Write-in campaign for Hillary Clinton falls flat in New Hampshire

Write-in campaign for Hillary Clinton falls flat in New Hampshire
Sen. Hillary Clinton celebrates her victory in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic primary at Southern New Hampshire University on Jan. 8, 2008 in Manchester, N.H. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

A campaign to encourage Democrats to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday appears to have fallen flat.

President Obama easily won his first Granite State primary, scoring over 81% of the vote over a roster of mostly unknown challengers, according to final figures from the New Hampshire secretary of state's office.

Approximately 11% of the vote was for a write-in candidate. But most of the write-in votes cast by Democrats were for the candidates running for the Republican nomination.

Ron Paul scored the most write-in votes for a Republican in the Democratic primary with 2,273. Mitt Romney won 1,808 write-in votes and Jon Huntsman received 1,228.

The secretary of state's office included any write-in votes that came for Clinton under the category of "scatter" -- a designation that accounted for just 1.2% of the total Democratic vote.

But a survey of detailed vote counts from the state's most populated areas found that Clinton never received more than a handful. In Manchester, 31 Democrats wrote in Clinton's name. She won 17 votes in both Concord and Salem, 13 in Nashua and 11 in Portsmouth.

Vice President Joe Biden also received a smattering of votes in these and other towns. Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were among the most common other write-in recipients.

In one town, Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady each received a write-in vote.

Last month, two Democratic strategists advocated a "massive" write-in campaign on Clinton's behalf to send a message that the president was too polarizing and unlikely to win a second term.

"Clinton pulled off a stunning New Hampshire primary victory over Obama during the 2008 primaries. There is every reason to believe that, as a write-in candidate, she would get a substantial number of votes in the Granite State next year," Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen wrote in Politico.

Only 61,000 New Hampshire Democrats voted Tuesday, short of the 75,000 projected by the secretary of state. In 2004, with George W. Bush seeking reelection, more than 64,000 Republicans turned out. In 1996, 93,000 Democrats voted in Bill Clinton's reelection year.

Obama did win 282 write-in votes in the Republican primary -- bettering former GOP candidates Herman Cain and Gary Johnson, whose names still appeared on the ballot.

By comparison, Bush won 257 write-in votes from Democrats in the 2004 primary. Clinton won 1,972 write-in votes from Republicans in 1996, and Ronald Reagan won a whopping 5,058 write-in votes from Democrats in 1984.