Nashua, New Hampshire (CNN) -The voters marched into the Amherst Street Elementary School until minutes before the polls closed at 8 p.m. ET. The political theme for the night - change something, maybe even everything.
"My vote was sort of a protest vote," said Mark Berry, who is frustrated that his party fielded so many candidates who are party stalwarts.
In the end, most of the voters of Ward 3 stuck with pragmatism not protest. They had 1788 votes cast with Romney drawing 585, Paul 321 and Huntsman 221.
Richard Stacy is a manufacturing manager for a defense company.
To him, Romney was the only candidate left who didn't have cloud over their head. Each candidate had some negative, whether an ethics question, a lost election, or positions on social issues that were out of the mainstream, he said. In the end, he wanted a candidate who could win.
"It's been kind of nasty the last few weeks, but you figure if he can't take it you should get out," he said of Romney. He didn't bother with the debates because "they're a repeat."
Elizabeth Viggiano, a fulltime student in New Orleans, came home to vote because she wanted her party to field a candidate who can work with world leaders. "I think next year is such a big year with a lot of different leaders changing in the world," she said. "We need someone who can stand up and compete with the other leaders in the world. I don't think Obama is doing it effectively. But he's had 4 years and I don't think he's been on point."
Bill Grady, a technology consultant, and his daughter Shannon said he went for Jon Huntsman because he wanted someone who could break partisan gridlock. "The main issue for me was the ability to have a substantive dialogue with the American people," he said .He had experience in China and a "proven ability to work with the Obama administration" which shows he can cross party lines," said Grady.
Many of the voters expressed frustration that the debates focused on social issues rather than the economy and partisan gridlock. Grady looks at a lot of social issues as personal choices. "I don't believe we can legislate morality in this country," he said. So the candidates appeals toward peoples conservatism didn't matter to him.
He didn't vote for Romney because "he's Bob Dole 2.0."