Thursday, January 10, 2008
2008 New Hampshire Primary
The 2008 New Hampshire Primary is history. Inevitably, the chattering classes will deconstruct the results and debate whether New Hampshire should keep its first-in-the-nation status. I'm biased, but I think the answer is Yes. We had a record turn-out of over 500,000 voters. We ignored the pundits and handed comeback victories to McCain and Clinton. We ignored Vermin Supreme. No, that's not my nickname for Mitt Romney. Vermin Supreme was an actual candidate on the Republican ballot.
One of the quieter successes was the way a group of amateur, New Hampshire photographers banded together to document the primary. The New Hampshire group on Flickr attended campaign events throughout the state and posted photos to the NH Primary Project. You can see a slide show of hundreds of these photos at the NH Photo Tour Blog or you can look for photos on Flickr tagged with "nhelection08".
Recently, New Hampshire Public Radio noticed all the activity on Flickr and commissioned some of us to visit the candidates' campaign headquarters on election night. The idea was to document the victory speeches, the concession speeches and the lesser known, uniquely New Hampshire moments, and post photos of all of the above to NHPR's web site.
NHPR dispatched me to McCain headquarters with my (ahem) colleagues from ABC, CBS and Fox News. It was standing-room-only. It was loud and crazy. It was lot's of fun. Considering I was at McCain's very first 2008 campaign appearance in New Hampshire last March, the victory celebration was very special for me. I felt like I had watched the whole story as it unfolded -- in person. I've collected all my campaign pictures in this Campaign 2008 Set. (You don't want to miss the photo of Vermin Supreme.)
In short, I am thrilled with the way Flickr enabled documentation and participation in the primary process. I commend NHPR for tapping into a pool of amateur photographers so they could provide a service to New Hampshire citizens. And I am sure there are lots of other examples of how organizations and individuals are pushing the New Hampshire Primary in new directions. It's not your father's New Hampshire Primary. It's an ever-changing process powered by serious and passionate people. Maybe that's the best reason for keeping it first-in-the-nation.
P.S. NHPR hasn't posted all of the election night photos yet. When they do, I will post a link.