Fanning the Flames: The Freedom Project Blog


Early Returns

By Shawn Healy

Dixville Notch voters, 17 in all, went to the polls early this morning and delivered the preliminary verdict in the New Hampshire Primary. Barack Obama bested John Edwards and Bill Richardson, 7 votes to 2 and 1 respectively for his opponents. John McCain won on the Republican side with 4 votes, better than Mitt Romney's 2 and Rudy Giuliani's single tally.

I made my own journey to a polling location in Nashua this morning, a virtual suburb of Boston and the site of a heated Republican contest between Mitt Romney and John McCain. Both candidates visited Ward 1 at an elementary school at separate times, and their supporters blanketed them in droves, not to mention the ever-present press pool. Judging by the turnout, McCain has the upper hand, and Ron Paul once again turned out his own legion of compatriots.

The atmosphere here in New Hampshire is nothing less than a political three-ring circus. "Flip Romney," and man dressed as a dolphin to characterize his likeness' alleged flip-flops on a number of issues was on hand, as was a busload of students administering exit polls to voters, along with a cohort of former POW's for McCain. A lone bulldog even showed up to support his man Mitt.

Inside the polling location, voters entered to declare a party if they had not already done so, then received the appropriate ballot and entered a private booth to make their voice heard. New Hampshire is famous for its plurality of independents, and voters who declare a party upon entrance may switch back to independent status upon leaving.

According to the secretary of state, record turnout is expected today, at least 1/2 million strong, nearly half of the state's population, eclipsing the 396,000 voters who came out in 1992. By comparison, this is nearly 200,000 voters more than caucused in Iowa last Thursday in a state less than half its size.

I plan to return to the polls this afternoon, reporting this time from Manchester. I'll record a podcast there, then head back to Nashua for more candidate rallies before returning to Manchester to attend a couple more. Once again, tune in to WGN AM 720 in Chicago this evening at 6:11pm to listen to my live report in New Hampshire on the Steve Cochran Show.


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Managing Director

McCormick Freedom Project

Shawn is responsible for overseeing and managing the operations associated with the McCormick Freedom Project. Additionally, he serves as the in house content expert and voice of museum through public speaking and original scholarship. Before joining the Freedom Project, he taught American Government, Economics, American History, and Chicago History at Community High School in West Chicago, IL and Sheboygan North High School in Wisconsin.

Shawn is a doctoral candidate within the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he received his MA in Political Science. He is a 2001 James Madison Fellow from the State of Wisconsin and holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, History, and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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About Fanning the Flames and the McCormick Freedom Project

Fanning the Flames is a blog of the McCormick Freedom Project, which was started in 2006 by museum managing director Shawn Healy. The blog highlights the news of the day, in hopes of engaging readers in dialogue about freedom issues. Any views or opinions expressed on this blog represent those of the writers alone and do not represent an official opinion of the McCormick Freedom Project.

Founded in 2005, the McCormick Freedom Project is part of the McCormick Foundation. The Freedom Project’s mission is to enable informed and engaged participation in our democracy by demonstrating the relevance of the First Amendment and the role it plays in the ongoing struggle to define and defend freedom. The museum offers programs and resources for teachers, students, and the general public.

First Amendment journalism initiative

The Freedom Project recently launched a new reporting initiative with professional journalists Tim McNulty and Jamie Loo. The goal is to expand and promote the benefits of lifelong civic engagement among citizens of all ages, through original reporting, commentary and news aggregation on First Amendment and freedom issues. Please visit the McCormick Freedom Project's news Web site, The Post-Exchange at

Dave Anderson
Vice President of Civic Programs
McCormick Foundation

Tim McNulty
Senior Journalist
McCormick Freedom Project

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