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Race to White House is his passion

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Richard Padova of Andover teaches a course ’Quest for the Presidency’ at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill.handout

Rich Padova can't hide his enthusiasm for presidential politics.

"Two of the most exciting weeks of my life were attending the Democratic conventions in Boston in 2004 and Denver in 2008," he said. "Helping out and meeting VIPs and being part of their excitement was a thrill, pure joy."

Padova, 55, of Andover, got interested in presidential politics in a class at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, when Jimmy Carter's upset of President Gerald Ford in 1976 was discussed.

He's been a student of the race for the country's highest office since.

Padova has volunteered for eight presidential campaigns and written a book, "First in the Nation: One Insider's View of the New Hampshire Presidential Primary."

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Every four years, when there is a presidential election, he revives a course he created, "Quest for the Presidency," at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, where he has taught for 11 years in the Global Studies Department. The course ranges from George Washington to the present. "It's ambitious," he said. "But this is my passion."

He hopes to get students enthused, too.

"The goal is to get kids interested in the process and educate them about the rich history of presidential elections in this country," Padova said. "Not every country has an opportunity to elect its leader.

"And, to make them more aware of current events and issues they have to deal with, whether as a student or adult."

Padova said the class attracts a cross-section of students, including global studies, history, business, and criminal justice majors. It also is open to the public.

The class meets 11 to 11:50 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays beginning Jan. 20. Registration is open until the first day of class.

As for the 2016 race, Padova said, "It is always exciting when we don't have an incumbent running."

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Secondly, he said, this year is intriguing because there are so many candidates.

Padova thinks Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic bid. "The only question is who the Republicans will nominate. Someone could come up from the sidelines, as in the past."

Still, he predicted no matter who the Republican nominee, "Hillary will defeat him [or her] and be our next president."

Wendy Killeen can be reached at wdkilleen@gmail.com .