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Democratic primary candidates line up behind election winners

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 13. 2018 10:21AM
Unsuccessful candidates in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District applaud the winner, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, at the party’s unity breakfast on Thursday. (Dave Solomon / Union Leader)

MANCHESTER - After a contentious primary, Democratic candidates for governor and Congress engaged in a display of solidarity at their unity breakfast on Thursday, pledging to work together for victory in November.

“On Tuesday, voters came out in full force to make their voices heard, and now it's time for us to come together and unite as a party across the Granite State,” state party chair Ray Buckley told a packed room at the Derryfield Country Club.

Unsuccessful Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand, a former mayor of Portsmouth, pledged his support to former state Sen. Molly Kelly, who had beaten him handily in Tuesday's election.

After receiving a long standing ovation from the crowd, Marchand said the differences between Democratic candidates in the primary were “inches compared to the chasm that New Hampshire voters face between candidates in November. We are making decisions now that will impact the next 20 to 40 years of the state we love.”

“We have to support her (Kelly) in every possible way, and I will be at the front of that line,” said Marchand.

Kelly took advantage of the opportunity to restate the issues she will hammer on during the campaign, including opposition to taxpayer funding for private schools, support for renewable energy, paid family medical leave and abortion rights.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, the Democrats' pick for Congress in the 1st District, took the stage with eight of his 10 primary opponents.

“There were a few times when we clashed, but by and large, we were working in the same direction,” he said. “After 10 months of campaigning, I feel so much better about our opportunity to make a difference, to make a change and send a message. We need to pick up the torch from Carol Shea Porter and run with it this fall.”

Pappas alluded to the fact that, if elected, he would be the first openly gay man sent to Congress by New Hampshire voters: “I hope to some small degree that my nomination sends the message that everyone is welcome in the state of New Hampshire; everyone has a seat at the table and that regardless of who you are or are not, the sky's the limit.”

State Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy and House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff predicted Democratic majorities in both chambers after the votes are counted in November.

“I want to introduce you to the next majority members of the New Hampshire House,” said Shurtleff as he asked all Democratic House candidates to stand up. “And we're going to do it the old-fashioned way. We're going to earn it.”

Party officials announced grassroots campaigning will begin in earnest this weekend, as door-to-door canvassing involving hundreds of volunteers kicks off from 50 locations throughout the state.

“I can feel the energy in this room building,” said Soucy. “We are going to have an amazing election day come Nov. 6.”

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