Chung says he did not feel the need to be directly involved in the campaign until Dean began to slip in the polls from the front-runner status he had enjoyed earlier in the month.
“To be perfectly honest, the only reason I’m here is because of Iowa,” Chung says.
Schmidt says the fallout from the caucus has lowered expectations in New Hampshire.
“Iowa was so bad that if he comes in second or a close second it will seem like a victory,” Schmidt says. “A lot of it depends on factors we can’t control, but the factors we can control, that’s why we’re driving up right now.”
Schmidt has made this drive many times over the past six months. Last summer, he worked at headquarters in Nashua to win over voters to the Dean campaign.
“My full-time job was basically trying to make friends in New Hampshire,” Schmidt says.
Later that night the three students arrive at the Nashua office, where the rooms are crowded with volunteers who joke about their lack of sleep as they put together signs and assemble packets for the following day.
In nearby Derry, Clark’s local office buzzes with anticipation the night before the polls open.
Clark has had an outpost in New Hampshire since November, just two months after announcing his candidacy, and since then Harvard students have been coming up on weekends to help canvass, says Henry C. Quillen ’00, a student at the KSG.
Since he came up to campaign for Clark in the first week of January, Quillen has been involved in making “thousands of phone calls” and fighting to get the retired general’s name out among New Hampshire’s voters. Quillen says it seems as if the election has taken over local life, at least for a few weeks.
“Some people in New Hampshire are being called 20 times a day by candidates,” he says. “That’s frustrating for both you and them.”
Tomorrow, all that work will come to an end in this state. This is an important primary for Clark—the first time he will go head to head and vote for vote against his Democratic rivals.
“I don’t know what to think,” Quillen says. “We could have a really great day or a really lousy day tomorrow.”
And what if the second option comes true?
“At the end of the day, the winner of the New Hampshire primary will only have won a few delegates,” he says.