A rare event for New Hampshire is taking place over the next month: a contested Democratic Party primary.
In Concord, Henniker, Hopkinton and Warner, Democratic and independent voters have a choice between Kass Ardinger and Dan Feltes for Senate. The district is among the most Democratic in the state, so winning the primary is considered tantamount to being elected. As such, the primary has become something of a race to the left wing, with both candidates trying to out-progressive the other.
Ardinger has served on the Concord School Board for nine years, including five as chair, during which time Concord took advantage of New Hampshire’s generous, now suspended school building aid program to construct three elementary schools for some $60 million, subsidized by taxpayers who do not live in Concord.
Feltes, an attorney with New Hampshire Legal Assistance, has been an active Democrat in Concord. Former Congressman Paul Hodes, Executive Councilor Colin van Ostern and liberal troubadour Arnie Arnesen are among Feltes’ supporters.
Sen. Sylvia Larsen waited until almost the last minute before the filing period to announce her retirement, a decision that took most people by surprise. Larsen quickly let it be known that Ardinger was her choice to succeed her.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Ardinger’s coronation: A contest broke out. Feltes soon emerged as a consensus, yet more progressive, alternative to Ardinger.
While we may not be enthused about the prospect of either candidate’s pending service in the state Senate, at least both are capable of doing the job and serving in office. State Democrats shouldn’t be so afraid to let democracy burst out like this more often. The sky is not falling.
Guest editorial by Fergus Cullen