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Democratic Hopefuls for Congress Court Party Faithful

Todd Bookman/NHPR

All six Democratic candidates for the state’s 1st Congressional District participated in a forum in Manchester on Saturday hosted by the N.H. Democratic Party.

They are vying to fill the seat currently held by Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, who isn’t seeking re-election in 2018.

Inside the Manchester Public Library, lesser known candidates were given the chance to introduce themselves, while well-known names talked up their credentials.

Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke told the audience to win next November, the party must broaden its appeal.

“The Democratic Party must return to its roots. It must return to the promise it made my great-grandfather: a job, a home, food, education, health care, and opportunity. The promise of a good life worth living.”

Former Marine and Portsmouth resident Maura Sullivan touted her ability to bring change to Washington.

“We get there together,” she told the crowd, “by focusing on what matters to our community: access to health care, the opioid crises, economic opportunity, veterans' care, public education, and national security.”

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas delivered unscripted remarks, saying the Republicans in Washington “don’t represent our values,” while former AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie eschewed the stage in favor of a fiery speech delivered from the front row.

Former Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati told the audience that the 2018 elections are a call to action.

“This is a fight for all that we as Democrats believe in and hold dear. It is a fight for social justice for all, for the working class, for the disenfranchised. For those in need,” said Soldati.

State Rep. Mindi Messmer told the audience she’s running for Congress to “give everyone a fair shot, and make sure everyone gives their fair share, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.”

Two Republicans have also entered the race: State Senator Andy Sanborn, and former South Hampton Police Chief Eddie Edwards.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

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