-GILFORD, NH--If John McCain wins the New Hampshire primary Feb 1., he may well have his campaign volunteers to thank. The key to victory in New Hampshire, aside from television ads, is the degree to which candidates meet voters in person.
There are about 747,000 registered voters in the state, and they cast their ballots at a rate higher than the national average. Given New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation status, candidates spend weeks there. If they try, they probably could meet a majority of the electorate.
McCain himself has spent 56 days in the state and will likely add another seven to the total before the primary.
For McCain's campaign organizers, ensuring that voters know where their candidate will be appearing--and convincing them to attend--is perhaps their most important task.
They rely on volunteers, many of them from colleges in Massachusetts, to spread the McCain gospel.
Early this past Saturday, four young men piled into two cars at a Mass Ave. gate leading to Harvard Law School, and began their two-hour trek to Gilford, a small town in the middle of New Hampshire.
Tom Snider, a third-year student at the Law School, organized the trip for several of Harvard's other McCain supporters.
During the two-hour car trip to Gilford, the conversation that passed between Snider and Daniel Choi, also a third-year Law School student, turned to why John McCain is the only presidential candidate for whom it is worth travelling to New Hampshire on a cold morning.