Nearly two dozen members of the Harvard Republican Club braved the elements to canvass for several Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire on Saturday.
After an hours-long bus ride, the students arrived in Manchester and Concord to approach local voters and drop off flyers on rain-splattered neighborhood porches.
The downpour kept some students inside making rounds of calls to gauge and rally support for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and for Manchester's Mayor Frank C. Guinta, who is running for re-election. The only voter they met face to face was the pizza delivery man, who expressed enthusiasm for Romney's social conservatism.
The canvassers who went door-to-door, many of them freshmen, slogged through the rain and falling leaves to get their message across. Saturday was the first time many of them had ever campaigned in the state, which holds the earliest primary election.
"It was so much fun because I got to hear [local] people talk about their struggles and tell them what is at the bottom of the Republican campaign," Luis A. Martinez Jr. '11 said, who campaigned for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a crisp suit and bright blue tie, despite the precipitation.
HRC members were dropped off at the New Hampshire campaign headquarters for each of the six Republican presidential contenders, allowing every group to focus their efforts on one candidate.
At the end of the day, students reconvened on the bus and compared the campaign paraphernalia they earned for their work on the trail.
Those that canvassed for Rudy Guiliani boasted navy blue baseball caps and glossy buttons emblazoned with the candidate's name. McCain supporters earned classic white T-shirts for their day of work.
Jacky Kwong '11, who was the only student canvassing for Fred D. Thompson, brought back a purple and tan sign touting the candidate, drawing ridicule from other HRC members for its odd color scheme.
Despite the rain outside, spirits ran high on the bus ride home as HRC members enthusiastically debated the merits of the various candidates.
"All of the candidates bring something to the table, and to the dialogue," HRC board member Caleb L. Weatherl '10 said. "The more competition, the better."
Brigit M. Helgen '08, president of the Harvard Democrats, said her group canceled their campaign trip to New Hampshire on Saturday because of the inclement weather, but that the Dems still called voters in New Hampshire from Cambridge.
HRC board member Colin J. Motley '10 said he believed the trip was successful at drumming up student enthusiasm for the Republican candidates.
"It's a great sign for our club that we're getting people out in a hurricane to campaign," he said. "That's a great sign for Republicans in 2008, no matter what people are saying."
© 2007 Harvard Crimson via U-WIRE