Curtis and Susan Abel trudged carefully through the snowy parking lot of the school where they had just voted, both satisfied that they made the right decision. Curtis, 80, cast his ballot for Bernie Sanders. Susan, 79, opted for Hillary Clinton. "I guess we canceled each other out," Susan Abel said with a smile. "It's just, everybody's voting their heart today."
"The silent majority is very angry," said Donna Horvit, 58, a retired food business owner who lives in Londonderry, N.H., and attended Donald Trump's victory rally Tuesday night. Voters are "looking for a refreshing nonpolitician politician, if you know what I mean."
September Hoeler confessed to being a bit overwhelmed as she arrived Tuesday morning at her polling place in Bedford. "It's going to be eenie-meenie-minie-moe," said the 58-year-old Republican.
Ed Ferrero, a 53-year-old sales manager, walked into a school without having made a final decision. He had narrowed his options to Sanders and Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich. "I like the message on both sides," said Ferrero. He said he decided in the polling station that Kasich fit a middle-of-the road mold. So he voted for the governor.
"We were hoping for a strong second," said Marco Rubio supporter Peter Heed, 65, a lawyer and former district attorney from Keene. "It's going to be tough now. I've never seen him stumble like that," he added, referring to last weekend's GOP debate. "I think that hurt. Talking to a few people I know, they just said, 'What happened? What happened?'"
"We've been back and forth," said Kurt Woetzel, 71, a retired business owner who showed up to vote with his wife, Suzanne. The Woetzels, who said they have lived here since 1969, said this was the hardest choice they've ever faced in a primary. They said they narrowed it to Rubio and Ted Cruz, and finally picked Cruz in part because they worried about Rubio's halting performance in the last debate. Cruz's "values match up with ours," Curtis Woetzel said. "We are evangelical Christians. That's one of his labels."
Even some who thought Clinton was more experienced — or would have a better chance to beat the Republicans in the general election — felt a tug to go with the candidate they believed in. Clinton "will have a better chance in November, frankly," said Tom Meehan, a 68-year-old psychiatrist, after voting for Sanders. "But I decided to vote for who I wanted rather than worry about November."
"He (Sanders) has made her more articulate," said Susan Saviteer, who, along with husband Peter, voted for the former secretary of state. "He forced her maybe a little left, forced her to address some issues that she might not have otherwise."