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Sep 11 2018

2018 Elections: New Hampshire State Primary

Tuesday September 11 is New Hampshire’s primary day. Voters are selecting challengers for popular Governor Chris Sununu (R) and candidates to fill the seat of retiring House Representative Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH1). Vote are also choosing a Republican challenger for Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH2) The state is notorious for flipping between Democrats and Republicans to represent them due to a large number of voters registered as “not affiliated.”

In his bid for a second term, Gov. Sununu will face of of two Democratic challengers: Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand. Former state Senator Kelly and former Portsmouth, NH mayor Mr. Marchand are both progressives and have very similar policy views but both have their own baggage.

The state’s political establishment has thrown its weight behind Molly Kelly, a former state senator. Where her opponent, Steve Marchand, can come across as glib, Ms. Kelly is cautious and conservative. But 16 current and former state senators have declared their support for her, and analysts see her as the front-runner, especially in a year when female candidates are doing so well.

Mr. Marchand, a sometimes wonky politician who has painted himself as a progressive, is pointedly running to Ms. Kelly’s left. A former mayor of Portsmouth, Mr. Marchand has drawn criticism for his previous involvement in “No Labels,” a bipartisan group that has been derided on the left for naming Donald Trump a “problem solver” in early 2016. Mr. Marchand is making his second straight bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

There are nine Republicans and eleven Democrats on the ballot for Rep. Shea-Porter’s seat which was once reliably Republican but has flipped back and forth in each of the last four cycles. In 2016, it both returned Shea-Porter to Congress and backed President Donald Trump. Republicans see this as a possible pick-up seat.

On the Democratic side, the front-runners are Maura Sullivan, an ex-Marine and former official in the Obama administration with national support (she has raised more than $1.8 million, largely from outside the state), and Chris Pappas, a New Hampshire Executive Council member who has been endorsed by top local Democrats, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Ms. Sullivan, who was considered a possible candidate in the Illinois Sixth District until she moved to New Hampshire last year, has been accused of carpetbagging, a particularly negative charge in this historically insular state. Mr. Pappas has faced criticisms that he is too entrenched in the state’s establishment.

On the Democratic side, the front-runners are Maura Sullivan, an ex-Marine and former official in the Obama administration with national support (she has raised more than $1.8 million, largely from outside the state), and Chris Pappas, a New Hampshire Executive Council member who has been endorsed by top local Democrats, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Ms. Sullivan, who was considered a possible candidate in the Illinois Sixth District until she moved to New Hampshire last year, has been accused of carpetbagging, a particularly negative charge in this historically insular state. Mr. Pappas has faced criticisms that he is too entrenched in the state’s establishment.

On the Republican side there are six candidates:

State Sen. Andy Sanborn and Eddie Edwards, former enforcement chief for the state liquor commission, have emerged as the front-runners in the six-candidate Republican race. [..]

Edwards, who has received the backing of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, has sought to make the race about character and integrity, and he has also said he’d refuse to support Sanborn as the nominee. Sanborn, a four-term senator from Bedford, has acknowledged making a sexual “joke” to a Statehouse intern in 2013 but said a recent investigation into the matter was politically motivated.

There are other races but these are the ones that everyone will be watching. The polls close at 7 PM ET.

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