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Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Executive Council race just got more interesting

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 18. 2018 8:02PM

The wide-open race for a vacant seat on the Executive Council representing Greater Manchester just got more interesting with the entry of technology business executive Gray Chynoweth of Manchester as a Democratic candidate.

The former chief operating officer of Dyn and current COO of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, Chynoweth, 39, is making his first run for significant elective office, seeking to replace Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, who is running for Congress this fall.

“From helping grow Dyn from less than 20 employees to 500 people, to helping found nonprofit organizations dedicated to recruiting and retaining New Hampshire workers, to my work today with ARMI helping to create a new industry bringing the next generation of manufacturing jobs to the Manchester Millyard, I’ve seen how much promise there is in our region and our people,” Chynoweth said.

“We need elected officials who understand how to drive smart growth, good jobs, and get a better return for our tax dollars without letting politics get in the way.”

Chynoweth enters a Democratic primary against former Manchester alderman Garth Corriveau, who has spent several weeks winning support from some of his former Democratic colleagues on that city board along with the school committee.

The three Republican candidates for this seat are former Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas, ex-state legislator Jane Cormier of Hooksett and retired postal executive Jim Adams of Derry.

Regarding potential conflicts of interest at the Executive Council table, Chynoweth vowed to studiously refrain if his work conflicts with any contracts.

“Our Founding Fathers envisioned a citizen legislature with elected officials who had businesses in the community and were involved in it,” Chynoweth said. “If I find with any contract that there is a conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict, I would surely abstain from being involved in it.”

Former ambassador and Democratic Party chairman George Bruno of Manchester and businesswoman and community leader Pubali Chakravorty-Campbell of Bedford will serve as his campaign co-chairs.

“Gray is a fresh, independent voice that we need on the Executive Council,” said Bruno. “He’s got the real world, practical experience to help the state make better decisions on issues like health care, transportation, economic growth, modernization and efficiency. State government needs more leaders like Gray. Now is the time for us to drive a new era of innovation and efficiency in government, and Gray is a common sense leader who can bring people together to help make it happen.”

Chynoweth co-founded and co-chaired Stay, Work, Play and the Manchester Young Professional Network and was a former leader of New Hampshire Young Democrats.

“In business, I’ve learned that if you pay more attention to your customers than your competitors, you’ll succeed. I believe it should work the same way in government — if we pay more attention to people and taxpayers than partisans and politics, our government will be more successful,” Chynoweth said.

What makes this interesting is both primaries will be competitive and the winners will come out with more momentum as a result, assuming this race doesn’t get personal and nasty.

State Democratic leaders surely welcome the development.

Why? If Chynoweth wins the primary, he could stack up his business experience and the ability to raise enough money against Gatsas if he’s the GOP nominee.

Fair or not, some thought Corriveau would be out-matched, especially financially, in a runoff with Gatsas.

One thing is for sure: Corriveau has already shown he won’t be out-hustled. When it comes to party activists, he’s been paying his dues for years.

All of this will make this race worth watching from beginning to end.

Fundraising Gap Widens in 1st Congressional District

We now have at least another explanation for why five months before there’s even a vote, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, would choose sides in a crowded Democratic primary, endorsing her former State House colleague, Executive Councilor Pappas for the 1st Congressional District seat.

That’s because campaign finance reports confirm what some assumed, that for the second straight quarter, Pappas was badly outgunned in raising money by primary rival Maura Sullivan of Portsmouth.

Pappas easily outdistanced all his other six opponents for the Democratic nomination to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH.

Over the past three months, he raised $206,246, spent $74,699 and had about $339,300 in cash on hand.

Sullivan raised $480,984 from January through March. She ended the quarter with more than twice the cash the Pappas camp had; she’s got $697,461.

Even some in the Pappas camp wondered why he would waste such a valuable announcement — the support of a junior U.S. senator and former governor — in early April when so few voters were paying attention and most of those who were remain undecided.

Hassan and Pappas go back more than a decade; they served together in the Legislature before Hassan became governor and Pappas became a reliable vote for her at the council table.

If you know it’s coming, why not hold onto this big news until the waning weeks of a close primary campaign when the bump could do Pappas the most good?

With this kind of bad financial news repeating itself, Pappas knew he needed a positive press boost.

Hassan is also a proven, very capable fundraiser here and in Washington. With her now on board, this should help convince some of her faithful donors and other Hassan admirers to start throwing some money Pappas’ way.

There’s plenty of time left in this race for Pappas to erase the financial advantage Sullivan has built up.

All eyes will be on results for this next quarter that closes June 30.

Eric Holder Mulls Presidential Run

Former Attorney General Eric Holder is doing more than just musing about a Democratic run for President in 2020.

He’s acting on it as the featured speaker June 1 for the Politics & Eggs series at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on the campus of St. Anselm College.

Earlier this week on MSNBC, Holder confirmed months of speculation, but only dipped his baby toe in the water.

“I’m thinking about it but I have not made any decisions on it,” Holder said.

Holder has been getting some national attention as the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and said “democracy is under attack.”

CBS Stands by Trump Sununu Report

CBS News maintained in a story earlier this week Gov. Chris Sununu told Trump administration officials he did not want to be used as a “prop” when the President visited the Granite State

CBS reported Sununu initially opposed Trump’s plan to roll out his opioid proposal in New Hampshire last month when the White House was failing to commit to significant new resources to fight the epidemic.

The story maintained Sununu in January presented the Trump administration with a series of proposals to tackle the problem but was told there would be no new funding for the states.

What happened since that meeting and Trump’s visit here was the omnibus federal spending bill Trump signed.

The bill devotes more than a $3 billion increase to tackle this problem, including $140 million more for states like New Hampshire that have high rates of drug overdose deaths.

Sununu’s spokesman declined to confirm the rift.

“The governor does not discuss details of private meetings,” Sununu’s spokesman Ben Vihstadt told CBS News.

“Whether Governor Sununu is talking to the President, White House officials, or substance misuse professionals in New Hampshire, his passion for advocating for the Granite State is evident. He remains committed to tackling this crisis head-on, and will never fail to speak up to ensure that New Hampshire always has a seat at the table because lives are at stake.”

Democrats in the race for Governor 

The pro-gun control Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense organization decided not to pick in the Democratic race for governor and gave recognition to both former state Sen. Molly Kelly of Keene and ex-Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand.

Meanwhile, Kelly made clear that if elected she would oppose a broad-based sales or income tax.

As a state senator and/or candidate in 2006 and 2008, she said those options should have been “on the table.”

“I think the people in New Hampshire want a clear answer,” Kelly said last weekend. “I will not support a sales or an income tax.”

Marchand has chosen an overt appeal to the party’s liberal base and refused to say he would oppose such a tax.

Funds hard to come by for outsiders

How about those other Democrats in the 1st CD race? Are any of them getting financial traction?

In so many words, they’re playing big-time catch-up, but former AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie of Manchester showed he’s in this race for real, taking out a $100,000 personal loan on March 30.

Otherwise, he’s raised about $36,000 from other donors and spent less than that amount.

The loan left him with $115,370 in the bank.

Then there’s Deaglan McEachern of Portsmouth whose first quarter was respectable, taking in $135,082 with only $926 coming out of his own pocket. He ended the quarter with $94,623.

State Rep. Mindi Messner of Rye got many small donors but only has $16,630 in the bank after having raised about $17,250 during the past three months.

Levi Sanders of Claremont, the son of 2016 New Hampshire primary winner Bernie Sanders, just got into the race several weeks ago and had only four donors, himself ($100), $2,700 checks from a Red Bank, N.J. couple and $2,500 from a psychologist from Encitas, CA. He’s got $10,116 in the bank.

Terence O’Rourke of Alton raised $5,169 in the past quarter and spent $2,909. He’s got $7,169 left.

Former Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati did not file his report for the last quarter. Through the end of 2017, he had loaned himself $25,000 and had $55,531 in cash.

Republicans ramp up for 1st CD race

Meanwhile in the Republican primary, state Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, decided to show he’s all in, especially now that he will likely face a wealthy, self-funded candidate in Bruce Crochetiere of Hampton Falls who’s seriously exploring the race.

Just prior to the quarter’s end, Sanborn loaned himself another $250,000. That brings his total loans in this race to $311,166. He had a decent quarter raising money elsewhere, $106,931 from individuals, while spending only $34,425 during the same period.

His balance sheet shows $495,717 in cash on hand but that includes his loans and another $32,589 in campaign bills he did not pay over the past three months.

GOP rival and former state liquor law enforcement chief Eddie Edwards took in about the same as Sanborn during the past three months, $101,221.

He shows $159,722 in the black but this doesn’t include about $29,000 in personal loans he’s made to the race.

Kuster outpacing Republican feild

In the 2nd Congressional District, we see the power of incumbency (read $$$).

The three Republicans competing in the GOP primary together raised just under $90,000 from individuals over the past three months.

Over the same period, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., raised five times that much, $441,581.

And she’s got a campaign war chest of $2.6 million even before we hit the prime-time fund-raising phase of this race.

Concord Republican and combat veteran Lynne Blackenbeker had a decent first report, taking in $50,364 and having $35,362 left over.

Both Hopkinton doctor Stewart Levenson and Nashua businessman and state Rep. Steve Negron didn’t raise much over the same period, slightly under $20,000 apiece.

Levenson has $242,492 in cash and he’s loaned the campaign $205,000 of it.

Likewise, Negron has a net of $130,130 in donations versus spending, but that includes loans totaling $128,000 and another $28,500 in personal donations.

The winner of this GOP primary should be the recipient of some financial help, but it’s going to be a slog for all three of them to get there.

Log Cabin Republican Donations

The Log Cabin Republicans of New Hampshire made $500 donations to a pair of GOP groups, the New Hampshire Federation of College Republicans and the New Hampshire Young Republicans.

“The mission of the Log Cabin Republicans is to advance the conservative Republican principles of limited government, individual liberty and equal rights for all. We believe that the Republican Party must never lose sight of its roots as the party of the Bill of Rights and we look forward to supporting efforts and candidates who share that commitment,” said LCR Co-Chairs Doug Palardy and Jennifer Horn.

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