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Jun 9, 2016 12:20 AM

Marchand takes shots at gubernatorial rivals, says he's most 'progressive' in race

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Steve Marchand says he’s “the most progressive candidate” in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

And the former Portsmouth mayor took a shot at some of his rivals, saying they’re “thinking more about how to win the election than how” to govern.

With Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte, the race for the Corner Office is wide open. Marchand’s facing off against Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and former state Rep. Mark Connolly, a former top financial watchdog for the state.

Asked by NH1 News how he can compete against those two candidates, who launched their gubernatorial bids months before he did, Marchand said “although they did get in earlier, their name ID and the amount of money they’ve raised, at least by those indicators that we can ascertain, is not significantly more.”

And he touted his frugality, saying “anybody who’s seen me over the last 15 years in terms of how I’ve worked early in my career in politics, as an elected official, a data driven guy, a counselor, a mayor, anyone who knows my personal ethos, nobody stretches a dollar better in campaign environment than I do.”

Marchand also took a shot at his rivals, saying “I’m not here for the title. I want the job. And I think that sets me apart frankly from some of my opponents, who I think are thinking more about how to win the election than how to serve if they actually get the shot at it.”

Marchand told NH News that “I’m the most progressive candidate in the race.”

Without naming Van Ostern, Marchand criticized him, saying “one of my opponents votes virtually all the time with (GOP executive councilor and gubernatorial candidate) Chris Sununu because their votes are almost identical.”

And without naming Connolly, Marchand jabbed at him, saying “my other opponent hasn’t really been in a public elected office very much in his career, about 40 years ago he was briefly.”

Stance on Syrian refugees

Following the Paris terrorist attacks last November, Hassan made headlines in becoming the only Democratic governor in the country to call for a temporary ban on Syrian refugees into New Hampshire until the federal vetting process “is as strong as possible” to make sure the American people stay safe.

Monday, as she filed her candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Hassan said that she felt communication between federal agencies and the states taking in some of the Syrian refuges had improved. But Hassan, questioned repeatedly by reporters, wouldn’t say if her position had changed.

Tuesday night Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, a rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, said he’d use every tool possible as governor to stop Syrian refugees from entering the Granite State until satisfied that security would be guaranteed.

Marchand slammed Gatsas, saying “Mayor Gatsas yesterday bringing this up, on the heels of the rhetoric of the last 48 hours by Donald Trump, is a clear match into the pile of hay. It was intended to piggyback on incendiary language that even Paul Ryan thought was over the top.”

And he said he’s OK with the current screening process, adding that “whether Syrian or from somewhere, whether the great strength of New Hampshire and of America is our embracing of immigrants, not of scapegoating them.”

Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand files for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination at the Secretary of State's office, on June 8, 2016

Watch/Read: Gatsas-Sununu war of words over drug crisis

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