Kelly Halldorson, a supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, plans to walk from Dover to Concord on Saturday to raise awareness about Paul's candidacy.
Michael McCord photo
DOVER — Some voters post candidate signs in their front yards or sport supportive bumper stickers on their cars. They donate money and volunteer to answer phones.
Kelly Halldorson is planning a long-distance show of support for her candidate this Saturday — a 38-mile walk to be precise.
Halldorson, a 34-year-old political activist, will make the journey on foot from the doorstep of her Dover home to the steps of the statehouse in Concord to raise awareness about the presidential bid of Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
"I've had enough," Halldorson told the Herald about her reasons for making this public statement of political support. "The lack of media attention, the dismissal of his online popularity really got me frustrated. He hasn't got enough coverage."
She believes that Paul, a medical doctor who ran as the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988, should be taken more seriously by the mainstream media. Halldorson said she reached the tipping point of frustration recently while watching a recent appearance by Paul on a Sunday morning political talk show. The Washington, D.C.-based host said twice on national television that Paul had no chance to win.
"I wanted to do something spontaneous and get some attention. I thought about walking to Washington, D.C. but that wasn't practical. I can walk to Concord," said Halldorson who has never walked a distance more than 12 miles before but believes she's in good shape to make the longer trek.
While she won't be following in the footsteps of Granny D, the New Hampshire political activist and candidate who walked across the country in 1999 in support of campaign finance reform, Halldorson plans to spread the word about Paul and his strict constitutionalist and states rights' policies — political stances which have often left him at odds with his own party.
Halldorson said she is doing this on her own with minimal campaign help. There will be water and break stops along the way on Route 9 and then Route 4 to Concord. Halldorson will begin at 5 a.m. and expects to arrive in Concord no later than 10 p.m.
"I'm prepared for almost everything. I just hope we don't get thunderstorms," she said. Her family will be nearby and she will pass out Paul campaign literature and audio CDs of Paul interviews that she made herself.
Paul, an obstetrician and gynecologist, was the only 2008 Republican presidential candidate to have voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002 — and caused a stir in the June candidate debate in Manchester when he said that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were a result of "blowback" from an interventionist American foreign policy.
In the most recent UNH Survey center primary poll, Paul was favored by 2 percent of likely Republican voters — tied for fifth place behind Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and John McCain. But despite low poll numbers in New Hampshire and nationally, Paul has attracted a dedicated corps of Internet activists — including Halldorson, a frequent blogger on libertarian-related themes.
"He has a message of freedom, individual liberty and a non-interventionist foreign policy," she said about the 10-term congressman who has gained a reputation in Congress as "Dr. No" for continually voting against all appropriation legislation or bills he deems unconstitutional.
"He proves you don't need to raise hundreds of millions of dollars or be rich and famous to be a worthy candidate," she said about Paul, who has run a bare bones campaign. According to the latest campaign filing period, Paul has more cash on hand than more well-known candidates such as McCain. "He's an honest politician who doesn't shift his principles. Wouldn't you want someone like that handling your money?"
The daughter of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard workers, Halldorson said she grew up in a liberal household but her politics began to change in the mid-1990s. She has voted in the past for the "lesser of two evils" but plans never to cast a ballot in that manner again. "I'm going to vote my beliefs and not my fears."
Halldorson said her planned walk is "a metaphor" for Paul's presidential run. "It's about people stepping up and showing you don't need a big centralized campaign."