Concord, New Hampshire: The City that Picks Presidents
Concord, New Hampshire – There aren’t many places where you can have lunch or take a walk and run into a presidential candidate. But in Concord, NH this is a regular occurrence.
In Concord, visitors can experience New Hampshire politics firsthand and have access to all the charming amenities of the Capital City, known for its off-the-beaten-path food scene and budding arts scene.
Every four years this small city transforms into the epicenter of American political activity as presidential candidates flock to the Granite State to win the hearts of voters for the first presidential primary in the nation. You can't win the oval office without coming through Concord and rubbing elbows with the voters. And, as the seat of government, politics is a contact sport in this city, home to the massive 400 seat New Hampshire House of Representatives, 24 seat State Senate, the five seat Executive Council, and the Governor.
As you wander through the myriad of locally owned shops and restaurants in downtown Concord, it is not unusual to see photographic evidence of a politician’s visit hanging proudly on the wall. Especially during the winter months, it is common to run into national politicians at coffee shops and restaurants as they make stops on the road to the White House. Some of these hot spots in Concord include Granite State Candy and The Barley House. Pictures of politicians and political paraphernalia adorn the walls of these two food establishments. Granite State Candy is known for its ice cream and candy and The Barley House, its award winning burgers and popular bar. Voters like to meet the candidates before casting their votes and those running recognize the influence Granite State voters have during elections.
During the months leading up to the primary there are numerous political events: house parties, rallies, town hall meetings-they all happen right here. For example, in the 2012 election, former Presidents Obama and Clinton held a rally in downtown Concord that drew a crowd of 14,000.
Franklin Pierce, the one U.S. president to hail from New Hampshire, began and ended his political career in Concord. A statue of Pierce stands at the edge of the Statehouse lawn. Erected in 1914, it is the only statue of Pierce in his home state. The Greek revival style 1838 Pierce Manse museum was the home that Pierce and his family lived in between the Senate and the presidency. Down the street, the grave of the 14th president is in the Old North Cemetery.
Amid the 19th century brick architecture of downtown Concord stands the glistening gold dome of the State House. In the interim years, when Concord isn’t crawling with campaigning politicians, news crews and political volunteers, the dome stands as a quiet monument of the active civic spirit that lies within the heart of New Hampshire. Here in Concord, one can experience politics the New Hampshire way.