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Establishment Democrats Win In New Hampshire Primaries


Progressive candidates for Congress have scored some big wins this year, like in New York and Massachusetts. But last night in New Hampshire, it was the establishment wing of the Democratic Party that won big. From New Hampshire Public Radio, Lauren Chooljian reports.

LAUREN CHOOLJIAN, BYLINE: New Hampshire Democrats know winning the governor's race next fall won't be easy. Republican Governor Chris Sununu is popular in the state. And it's hard to knock off an incumbent. Last night, they decided that their best chance at victory was with former state Senator Molly Kelly, a classic establishment Democrat.

MOLLY KELLY: Tomorrow, we take on Chris Sununu.


KELLY: It is time that New Hampshire once again had a governor who put the people first.

CHOOLJIAN: Kelly was backed by both New Hampshire's U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, women who also served as governors. The other big race in New Hampshire this cycle is the first congressional district - one of those competitive seats in the race for control of Congress. Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter is retiring. And from a massive field of 11 Democrats, voters overwhelmingly chose Chris Pappas, another establishment favorite who's held numerous elected positions over the past decade.

CHRIS PAPPAS: You know, I always trust Granite State voters to get it right. And tonight...


PAPPAS: ...And tonight they didn't disappoint.

CHOOLJIAN: New Hampshire is one of the last primary elections in the country, which means Pappas will have his work cut out for him to convince voters in a district that Trump won in 2016 that this seat should stay blue. Pappas will face Republican Eddie Edwards, who worked hard to attract Trump supporters.

EDDIE EDWARDS: Minorities are working. Women are working. Wages are starting to increase. You have more money in your pocket. It's time to get it done. It's time to make sure Washington, D.C., does not interfere in the state of New Hampshire's business.

CHOOLJIAN: No matter who wins the first district in November, it will be historic. If Pappas is elected, he would be the first openly gay representative from New Hampshire. And Edwards would be the state's first black congressman. For NPR News, I'm Lauren Chooljian in Concord, N.H.


Lauren is NHPR’s Politics and Policy reporter for the State of Democracy project.