Jul 4, 2016 2:35 PM
NH1 News Political Director
AMHERST – Patriotism and politics went hand in hand on Monday, as Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and five of the seven major candidates running for governor marched in this town’s July 4th parade, of the one most famous in New Hampshire.
Hassan, who’s running for the U.S. Senate against Ayotte rather than for a third term in the Corner Office, led the parade of politicians.
“I come to this parade every year,” Hassan told NH1 News. “It’s a wonderful parade in Amherst. Happy independence day to everybody in the Granite State.”
A few minutes later, Ayotte marched by.
“What an important day. Happy independence day. A Great day for a parade. And we love our country,” the Republican senator said.
Ayotte added that “I’m marching in three” independence day parades on Monday.
With Hassan running for the U.S. Senate, the race for governor is wide open.
Democrat Mark Connolly, the former longtime top financial watchdog for the Granite State, said “I’m feeling great.”
Asked how his bid for the gubernatorial nomination is going, Connolly said “everything’s going well, going well. Exactly where we want it to be. And it’s fourth of July. We’re out to celebrate America.”
Longtime state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester, donning a Connolly for governor t-shirt, was greeting voters along the parade route.
Executive Councilor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern said “I’m feeling very proud to be an American today.”
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who’s running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, told NH1 News “we’re excited. We’re energetic. Things are happening. We’ve got new endorsements every single day.”
State Sen. Jeanie Forrester, a rival for the GOP nomination, said “I will be marching in three parades and then I’m covered in about four other parades.”
And state Rep. Frank Edelblut, another Republican rival, said ‘I’m having a great time getting out and meeting lots of people. We’re starting to get a lot of issues out in the dialogue and I’m real happy about that.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (2nd Congressional District) was shaking hands. As she introduced herself to a man along the parade route, he said “I’m voting for you. Don’t worry.”
Kuster told NH1 News “it’s America’s birthday, it’s a wonderful place to be and Amherst is welcoming everyone and we are celebrating democracy in New Hampshire.”
Former state Sen. Jim Lawrence, one of the leading Republican candidates hoping to face off against Kuster in November, said “my candidacy’s building momentum. My message is being received very well. And we’re going to keep going forward.”
Republican Executive Councilor David Wheeler (District 5) said he was “having a great day here in Amherst at the parade. The weather’s beautiful. The people are happy, celebrating our American independence.”
His Democratic challenger, Dan Weeks, was shaking as many hands as possible. He slowed down just for a moment to tell NH1 News “I am literally running for executive council as you can see. Trying to shake every hand. Urge citizens to help me bring rail back to New Hampshire.”
Republican state Sen. Andy Sanborn was campaigning, not for himself but for his wife, GOP state Rep. Laurie Sanborn.
“If you’re a good husband, you always fight for your wife as well. And Rep. Sanborn is running for re-election to the state house and so we’re to help her get re-elected,” he told NH1 News.
The presumptive presidential nominees, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, were off the campaign trail today. But each had large teams of supporters marching in the parade.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte marches in the Amherst, New Hampshire July 4th parade.
Gov. Maggie Hassan marches in the Amherst, New Hampshire July 4th parade.
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas marches in the Amherst, New Hampshire July 4th parade.
State Sen. Jeanie Forrester marches in the Amherst, New Hampshire July 4th parade.
NH1 News cameraman and photojournalist Jared Higgenbotham covers Executive Councilor marching in the Amherst, New Hampshire July 4th parade.
Mark Connolly marches in the Amherst, New Hampshire July 4th parade.
Rep. Annie Kuster marches in the Amherst July 4th parade
Former state Representative Jim Lawrence marches in the Amherst July 4th parade
Former state Sen. Jim Rubens marches in the Amherst July 4th parade
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