LIVE: NH Young Republicans Lobster Bake and Straw Poll

At least five GOP presidential candidates expected to attend.

4 p.m.: Straw poll results have been announced, with

3:01 p.m.: Straw poll voting is closed. David Hurst just announced they will have the results in about 20 minutes. There is both a GOP presidential poll and a GOP gubernatorial poll. We'll have the results for you as soon as they're announced.

3 p.m.: Speaking portion of the event is over. Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul were not here today, but they were both Gold Sponsors ($1,000) of the event. 

2:51 p.m.: McCotter starts his talk by saying, "I have good news ... I am the last speaker."

Calls U.S. "a nation in stagnation." Says we need to "seize the opportunity" amidst the crisis.

McCotter wraps up, says he's going to play one more set with his band.

2:48 p.m.: Only about 40 people still under the tent to hear McCotter speak. Most people are outside the tent now eating or mingling. The dangers of being the last to speak.

2:46 p.m.: Thad McCotter up next. Conservative political commentator SE Cupp will introduce him.

2:28 p.m.: Johnson is now speaking. Says he's "an athlete," having competed in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii multiple times, and climbed Mt. Everest.

Says he sees politics as a higher calling. Murmur going through the crowd now, as some people have stopped paying attention and are talking instead. Big crowd around Cain outside the tent.

Johnson says as governor, he made a difference, something he thinks he can do for the country as well.

"We need to balance the budget, and we need to kick out our tax system completely." Says it should be replaced with the fair tax. "It would reboot the American economy."

Johnson draws cheers for saying he would never have established the Department of Homeland Security or TSA. "Leave airport security to the airlines.

"I put my chips on the table here in New Hampshire," he said. "It is a terrific political environment ... where you can go from obscurity to prominence overnight." Hopes that will be the case with him.

2:25 p.m.: Looks like Gary Johnson made it from Boston. He's here, and scheduled to speak next. He's the second to last of today's scheduled speakers. Straw poll voting will remain open until 3 p.m.

2:05 p.m.: Herman Cain is now speaking. Starts with a lobster reference: "I hope to relieve you of a couple of those lobsters on our way back to the bus."

Now drawing laughs as he jokes about "demanding attention" from the audience.

"We have become a nation of crises." Silence. "Y'all can applaud."

Cain says he's running for president to give the voters another option.

On Rick Perry getting into the race: "Come on down! Join the fun!" But also says the American people, and not the media, will pick the GOP nominee.

Cain says he's in the middle of the pack, "and that's just where we want to be." Said it's not just a three-person race, as the media often makes it seem.

Said he's proud of his fifth-place showing in Iowa Straw Poll, where he spent very little money compared to the other candidates.

"The people are the ones voting for Herman Cain -- not the media and not the money. That's the difference."

He went on to criticize actress Janeane Garofalo, who recently said Cain "must be getting paid" to run for president. If he's getting paid, Cain joked, he wants the phone number of the person who's paying him, because they're behind on the payments.

Cain also talked about his economic growth plan, which would replace the current tax code with three taxes. Says it "makes it fair -- for everybody, every business." Hands his last copy of flier explaining the plan to Jack Kimball.

He went on to quote chef Emeril Lagasse, saying "We've all got to kick it up another notch."

2 p.m.: Ovide Lamontagne has arrived at the lobster bake.

1:52 p.m.: Buddy Roemer now has the microphone. Said he hasn't run for office for 16 years, "But I couldn't stand it anymore." Says he's "the only guy running who's been a governor and a Congressman."

Roemer ran through what he'd do if elected, including closing the Department of Energy, and taking retiring federal employees and replacing them with new technology. "Maybe the damn Post Office could deliver a piece of mail," he said.

"I will not take a big check," Roemer said. "One hundred dollars is my limit."

He also took a dig at Romney, who's taking big money from donors.

Roemer closes by saying, "And remember, I'm from Southern New Hampshire -- I'm just one of the guys," a reference to the place he recently rented in Manchester.

1:44 p.m.: Since Roemer isn't ready to speak yet, they just introduced Chris Hill, described as "a new candidate for president." He's an airline captain for UPS, and longtime New Hampshire resident (formerly of Bedford). Currently lives in Kentucky. He said this is his first campaign appearance, and his first ad will run tomorrow in the Union Leader.

1:43 p.m.: It was just announced that Buddy Roemer was supposed to speak next, but he just got a lobster. So he's going to speak a bit later. Must be a long time since he's had lobster.

1:35 p.m.: Herman Cain has arrived. He's scheduled to speak last today, but he might wind up going ahead of Gary Johnson depending on when Johnson arrives.

1:25 p.m.: Fred Karger is now at the microphone -- so is his bagpiper. He's taking at least part of his alloted 15 minutes to have his bagpiper play.

Karger goes on to reiterate his pledge to give out a Fred Frisbee to every household in New Hampshire. Now he's talking about how he got his start in the Young Republicans himself years ago. He's twice used the "Fred Who?" and "Who is this Guy?" comments he's made such a big part of his campaign.

He also name checked Ronald Reagan about a half dozen times, as most of Karger's work as a self-proclaimed "behind-the-scenes" political consultant and strategist was in California.

Karger also stressed the importance of bringing younger people into the Republican Party. Said he's been to almost every college and university in New Hampshire.

1:20 p.m.: State Sen. Jim Forsythe, head of Ron Paul's New Hampshire campaign, is now speaking on the Texas Congressman's behalf. Says Paul will decrease spending, if elected. Also says Paul predicted the recession during his 2008 run. Says he's the right person to get the economy back on track. Huge applause and chants of "Ron Paul, Ron Paul." Looks like he might be a front-runner in the straw poll.

1:17 p.m.: New Hampshire GOP Chairman Jack Kimball just spoke. He says the current field of presidential candidates is "a great field." Urged everyone to stay involved. "Your country is at stake.

"If we don't get rid of Barack Obama, this country will forever change, and you will not recognize it," Kimball added. "So let's make sure he is a one-term president."

He also said there is some "unfinished business" here in New Hampshire as well -- getting rid of Gov. John Lynch.

1:15 p.m.: Fred Karger is here -- and so is his bagpiper.

1:10 p.m.: Just ran into Matt Simon, Gary Johnson's spokesman here in New Hampshire. He said Johnson's flight into Boston last night was delayed, and then canceled -- most likely due to the weather. Simon said Johnson flew into Logan this morning, and someone is racing to Boston right now to pick him up and bring him to New Castle, hopefully in time to speak at today's event. Even if he doesn't make it, Simon pointed out that Johnson is scheduled to spend the next eight days in New Hampshire. He was also supposed to make a stop this morning at on Route 1 in Hampton, but obviously that didn't happen due to the flight cancellation.

1:05 p.m.: Just spotted House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt of Salem eating lobster and chatting with a group of about a dozen people under the main tent.

12:37 p.m.: In addition to McCotter, Buddy Roemer is now here. I just had a brief conversation with David Hurst, chairman of the New Hampshire Young Republicans, who said the schedule is getting a bit of a late start. McCotter's band is playing now, and shortly, state Sen. Jim Forsythe, chairman of Ron Paul's New Hampshire campaign, will speak on the Texas Congressman's behalf. Next up will be Fred Karger, followed by McCotter, Roemer, Gary Johnson, and Herman Cain. At 3 p.m., the straw poll balloting will close, and the results will be announced before the event's scheduled end at 4 p.m.

12:11 p.m.: Jeff Chidester just gave the official welcome, and told everyone the food is ready. He also reminded people to vote in the straw poll: "Don't forget to vote. And unlike Democrats, vote once." We just added a photo of the ballot so you can see who's on it and how it's set up. Still no word on when the candidates will be speaking.

11:40 a.m.: After a few delays, we're here at the New Hampshire Young Republicans Lobster Bake and Straw Poll in New Castle. Saw a lot of Ron Paul signs on the way in.

So far, the only presidential candidate we've spotted is Thad McCotter, who was tuning up his guitar. Herman Cain, Buddy Roemer, Fred Karger, and Gary Johnson are also expected to attend. Paul will not be here. There were rumors earlier in the week that Mitt Romney might show up, but we haven't heard anything about Romney making an appearance yet today.

Embattled New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Jack Kimball is here, as is radio talk show host Jeff Chidester, a key member of Michele Bachmann's New Hampshire team. There's a very small media contingent here so far -- perhaps due to the fact that there's limited electricity available.

We're going to go mingle and chat with some people in the crowd. We'll have more for you once the candidates start to speak. We'll also have full results of the straw poll voting later today.

Adam of CA August 20, 2011 at 10:53 PM
Second consecutive Straw Poll shows that voters are listening to Congressman Ron Paul. Is the media listening to the Mad-As-Hell voters? Now NH is famous for saying that they are independent thinkers and do not follow Iowa's voters. Seems like the two small states agree about Presidential Candidate Ron Paul. You can bet the Media Police like George Will is puzzled. Let me spell it out for those who find politics too disgusting to follow. The Mad-As-Hell generation is ready to bury the traditional Republican Leadership. Ron Paul is a Libertarian. Many Talking Heads have already published that the time is ripe for a new Party. That Party just may be recognized as the Peoples' Mandate. So the No Republicans and the Hell-No Tea Party Republicans will be buried in the Nov. 2012 Elections, so that the birth of a third Party can be born. Looks like the voters are grasping that the Do Nothing Republicans are totally useless to them. Nov. can't arrive soon enough! Adam of CA.
Jeff Hatch August 21, 2011 at 12:43 PM
I wouldn't to much faith in these straw polls. Here's why, these events are attended by loyal hardcore activist. To win the primary a candidated needs the votes of Moderate Republicans and those Independent voters that pick up Republican ballots. As an example 2 yrs ago Candidate for Congress Jennifer Horn was the victor in every straw polls conducted throughout RC when it came down to the primary Charlie Bass beat her.
Carol Robidoux August 21, 2011 at 01:12 PM
Interesting point, Jeff Hatch. How much does all of this pre-Primary campaigning really mean to the voting masses, when it only engages the hardcore base for a given candidate? Smoke and mirrors or necessary part of the campaign process? Meanwhile, the mainstream media treats such Straw Poll favorites, as Ron Paul, like "the 13th floor in a hotel," a la "The Daily Show" http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-august-15-2011/indecision-2012---corn-polled-edition---ron-paul---the-top-tier?xrs=share_copy
Jeff Hatch August 21, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Well in my opinion all this pre-Primary campaigning is more about raising cash, volunteers, and lining up people of influence for candidates. As for what it means to the average voter-sadly not much most of the voters across the country aren't paying attenion or have put much thought into yet.
TheFree Man August 22, 2011 at 08:16 AM
Ron Paul is the only hope we have of helping America to get back onto its feet. PLEASE SPREAD THIS VIDEO LIKE THE PLAGUE PUT IT ON YOUR FACEBOOK,MYSPACE,PERSONAL WEBSITE!! EMAIL IT TO YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS POST IT EVERYWHERE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR RON PAUL!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxa_W1kTjjc


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