Milford, N.H., Republicans Convey Disillusionment

Barber Richard MacDonald, a longtime Republican, says he wants to vote for Democratic contender Bill i i

Barber Richard MacDonald, a longtime Republican, says he wants to vote for Democratic contender Bill Richardson. Melissa Block, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melissa Block, NPR
Barber Richard MacDonald, a longtime Republican, says he wants to vote for Democratic contender Bill

Barber Richard MacDonald, a longtime Republican, says he wants to vote for Democratic contender Bill Richardson.

Melissa Block, NPR
Tim O'Connell i i

Tim O'Connell of Butternut Farms helps a customer at Milford's farmers market. The Republican state representative favors John McCain, but sees challenges ahead for a pro-war candidate in New Hampshire. Melissa Block, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melissa Block, NPR
Tim O'Connell

Tim O'Connell of Butternut Farms helps a customer at Milford's farmers market. The Republican state representative favors John McCain, but sees challenges ahead for a pro-war candidate in New Hampshire.

Melissa Block, NPR
Norm Cote won the pumpkin contest with this 1,177-pound specimen. i i

Norm Cote won the pumpkin contest with this 1,177-pound specimen. Ten-month-old Riley Hodges poses with the winner. Melissa Block, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melissa Block, NPR
Norm Cote won the pumpkin contest with this 1,177-pound specimen.

Norm Cote won the pumpkin contest with this 1,177-pound specimen. Ten-month-old Riley Hodges poses with the winner.

Melissa Block, NPR

From time to time during the presidential primary season,All Things Considered is checking in on the town of Milford, N.H.

Like the rest of the state, which has the nation's earliest presidential primary, Milford traditionally votes Republican, but it has a lot of independent, or swing, voters.

A visit to Milford's annual Pumpkin Fest this past weekend revealed that some longtime Republican supporters there are disillusioned with the party because of the conduct of the war in Iraq and the growing deficit.

One of them is Richard MacDonald, a barber who has been avoiding politics and cutting hair in Milford for 45 years. For the first time this year, the longtime Republican switched his party affiliation to Independent. And he wants to vote for a Democrat, Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Among the reasons? Taxes and the war.

Tim O'Connell, a state representative and a Republican, favors John McCain. He thinks the candidate is honest and realistic about the Iraq war.

But O'Connell looks at an unpopular president in the midst of an unpopular war, and he sees clouds on the horizon for the Republicans, if they want to capture New Hampshire's independent voters, who are leaning Democratic in recent polls.

And among Milford's Democrats, support is growing for Sen. Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Even some of the town's Republicans say they back the former first lady's bid for the White House.

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