2018 Governor's Race

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: November 9, 2018

Nov 9, 2018

The so-called "blue wave" flipped the New Hampshire legislature and Executive Council to Democrat - we look at what's ahead after Tuesday's midterm elections, and the impact of increasing diversity at the N.H. statehouse. We also look at midterm results in neighboring states plus some non-election New Hampshire news.

Tom Roy / Union Leader

While voters chose to reelect Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday, they also voted to put both chambers of the state Legislature and the Executive Council in the hands of Democrats, reversing the State House's current balance of power.  These changes will test the governor, which he acknowledged during his victory speech.

Taylor Quimby for NHPR

The mid-term elections are over, and New Hampshire Republicans will hold onto the corner office, with Governor Sununu's victory. Meanwhile, Democrats celebrated holding onto the state's two congressional seats and Democrats now hold the balance of power in the state House, Senate and Executive Council.  

 

Tom Roy | The NH Union Leader

Governor Chris Sununu won second term in Concord on Tuesday. He beat Democrat Molly Kelly by racking up votes in GOP towns and holding steady or better in the state’s two largest cities.

But Sununu will now have to work with a state legislature and executive council under Democratic control.

Lauren Chooljian for NHPR

The divisive 2018 midterm campaign is quickly drawing to a close.

Over the weekend - candidates and volunteers knocked on doors, shook hands - and in some cases went grocery shopping - as they tried to make their final get out the vote push.

NHPR’s Lauren Chooljian and Josh Rogers were also on the trail.

Via Twitter

If you catch Gov. Chris Sununu at the State House or on the campaign trail, it generally won’t be long before he drops a certain biographical tidbit:

“I’m an engineer by trade, a civil and environmental engineer....” “My focus as an environmental engineer…” “I was an environmental engineer…. “I love the concept, I’m an environmental engineer...”

But by the governor’s own accounting, it’s been a decade since he's really worked as an engineer. And Sununu’s political opponents have questioned his professional credentials for years.

allegra boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu and the Democrat hoping to replace him, former State Senator Molly Kelly met in debate last night on NHPR. Joining me now to discuss is Josh Rogers.

OK. Josh, last night’s debate at Manchester Community College was the second of the general election, but the first for live statewide broadcast – and by the way we’ll be playing that debate back at 9am. You and Laura Knoy were asking the questions. So what in this debate stood out for you?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and former state Sen. Molly Kelly (D) faced off before a live audience at Manchester Community College to discuss a range of issues including the economy, guns, and the court fight over new voting rules.

This forum was moderated by The Exchange's Laura Knoy and NHPR's senior polical reporter Josh Rogers.

NHPR Photo

In most election years, the thinking goes that a strong economy boosts the party in power. The incumbents can argue ‘Hey, just look at your wallet!' as they make a pitch for another term.

Governor Chris Sununu is very much following that playback, while his challenger Molly Kelly works to paint a different economic picture in the state.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Chris Sununu is popular incumbent governor from a political family of national prominence. He also enjoys the social aspects of poltics.

You’d think he’d be a prolific political fundraiser.

But a look at Sununu’s fundraising totals for this election – about $1.5 million – would prove you wrong.

Annie Ropeik/NHPR

All this week All Things Considered is speaking with candidates for New Hampshire governor about economic policy. Today NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Democratic candidate Molly Kelly.

(This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

Let's start by talking about business taxes because Republicans are pointing to business taxes as at least part of the cause for New Hampshire's strong economy. Where do you stand on business taxes?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Republican Governor Chris Sununu holds a comfortable lead over Democratic challenger Molly Kelly. That's according to a new UNH poll that finds Sununu ejoying stronger partisan support, but says Democrats are more motivated to vote.

Click here to read the poll results

Fifty percent of those polled by UNH say they plan to vote for Sununu; 39 percent say they'll vote for Kelly.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

All this week All Things Considered is speaking with candidates for New Hampshire governor about economic policy. Today NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

(This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity.)

On the campaign trail in 2016 you promised to visit 100 businesses and invite them to move to New Hampshire. You've announced that you've spoken to more than 100 businesses. What benefit has that been to the state?

Allegra Boverman

Gov. Chris Sununu says he has a model for paid family and medical leave that's voluntary, citing his opposition to the mandatory proposal that passed the House during the last legislative session.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu is entering the final stretch of his reelection effort with a $200,000 financial edge over Democratic challenger Molly Kelly. But Kelly has outraised Sununu 3 to 1 since the state primary.

Sununu’s campaign has collected close to $1.5 million in overall donations but only $110,000 since last month’s primary. Kelly, meanwhile has hauled in nearly $350,000 over the same period. The bulk of Kelly’s money is derived from donations less than $100.

NHPR

The Exchange will explore in-depth the candidates and issues that impact voters this fall. Gubernatorial incumbent Chris Sununu (R) and contender Molly Kelly (D) will sit down with a live audience at Manchester Community College to talk with Laura Knoy and NHPR's Investigative and Political Reporter Josh Rogers on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 7 p.m. before a live audience.

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

The union that represents New Hampshire's electrical workers has endorsed Governor Chris Sununu for reelection.

It's the first time in more than three decades that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has backed a Republican for governor.

Sununu has supported the IBEW on issues like Northern Pass. That proposed Eversource power line would have created years of work for union electricians. It's now awaiting appeal at the state Supreme Court.

josh rogers / nhpr

Democratic candidate for Governor Molly Kelly brought her push for creating a state paid family leave program to a Londonderry apple orchard Wednesday.  

Kelly has been talking up paid family leave for weeks. The issue is the subject of her lone general election ad, and to hear the candidate tell it, this near exclusive focus isn't going to change anytime soon.

josh rogers / nhpr

Governor Chris Sununu says he plans to renew his push to enact the victims rights constitutional amendment known as Marsy's Law. Lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected the measure earlier this year.

NHPR Photo

Governor Chris Sununu says he can't judge Brett Kavanaugh's judicial temperament based on Kavanaugh's testimony before the U.S. Senate. 

Sununu signed a letter supporting Kavanaugh's nomination shortly after it was announced. Molly Kelly, his Democratic challenger, was deadset against Kavanaugh from the start. During a visit to a Concord health Clinic, Kelly said that adding Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court puts abortion rights at risk, and Sununu knows it.

josh rogers / nhpr

Gov. Chris Sununu and Molly Kelly both picked up big union endorsements today in the race for governor.

The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire haven't endorsed a Republican for governor since Craig Benson in 2004, but the union also tends to back incumbents. Union President Bill McQuillen says this year's choice was easy, given Sununu's record on matters of concern to firefighters.

"I can tell you with confidence that Governor Sununu has yet to tell us no on an important issue of ours."

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Members of New Hampshire's energy industry joined lawmakers Monday at the state’s annual energy summit, which helps set priorities for next year's legislative session.

They debated the policies – and politics – that could help lower the region’s high electric costs, diversify and stabilize fuel supplies, and reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Governor Chris Sununu and Democratic rival Molly Kelly presented contrasting ideas on those issues at the start of the summit.  

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 a 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 her 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

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