Primary Preview: NH democrats running for governor

Published: Sep. 7, 2018 at 5:49 PM EDT
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New Hampshire's primary is Tuesday and two democratic candidates for governor are making their final pitches to voters.

"I'm running for governor because I really want to improve the lives of the people here in New Hampshire," said Molly Kelly, a democrat for governor

"I'm running for governor because it is time for the next generation of leadership in New Hampshire to step up," said Steve C, Kelly's opponent.

Both Kelly and Marchand share a lot in common including support of gun reform, lowering the cost of college, and raising the minimum wage. They also both oppose the controversial Northern Pass power project, and the job done by Republican governor Chris Sununu.

"We have a governor who is more interested in special interests and campaign contributions," Kelly said.

"For him, election night was the point of the whole exercise. He spent the last year and-a-half happy to be governor, focused on little things," Marchand said.

Marchand was elected to the Portsmouth City Council at 29-years-old. He went on to become the city's mayor. But he also highlights his career in small business as an auditor focused on making government run more efficiently.

"I was the mayor of Portsmouth, directed corporate relations for the University of New Hampshire, and I've audited city, county and state governments off and on for the last 20 years," he said.

Kelly, who lives in a small town east of Keene called Harrisville, was a family financial advisor before she ran for the state Senate in 2006, a seat she would hold for 10 years.

"I've been working my entire life for these issues -- for family, for children, for equality, women's reproductive rights," she said. And it's her experience in Concord that Kelly says sets her apart from her democratic opponent. "I understand the legislative process. I know what it is like to get things done."

Marchand, who ran unsuccessfully for the democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2016, says his executive experience outweighs Kelly's. "I respect her service but there was not a lot of accomplishment during that ten years," he said.

Both candidates struggle with statewide name recognition. And political observers like Dartmouth College professor of government Linda Fowler say there is not a lot of policy differences for voters to chose from when they head to the polls September 11th.

"It isn't the kind of battle you are getting in democratic primaries in other parts of the country where the old gaurd is fending off Bernie Sanders type liberals," Fowler said.

And statistics will not be in the winner's favor as well. Over the last 90 years, only one sitting governor has lost a reelection campaign after just one term. Craig Benson lost to John Lynch in 2004.