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The Nailbiter in New Hampshire

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Like millions of Americans, I was glued to the television last night from the minute the polls closed in New Hampshire. The pollsters and media had so prepared me for an Obama blow-out that even as the early returns kept coming in for Hillary Clinton, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. The other shoe was expected to be the “youth vote,” particularly in the college towns of Hanover (Dartmouth), Durham and Rindge. While the final results showed Obama won the youth vote, it was not by the margin that had been predicted.

In a turnaround from Iowa, Clinton won the support of more women than Obama, according to exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and television networks. According to the survey, Clinton won 46 percent of the female vote, compared with 34 percent for Obama. In Iowa, Obama narrowly beat Clinton among women.

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According to exit polls, Clinton also held her own among younger Democrats. She and Obama each secured roughly the same amount of support among Democratic voters ages 18 to 64, the exit polls showed. As expected, Obama won the support of more undeclared voters – those who aren’t affiliated with a political party – while Clinton captured more registered Democrats, according to the polls.

I spent last week in Iowa, from New Year’s eve day through the Iowa caucuses, attending candidate events. On caucus night, I attended a Des Moines caucus at a local high school that drew 494 voters. As rural as Iowa is portrayed to be, this one could have taken place at East High School in Denver. The crowd was urban and diverse in every way. It also was decidedly pro-Obama.

This week, given Obama’s Iowa win and the misogynistic media take-down of Hillary Clinton afterwards, I felt cheated. Predictions of an Obama coronation had me believing February 5 would not matter. It would all be over by then. I wanted the Democratic nominee to be decided by Democrats, not Independents and not just voters in two or three states. I wanted my vote to count.

With Hillary Clinton’s win in New Hampshire, the primary contest is wide open. Colorado is one of the 23 states with primaries or caucuses on February 5, known as “Super Duper Tuesday.” Our votes will count. I hope all of you, Democrats and Republicans, will mark your calendars now, locate your precinct and caucus and show up to vote. We have a horse race on our hands and this is your chance to be heard.

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