2018 Governor's Race

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu hasn't always gotten his way with the Republcian-controlled Legislature. Its override of a biomass energy veto bill this week is but the freshest example. But Sununu told fellow Republicans at the party's Unity Breakfast Thursday that their work in Concord -- to cut taxes, reduce regulation, foster educational choice, and boost business development -- will help them win in November.

Michael Moore / The Keene Sentinel

Former state senate Molly Kelly cruised to victory over Steve Marchand Tuesday in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. It was big win for her, and for the party establishment who threw their support to Kelly from the moment she became a candidate.

Kelly’s margin of victory– she beat Steve Marchand by about 2 to 1 and carried all but a few small towns – was large. And as Kelly addressed supporters in Keene, she said he win should serve as a notice to Chris Sununu.

“Let me send a message to Chris Sununu: Do not underestimate me. I’ve been underestimated before.”

NHPR File Photo

Primary Day can simply be the day when voters choose who will represent their parties during the general elections.

But primaries can also shape - or reshape - a party, and sometimes in lasting ways. This year could be one of those times for the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

Joining All Things Considered host Peter Biello to talk about these particular primary politics is Josh Rogers.

Note: This transcript has been edited for clarity

Gov. Chris Sununu/Twitter

For the Democratic candidates running for New Hampshire governor, it’s crunch time. All week long Steve Marchand and Molly Kelly have worked to get attention from voters and the press. Between now and Tuesday, that hustling will be almost non-stop.

For Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is running for reelection but doesn’t face a primary, the political pace is decidedly less frantic. Incumbency helps, but so does Sununu’s personality. 

 

NHPR File Photo

Energy has become a focal point in the race to become New Hampshire's next governor.

The region’s high energy rates make it a key economic issue, and climate change make it a crucial environmental one.

Democrats Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand and Republican Governor Chris Sununu are all working to differentiate themselves on those challenges.

Marchand is a self-described energy wonk. He's gone all in on the details of what he calls "generational change."

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

As Molly Kelly makes her case to voters that she should be New Hampshire’s next governor, a recurrent argument is that her time in the state Senate proves that she is up to the task of leading New Hampshire.

“As governor, I think it is very important that you have that experience to work with legislators, and that you are ready day one," she recently said on the trail.

Dan Tuohy for NHPR

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand talks about the issues in his campaign, from energy to education, and answers your questions. 

Note: Marchand's primary opponent, former state senator Molly Kelly, declined to appear on today's program.

Later in the hour, NHPR's Josh Rogers updates us on the New Hampshire Governor's race overall. 

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

Abortion rights have been a big issue in the Democratic primary for New Hampshire Governor.

Both candidates - former state senator Molly Kelly and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand - have been working to cast themselves as the more stout defender of legal abortion.

Today, the political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England rendered its judgement, endorsing Molly Kelly.

Joining All Things Considered to discuss the endorsement is Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers

Note: Transcript has been lightly edited for clarity

Josh Rogers for NHPR

The political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is endorsing former state senator Molly Kelly in the race for governor. 

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand will appear on NHPR's The Exchange Tuesday, Aug. 14, as part of the show's coverage of the 2018 primary elections.

Marchand, the former mayor of Portsmouth, is running for the Democratic nomination for governor. Also running is former state Senator Molly Kelly. Kelly was given the opportunity to appear with Marchand, but declined the show's invitation.

The winner of the Democratic primary on Tuesday, Sept. 11 will take on Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who is running unopposed.

File photo

Steve Marchand is running for the Governor as a loud and unapologetic liberal. And whether the topic is guns, abortion, campaign finance or energy, the former Portsmouth mayor’s is working to ensure his stance is the most progressive in the race.

But, to see Steve Marchand as a pure liberal is to look past a long and mixed list of political affiliations.


Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The two Democratic candidates for New Hampshire governor did their best to differentiate themselves at a forum in Exeter Wednesday night.  

The Rockingham County Democrats hosted the event. It was one of the first times Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand have debated face to face in their primary campaign.

Many in the audience asked questions in search of distinctions – but the answers they heard focused more on style than policy.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly was in Hanover Tuesday, reiterating her criticisms of Gov. Chris Sununu’s energy policies.

In June, Sununu vetoed a bill that would have expanded the state's net metering program – where towns and businesses get rebates for generating their own energy.

The town of Hanover is trying to go all-renewable in the coming decades.

josh rogers / nhpr

Right now New Hampshire's goal is to have 25 percent of local electricity derived from renewable sources by 2025. Steve Marchand wants renewables to count for 50 percent by 2030.

Marchand says Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine are headed in that direction and New Hampshire would be wise to join them.

"I think this is a reasonable number. There are thousands of jobs in growing parts of the economy that I think are sitting there, if we are willing and able to lead on being more aggressive about increasing the percentage of our mix that comes from renewable resources."

For the first time since 1996, the Libertarian Party has major party status and will be on the ballot. There's also a primary battle brewing between two Libertarian candidates for governor. On Tuesday, we sit down with Aaron Day of Bedford and Jilletta Jarvis of Sandown to talk about the issues facing New Hampshire -- and find out how they would address them if they were elected governor. 

GUESTS:

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Abortion rights have become a major issue in New Hampshire's Democratic gubernatorial primary.

“The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, means in almost certain terms the overturning of Roe V. Wade.”

That was Steve Marchand speaking in Portsmouth Tuesday.

As they introduce themselves to voters, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand are both playing up their modest origins.

The particulars - Kelly was a single mom, Marchand is the son of immigrants who never graduated from high school - are a clear contrast to Governor Sununu. But this focus also makes them something rare in recent state politics. 


Josh Rogers for NHPR

Democrat Molly Kelly says the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy should be a wake up call for Democrats.

Kelly says the threat to abortion rights and gay rights are reasons to back her over Governor Chris Sununu.

Molly Kelly still has a primary to win, but as she campaigned outside the superior court in Manchester, she was using rhetoric usually reserved for a the home stretch of a general election.

Standing before supporters holding signed with slogans like "Trust Women" and "Save Roe," Kelly said she always had, and always would, stand with women.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

New Hampshire’s two Democratic candidates for governor have been hitting the campaign trail hard this summer – but so far, they haven’t had much of an audience.

Molly Kelly and Steve Marchand are struggling to draw attention to their primary race – while focused on targeting incumbent Republican Governor Chris Sununu.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

You’ll hear a lot this campaign season about who’s raising the most money — but the most telling parts of a candidate’s fundraising report aren't the details about how much a candidate raked in, but where that money came from.

That’s especially true in the race for New Hampshire governor, where we have a Republican incumbent who can draw on plenty of political and corporate connections, one Democratic challenger who is similarly well-connected to her party’s establishment and another Democrat who says he wants to get big money out of New Hampshire politics.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Democratic candidate Molly Kelly officially filed to run for New Hampshire governor Friday afternoon.

 

Kelly entered the Secretary of State's office in Concord to cheers from supporters. The former state senator has collected endorsements from several prominent Democrats in the state, including Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig.

 

Josh Rogers for NHPR

Democrat Steve Marchand made his run for governor official. The former Portsmouth mayor says he sees himself as the frontrunner.

Marchand says he hopes to bring progressive values and an auditor's sensibility to the corner office. After he filed his campaign, he said 200 plus campaign events he's held and the thousands of voters he's talked to have taught him a valuable lesson: dDmocrats  want a candidate who is capable of being frank and getting specific.

Josh Rogers for NHPR

State Democrats are gearing up to try do something they haven’t had to do in 14 years: reclaim the governor’s office from an incumbent Republican.

But before they get to the general election, the Democrats will have to select a nominee, a choice between former state senator Molly Kelly and former Portsmouth mayor Steve Marchand.

Joining Rick Ganley to discuss that race is NHPR’s Josh Rogers. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

With lawmakers gone from Concord, the 2018 political season is now officially on, and one New Hampshire politician making a quick shift to campaign mode is Gov. Chris Sununu. 

New Hampshire’s first Republican governor in more than a decade is hitting the trail with a mixed record at the Statehouse but plenty of enthusiasm.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand rolled out a new plan designed to give New Hampshire politicians more incentive to raise campaign money from small-dollar, in-state campaign donations instead of wealthy donors, lobbyists and corporate PACs.

“If somebody’s unable to give at least $250 or more, generally you’re told by your campaign staff and advisers that they are not worth calling or spending time trying to get money from,” Marchand told reporters on a press call outlining his new plan.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Senator Jeanne Shaheen endorsed Democrat Molly Kelly for governor in Manchester today.

 

Shaheen and Kelly spoke in the workshop of the Queen City non-profit Girls at Work, where young women learn about the construction trade. The podium for the event was built by girls in the program for a then-mayoral candidate Joyce Craig, who went on to be elected Manchester mayor last year. That wasn't lost on Kelly. “I think it's a lucky one,” she said.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Former New Hampshire state Senator Molly Kelly, a Democrat, says she's running for governor.

Kelly, of Harrisville, says in a video released at midnight Monday that she worked in the Senate on getting training and education for advanced manufacturing jobs, but that funding has been cut.

She also said she would veto any plan that takes money from public schools to pay for vouchers for private schools.

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu beamed as he looked out upon a room packed with 60 round tables, each one full of supporters.

“A little daunting once you finally get up here. I’m absolutely humbled, absolutely humbled at the turnout,” he said to the crowd.   

It may have been Sununu’s party at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Thursday night, but it was Vice President Mike Pence who got top billing.

Twitter

As Dave Carney tells it, September of 1982 was a rough time for John H. Sununu’s campaign for governor.

“We we were broke,” Carney, a longtime political strategist, recalled recently. “We had no money, we couldn’t pay staff. Not that he paid very much anyways…”

 


Peter Biello for NHPR

Today on The Exchange, a conversation with Steve Marchand, who's launched his campaign to be the Democratic challenger to Governor Chris Sununu in 2018.

Marchand, who served as mayor of Portsmouth from 2005-2008, lost the gubernatorial primary to Colin Van Ostern in 2016. (Click here to see NHPR's coverage of  the 2016 race and click here to find out where he stood on the issues.)

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