Voter enjoys eggs, potatoes and Chris Christie at Manchester diner

By NINA MOSKE 

Monitor staff 

Published: 06-22-2023 5:26 PM

When Pam Poggi stopped for breakfast at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester on Thursday, she didn’t expect to see her preferred presidential candidate, Chris Christie. 

“I went, ‘Oh my God, he’s my favorite candidate, how did this happen!’ ” she said. “I’m pretty happy that we came at the right time.” 

Poggi lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and traveled north to spend Father’s Day with her dad in Manchester. He joined her at the Red Arrow, dipping his potatoes in egg yolk as his daughter spoke with the former governor. 

Christie visited the diner for a meet-and-greet with locals. The spot was quiet when he entered but quickly filled with reporters wielding pens and microphones. Few patrons engaged with Christie – one moved to a seat at the corner of the counter to avoid the commotion. 

Christie, who has positioned himself as a staunchly anti-Trump candidate, announced his campaign in New Hampshire in early June. Since announcing, he has seen a modest increase in polling numbers among Republicans in the state.

Christie cited a poll by NH Journal, a Republican-leaning news website.

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“I’m now up to 9%, I’m firmly in third place and only four points behind Ron DeSantis,” Christie said. “If I had told you that three weeks ago, you would’ve thought I was crazy.”

But the poll also found that Christie topped the list of candidates Granite State Republicans say they “would never vote for under any circumstances.” Nationally, he is polling at 3% among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. 

After ordering tea and oatmeal, Christie addressed reporters from a swiveling barstool. “Donald Trump has been a loser now three times in a row,” he said. “He will lead us to defeat again.” 

Christie said New Hampshire voters are receptive to his anti-Trump campaign.

“I think people are hearing what I’m saying and they’re relieved that someone’s finally willing to say it,” he said. “We need new leadership in this party and we need new leadership in this country.” 

Poggi nodded in agreement. 

“Of all the Republican candidates, he’s the only one who’s truly being honest, because everyone else is kind of parodying what Donald Trump is saying,” she said from her booth in the diner. 

“He’s speaking his mind. He’s not afraid of what people think of him. I honestly feel he’s the best candidate. He’s the one we should have in the White House.

Others in attendance engaged more cautiously. Larry Nice, executive director of Helping Hands Outreach Center in Manchester, came to ask the candidate about his plans to help low-income Americans. 

“There are certain people I will not vote for again,” said Nice, who didn’t align himself with a political party. “That’s why we’re looking for someone like Governor Christie or someone else who could step up to the plate and provide a respectable alternative.” \

Nice said he’s still searching for his candidate.

“I’m looking for someone who can become a respectable, believable alternative to what we see as a more extreme Democratic candidate,” he continued. “I’m looking for a socially responsible person, not an extreme rightist-type person who’s just gonna be there for the banks and for the big businesses, but who will also help in intelligent ways, in helpful ways.” 

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