It was only a couple of months ago that Jersey native Joe Coletti helped set up a lowkey evening of baseball and politics in Manchester, N.H. for his boss, U.S. Sen. John McCain, who was clawing into contention inch-by-inch after flailing in the background through a tough summer and early fall.
On that particular night, as McCain and Boston Red Sox ace Curt Schilling shagged questions from the small crowd, the candidate was in the midst of a week-long whirlwind of New Hampshire events, and the polls were showing him slowly becoming a force again.
"At that point, I knew we were going to do well in New Hampshire, but I can’t honestly say that I could foresee we would do this well nationwide," said Coletti, who served as field director for McCain’s Hillsborough County operations, where 30% of the Granite State’s voters live, and where McCain’s comeback began.
This week, Coletti, who grew up in Warren and Linden, was still in New Hampshire and in a holding pattern as he anticipates McCain nailing down the final few pieces of the Republican nomination before gearing up for a general election showdown with either Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama.
"We’re just waiting for orders at this point," said Coletti, whose work on state Sen. Thomas Kean, Jr.’s 2006 U.S. Senate campaign was what propelled him into the arena of presidential politics.