Weeks of Indecision End for Many New Hampshire Primary Voters
Some cast votes grudgingly, others with utmost confidence in their choice, and many in New Hampshire’s famously late-breaking electorate voted in New Hampshire’s Republican primary on Tuesday after making up their minds at the last minute. Their decisions were based on economic concerns and, in many cases, pragmatism, with the aim of unseating President Obama in November.
Then there were voters, like Nick Cenatiempo, who said electability was not so important as their personal affinity for a candidate Mr. Cenatiempo, a retired teacher, was relieved as he left his polling place here Tuesday morning. After weeks of indecision, he had finally decided — “just now, in there” — to support Newt Gingrich in the primary.
“My wife said to me, ‘He’s not going to win,’ ” said Mr. Cenatiempo, who, like some 40 percent of this state’s electorate, is not a member of either major party. “That doesn’t matter. What matters here is that I make the right decision that I can live with, you know what I mean?”
Wavering voters like Mr. Cenatiempo will play a large part in the primary results. Only last Thursday, 17 percent of likely Republican primary voters were undecided. By primary day, that group had dropped to 7 percent of likely Republican voters.
Mr. Cenatiempo, 63, had done his homework on the candidates. He watched the weekend debate closely and said he had thought hard about voting for Jon M. Huntsman Jr. , the former governor of Utah who experienced a surge of support in the final days of the contest. But in the end, Mr. Cenatiempo decided Mr. Huntsman would be too mild a president.
“Newt has guts and he has experience,” Mr. Cenatiempo said. “I think he’s tough.”