Primary Blog: Kelly & Pappas Dominate Dem Races; GOP Contests Tighter

Sep 11, 2018

Voters turned out across New Hampshire today for a state primary that included several closely-watched races, including the Democratic primary to select a challenger for Governor Sununu, and primaries on both sides in in the 1st Congressional District.

CLICK HERE FOR UPDATED ELECTION RESULTS. 

Watch video of NHPR's primary night broadcast, hosted by Laura Knoy:

Live Blog

10:00 PM: 

9:50 PM:

9:43 PM:

State senator Andy Sanborn, who's running on the Republican side in the hotly contested CD1 race, is telling his supporters things don't look good for a win this evening.  

9:26 PM:

Molly Kelly thanks supporters at her campaign headquarters in Keene. Photo by NHPR's Robert Garrova.

Meanwhile, Steve Marchand, who ran a distant second in the gubernatorial primary, concedes at his Manchester camp. Photo by Allegra Boverman.

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

9:10 PM:

At his campaign headquarters at Penuche's in Manchester, Steve Marchand concedes to opponent Molly Kelly in the Democratic primary for New Hampshire governor.   

9:01 PM:

The Associated Press has called the Democratic CD1 primary for Chris Pappas. Pappas, an executive councilor from Manchester, is the first openly gay congressional candidate from New Hampshire.  

8:45 PM:

The Associated Press has called the Democratic gubernatorial primary for Molly Kelly. 

8:41 PM: 

NHPR's Robert Garrova is reporting from Molly Kelly's campaign headquarters in Keene. Kelly currently holds a strong lead over Steve Marchand in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

8:15 PM:

8:05 PM:

Polls across the state are now closed. Get live results here: ow.ly/O68u30lMwp2 

7:15 PM:

As polls across the state begin to close, campaign staff and supporters are showing up at candidate headquarters. NHPR's reporters are also there, capturing the scenes and reporting from the field.

6:40 PM:  

6:18 PM: 

Photographer Allegra Boverman captured a busy voter registration table at the Rines Center in Manchester, the city's Ward 3 polling place.

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

NHPR's Josh Rogers captures some colorful signage in Manchester. 

4:42 PM:

Credit Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Polls are open for another few hours in New Hampshire. Outside of Somersworth City Hall, Doug Watson, a former ward clerk, told NHPR's Annie Ropeik that with so many candidates on the ballot in the 1st congressional district, he’s had to do his own research.

“You’ve gotta hear both sides of the issue, and I think the important thing is to be familiar with all the candidates and what they stand for and what their priorities are,” he said.

Click here to see NHPR's coverage of the CD1 primary race.

3:10 PM:

In Hanover, home of Dartmouth College, poll worker Ann Bradley told NHPR's Britta Greene she's seen many college students and the polls today, and expects more to turn out.

Today's election is the largest yet under a new voter registration law known as SB3, which requires people to show proof they live where they are trying to vote.

"They seem to be bringing what they need, so far," Bradley said. "They have proof of citizenship, and proof of where they live, and they are prepared with a passport and driver's license."

Click here for NHPR's coverage of SB3

2:45 PM:

In Lebanon, voter Wallace Kimura told NHPR's Jason Moon he was inspired to pick up a Democratic ballot because of President Donald Trump, even though he has concerns about the Democratic party's positions on gun control.

"But with the current administration in Washington, I think that the gun control issue vs the incumbent president, I think getting Democrats into congress would be the lesser of two evils," he said.

2:30 PM:

UNH students are lured to perform their democratic duty with pizza and coffee
Credit Casey McDermott for NHPR

In Durham, UNH students are getting free shuttle rides to the polls from NextGen Climate NH, an evironment-focused PAC.  

NHPR's Casey McDermott has been tracking how a controversial new voting law known as SB3  Hampshire could affect the same-day registrations of students hoping to cast ballots in the Granite State. She spoke with Durham's checklist supervisor Ann Shump, who did not have an exact count of same-day registrants, but said it's been steady all day. 

"A lot of the students have no paperwork to prove their domicile," Shump said, "but most of them - not all - have been able to come up with something eventually."

Click here for NHPR's coverage of SB3 

2:18 PM:

NHPR's Josh Rogers spotted Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig supporting CD1 Democratic candidate Chris Pappas at the city's Ward 1 polls. Pappas is an executive councilor and fourth-generation co-owner of the Puritan Backroom, a popular Manchester restaurant.

2:05 PM

Manchester resident Arthur Bakolas (left) accompanies his dad to the polls in Manchester
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

In Manchester, NHPR's Sarah Gibson caught up with Democrat Arthur Bakolas, who accompanied his 91 year-old father to the polls. When she asked Arthur why they turned out to vote, he said,  "to stop the mayhem in Washington."

1:30 PM:

NHPR's Britta Greene has been talking to Dartmouth students voting in Hanover.

1:25 PM:

Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

In Lebanon, voter Bruce Garland says he wished he had seen more younger voters coming into the polling station along with him.

"We gotta figure out some way of getting more millennials, not necessarily engaged, but feeling like they have a say," he told NHPR's Jason Moon. "I just think there are a lot of people unfortunately that feel that their vote doesn't count. I think that's wrong but it's really hard to prove the opposite."

Tom Cormen of Lebanon voted on the Democratic side. For governor, he chose former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand over former state senator Molly Kelly.

"I appreciated that Marchand has been on this side of the state some of the time," he said. "I feel like this Western side of the state is the forgotten side. You get 15 miles west of 93 and this state doesn't exist to a lot of people, and Marchand has been out here a few times."

Cormen says he has doubts, though, that any Democrat can win against Republican Governor Chris Sununu in November.

1:17 PM:

In Somersworth, turnout is low - counting about 190 voters as of 1 PM. NHPR's Annie Ropeik captured a scene outside the polls there.

Credit Annie Ropeik for NHPR

1:10 PM:

Voters leaving the Exeter polls at noontime. Town Clerk Andrea Kohler estimated they might see about 20 percent voter turnout by the time the polls close. “It’s been kind of slow,” Kohler said. “We thought it would be a lot busier.”
Credit Lara Bricker for NHPR

In Exeter, Democrat May Youngclause voted for Molly Kelly in the gubernatorial primary. She says the two have shared experiences.

“I was a single mother, I worked my way through UNH while I was raising children," she told NHPR's Todd Bookman. "So I’ve walked her shoes and I think she’s impressive.”

Also in Exeter, Scott Earwood tells NHPR he voted for Eddie Edwards in the Republican race for the state's CD1 race.  

“I like his message, I like his background, I think he’s a strong conservative. I think he’s going to be a voice for those of us who believe in small government, who believe in protecting our second amendment rights.”

Edwards and State Senator Andy Sanborn are squaring off in that contest. Moderators in Exeter said early turnout was low.

Click for more coverage of Andy Sanborn and Eddie Ewards from NHPR.

1:00 PM:

Nancy Andrews, whose daughter is CD1 Democratic candidate Naomi Andrews, shows her support a the polls in Manchester. Photo by Sarah Gibson for NHPR.

Credit Sarah Gibson

Sarah also spotted Democratic CD1 candidate Mark MacKenzie doing some last minute campaigning in Manchester.

11:30 AM:

In Portsmouth, voter Trevor Bartlett said he showed up early at his polling place to support candidates up and down the ballot. He says that Democrats are motivated this midterm election. It's time, he said, "to turn things around."

11:03 AM:

NHPR's Jason Moon captures  the scene outside Lebanon's Ward 3 polls.

Credit Jason Moon for NHPR

10:53 AM:

NHPR's Todd Bookman spotted CD1 Democratic candidate Maura Sullivan campaigning in Exeter. Sullivan, who recently relocated to New Hampshire, has run a campaign that's largely been financed by out-of-state donations.

Click here for a breakdown of the money race in New Hampshire's closely-watched 1st Congressional District.

10:29 AM:

Turnout lower than expected in Bow

In Bow, there's a state senate seat up for grabs, but Town Moderator Peter Imse says voter turnout isn't what he expected.

"It's been a very quiet morningI've been quite surprised at how quiet it's been since a number of the races are contested. I though we might have a bigger turnout," he tells NHPR's Daniela Allee.

For the voters that did come out early this morning, like Ken Swanson, change at the national level was a big motivator.

"Just get back to civility. We're not that way anymore. We have a president that's off the wall. We need something to happen. That's why I'm out."

The polls in Bow close at 7 p.m.

10:15 AM:

CD1 Democratic candidate cast a ballot in Portmouth. He tells NHPR's Dan Tuohy that Donald Trump will motivate voters to head to the polls on Primary Day.

9:58 AM:

NHPR's Robert Garrova is at Ward 6 in Concord, where turnout has been light so far this morning.

The polls in Concord's Ward 6 at St. John's Church
Credit Robert Garrova for NHPR

9:20 AM:

NHPR's Dan Tuohy captured this photo of Democratic CD1 candidate and former Marine Maura Sullivan speaking at a ceremony commemorating the 9/11 attacks in Portsmouth 

8:40 AM:

Steve Marchand, who's running in the Democratic primary for governor, cast a ballot in Portsmouth. 

6:30 AM:

Listen to NHPR News Director Dan Barrick talk with Morning Edition's Rick Ganley about what's at stake today: