Far From the Spotlight, Fiorina and Gilmore Say They're Not Giving Up | New Hampshire Public Radio

Far From the Spotlight, Fiorina and Gilmore Say They're Not Giving Up

Feb 10, 2016

There were two big winners last night in the New Hampshire primary- and a handful of  losers.  NPHR's Sean Hurley spent some time at the Primary parties of two of the latter, Carly Fiorina and former Virginia Governor, Jim Gilmore.

As the musical act at Fratello's Italian Grill in Manchester, Amanda McCarthy has been strumming her guitar and singing all evening - with no idea that she's been playing for Republican Presidential candidate Jim Gilmore and 15 or so of his supporters. "I went back up after break and I looked over and I was like I don't know if I should be playing?" McCarthy says, "I knew someone important was over there but I didn't know who it was. But the owner didn't say anything so I just kind of kept playing!"

Musician Amanda McCarthy from Londonderry.
Credit Sean Hurley

It's this same lack of recognition, Jim Gilmore says, that's dogged him throughout his presidential bid.  "You really need to find a way to get the message out or people aren't aware of you," he says, acknowledging he hasn't managed to do that.  "Well," he continues, "we had hoped that we would be able to catch fire here and get the presses attention and be in the position to do the debates and make our ideas known and some of that has not come to fruition." 

Though he garnered a statistical 0% of the vote last night, Gilmore says he's not giving up. "I got a plane ticket to South Carolina at 6 o'clock in the morning. And I'm on the ballot in Virginia, I'm on the ballot in South Carolina."

Gilmore was joined by 15 to 20 supporters at Fratello's last night.
Credit Sean Hurley

A few miles down the road at the Derryfield Restaurant, several hundred Carly Fiorina supporters gather in a mid-sized function room. Though Fiorina's numbers aren't looking good, the mood is bright and cheerful..."Carly!  Carly! Carly!" the crowd cheers when Fiorina begins to wade through the crowd.

Fiorina with a supporter.
Credit Sean Hurley

Fiorina walks right by Rod Webber, who has a beer in one hand and, as it turns out, a bouquet of flowers in his pocket.  Webber isn't a Fiorina supporter...not yet.  But he could be. 

It all depends on what Fiorina’s peace prayer is like. "I usually offer them a flower for peace," Webber says, "and say it's a symbolic gesture and in exchange for this flower would you consider saying praying for peace with me now."

Webber doesn't lead these prayers, but instead, he says he asks the candidates to come up with something. "I ask a lot of them and I say 'Listen man, you're the guy running for President, it's what you have to say.'"

Last night he prayed with Ben Carson, and says, "Jeb Bush has accepted multiple times, at least a dozen times.  Lindsey Graham.  Ted Cruz hasn't gone so far as to pray with me, but we've discussed scripture at length."

Webber knows his method is unconventional, but for him it works. "That's one way to go, I don't know if it's the route for everyone, it's what I've chosen," he says.

Carly Fiorina takes the stage and thanks the crowd for being the wind at her back. "You know Frank and I, we have to tell you the truth.  We've kind of fallen in love with New Hampshire," she says.  

Fiorina addressing the crowd.
Credit Sean Hurley

And as her speech winds down, Rod Webber sets his beer bottle on a table, takes the flowers from his pocket and begins to move toward the stage.