran For President — For $1,000

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I didn’t make it to the New Hampshire primary after all. Four years ago, I wrote a piece vowing to visit my native state during the 2020 primary, which took place Tuesday. But life and work conspired to make that an impossibility. Maybe in 2024…

After the debacle in the Iowa caucus, the first-in-the-nation primary drew plenty of interest. There is still no clear front-runner in the still-crowded race to nominate a Democratic candidate to face Trump. Former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign appears to be on life support. New Hampshire’s electorate is famously unpredictable, overwhelmingly white and uniquely attuned to retail politics. Most folks in the Granite State expected to meet the candidates in person to take their measure before deciding who they’ll support. Considering the entire state has fewer residents than live in Dallas, for a lot of citizens that is doable.

For such a small state, New Hampshire has a passel of elected officials. Its legislature is called the General Court and has 400 members in the House and 24 in the Senate. That’s one rep for every 3,200 residents or so. It’s not a full-time gig, paying even less than the $7,200 Texas legislators earn. New Hampshire reps “earn” $200 each two-year term and have to pay their own expenses.

In 1968, I participated in my first political campaign, in Suncook N.H. I was 12 and was persuaded by a pretty college girl to hand out flyers for Sen. Eugene McCarthy in front of a church serving as a polling place. McCarthy was the anti-war candidate running against incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. I was well-versed in current events, reading both the Concord Monitor and the Boston Record-American every day. However, my decision to hand out McCarthy flyers in February 1968 had more to do with hormones than ideology.

LBJ won the primary, but McCarthy did well enough to prompt Bobby Kennedy to enter the race. Johnson ultimately decided not to seek reelection. A few months later, our family watched the moving van leave 27 Valley St. in Allenstown, New Hampshire. We clambered into a 1964 Mercury Comet pulling a small U-Haul trailer filled with items we would need before the van arrived. We were GTT – Gone to Texas. By then, both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Kennedy were dead from assassin’s bullets, and the world seemed as if it had been turned upside down.

The world seems more than a tad topsy-turvy these days as well.


I visited a couple of N.H. newspaper websites to scope out the coverage. The Concord Monitor and the New Hampshire Union Leader generally represent the opposite ends of the political spectrum, the former on the more liberal side, the latter decidedly conservative. This year, the Monitor decided not to endorse anyone in the Democratic primary, while the Union Leader backed Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. On the Democratic ballot, voters had plenty of names from which to choose besides those who managed to make it onto the debate stages. On this 100th anniversary of the Granite State holding the first-in-the-nation primary, also running were Sam Sloan of the Bronx, Ben Gleib Gleiberman of Sherman Oaks, California, Rita Krichevsky of Lawrenceville, New Jersey and Roque De La Fuente of San Diego. A total of 33 folks were on the Democratic ballot, most of whom garnered fewer than 100 votes out of the nearly 300,000 cast. On the Republican ballot, besides the current Oval Office occupant, voters could choose from 16 other candidates, including Mr. De La Fuente, who doubled his slim chances of winning by entering both party primaries. There was also President R. Boddie of Covington, Georgia. That’s his actual name. And Bob Ely of Lake Forest, Illinois, who ran in 2012 against President Obama under the interesting slogan: Vote for the Jerk. Ely is a self-described entrepreneur and the owner of a couple of small East Texas newspapers.

It only costs $1,000 to get on the presidential primary ballot in New Hampshire, which helps explain why so many folks without a prayer of winning do so, perhaps for bragging rights. On your personal Wikipedia page, you could truthfully say that you were a candidate for president in 2020.

Likely, you would leave out the fact that only 12 people voted for you, and most of those probably did so accidentally.

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