Sep 26, 2016 6:00 AM

Edwards backs up Lawrence criticism of Obama over race relations

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Eddie Edwards says he agrees with Jim Lawrence’s criticism of how President Obama has handled race relations, in the wake of this past week’s violence protests that broke out in Charlotte North, Carolina following the police shooting of a black man.

“I’ve said before and I still believe this: the current administration has continued to fan the flames of racial hatred and over glorified the things that divide us instead of promoting the things that unite us. And we see the disastrous results of that lack of leadership in issue like we see going on in North Carolina right now,” Lawrence, the Republican nominee in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, told NH1 News.

Lawrence, whose father spent 35 years in law enforcement and who is the first black congressional nominee in the Granite State’s history, spoke with NH1 News on Thursday for an interview that will air Sunday on NH1 Newsmakers.

Asked if he was placing some of the blame on President Obama, Lawrence responded “I'm placing a lot of the blame on a lack of leadership and the poor judgement. I mean we've seen this time and time again. He supported black lives matter when he should have been talking about all lives matter instead of black lives matter only.”

Lawrence, who’s challenging two-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster in November’s election, went on to say that “our very own Rep. Ann Kuster has remained silent on this issue, among others, which are very important to the voters of this state.”

The New Hampshire Democratic Party responded to the comments by Lawrence.

"Jim Lawrence's divisive rhetoric only serves to fan the flames of racial tension. Instead of pointing fingers, we should be coming together as one nation to heal and ensure all Americans can live and work in safety," NHDP Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement.

On Monday, Edwards jumped into the conversation.

Edwards, a former South Hampton police chief and former director of the New Hampshire State Liquor Enforcement Division, and who is black, said in a statement that “like Jim Lawrence, I am tired of the dangerously divisive rhetoric coming from President Obama and his administration. His statements surrounding race relations do not unite us, but rather they have fanned the flames of violence and further divided us.”

"While I do not expect Annie Kuster's partisan allies at the New Hampshire Democratic Party to agree with a conservative on many issues, I do find it incredibly insulting for them to demean the beliefs of the first African American ever nominated to represent a major party in New Hampshire. Regardless of his party affiliation, his lifetime of experience in understanding race relations in our country carries far more weight than theirs. Congresswoman Kuster should demand that her allies at the Democratic Party immediately apology to Jim Lawrence.”

The statement by Edwards, who ran unsuccessfully against state Democratic Sen. David Watters in the 2014 general election, was provided to NH1 News by the New Hampshire GOP.

Lawrence won around 40% of the vote in a seven candidate GOP field in the September 13 primary. Kuster was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Asked how he’ll take on Kuster, who has a large advantage when it comes to fundraising, Lawrence said “you beat somebody by getting the message out to each and every voter. And you know, I’m doing a lot of fundraising too, so I’m not scare of her war chest right now.”

Kuster has raised more than $2.6 million this cycle, and had just under $2 million cash on hand as of late last month. Lawrence had raised $36,000 through the primary.

Eddie Edwards

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