MANCHESTER — Leading state and national figures helped Democrat Chris Pappas and Republican Eddie Edwards frame their closing arguments Monday in New Hampshire’s closely watched race for who will represent the 1st Congressional District.
Former governor John Lynch helped greet diners at MaryAnn’s Restaurant in Derry and at the Puritan Backroom in Manchester.
Pappas is the co-owner of the Puritan and it is featured in his campaign ads.
A Hopkinton Democrat, Lynch said Pappas’ experience as a business owner and legislator make him uniquely qualified to be a healing and productive force on Capitol Hill.
“He’ll bring people together. I’d like to think that was what I was remembered for, working across both sides of the aisle to get things done,” said Lynch who won a modern-day record four terms as the state’s chief executive.
“People are disgusted with the dysfunction in Washington. He certainly can’t wave a magic wand and make that all go away, but he can make a difference and I believe he will.”
Meanwhile, former New York mayor and President Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani met with volunteers at Edwards’ campaign office before giving remarks to a closed-door shift change meeting of Manchester police officers.
Giuliani said if elected, Edwards would become a rising star right away as a Naval veteran, former police chief and the first African-American elected to major office in New Hampshire.
The race has gotten plenty of national attention because should he win, Pappas would be the first openly gay person elected to a top post here.
“God knows we need new people in Washington. We don’t need career politicians like his opponent who has run 18 times,” Giuliani said. “I don’t know what else he does other than run. This man has put his life at risk for his country, for his state and for his community and now he puts his career at risk for his people.”
Pappas said he’d be a “check and balance” on the Trump administration and accused the President of trying to scare voters with attacks on the caravan of illegal immigrants traveling through Mexico on the way to the U.S.
“I think we are best served in politics when we play to our strengths and our hopes rather than what the President is doing, which is trying to motivate people by fear,” Pappas said.
Edwards said it’s Democrats who are “fear mongering.”
“This is the Democratic playbook trying to break up our nation and divide our nation. The notion we are somehow racist because we are trying to protect our border is misguided,” Edwards said.
“They use race, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity to try and divide our country. It’s not working this time.”
Giuliani said all Presidents face issues that are marked by fear.
“The notion that thousands of people are pouring into this country, most of them are good people but you don’t think MS13 would love to infiltrate that group. You have to be naive and maybe he is,” Giuliani said of Pappas.
“I want to know who is coming in. My city was attacked by terrorists who came in here illegally. I do not think that is fear. I think that is realism.”
Pappas’ last campaign stop was a rally at the University of New Hampshire in Durham with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan.
“You can’t take anything for granted in New Hampshire. You always want to feel by the end of the campaign you’ve done everything possible to try and bring out a positive result. I feel on this final afternoon that a few hours from now we will have done that,” Pappas said.
Nicole Page of Merrimack was with her 4-week-old daughter, Kiana, at the Puritan Backroom Monday. Lynch, the father of three, gave pointers to Pappas on how to hold the baby girl.
Kiana had already been to the Pappas restaurant twice, her mom said.
“We try to start early making them regular customers,” Pappas joked.
Page said she liked Pappas but had to study up on politics before today’s vote.
“With the baby I haven’t been able to catch up so I’m going to do a lot of research tonight,” Page said.
Sylvia Souture of Candia said Trump has gotten a bad rap.
“I think the President is doing a great job but I think both sides need to work together,” Souture said.
“I believe the economy is doing better.”
Pappas said affordable housing has gotten less attention than it should have.
“Businesses can’t find people to work because many people can’t afford the cost of housing in that particular market,” Pappas said. “Many are being priced out of homes in New Hampshire.”