Sep 13, 2016 12:23 AM
NH1 News Political Director
MANCHESTER – They said it couldn’t be done.
But they were proved wrong.
NH1 News (political director Paul Steinhauser and photojournalist Jared Higginbotham) spent five intense hours on the campaign trail on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, covering and speaking with the seven major candidates for governor.
First stop Monday morning was the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, a must stop for any politician seeking support from Granite State voters. Around 10:30am Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Connolly, accompanied by one of his top supporters, state Sen. Lou D’Alessandro, shook hands customers enjoying a late morning breakfast.
Minutes later the two men were walking up Elm Street, as they continued the time honored tradition of retail politics, Granite State style.
Their destination was the Bridge Café, where Connolly, surrounded by D’Alessandro and fellow state Sens. Martha Fuller Clark and Andrew Hosmer among other backers, gave his closing comments to reporters.
“I know myself. I know I’m ready for this job. And I ask everybody in New Hampshire to consider my candidacy tomorrow,” Connolly said.
Talking one-on-one with NH1 News after the event, Connolly said “it’s just me and the people. And telling your vision of the state and this is retail politics. This is what works in New Hampshire.”
Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, a rival for the Democratic nomination, is calling his primary night HQ a “general election kickoff.” Asked if Van Ostern’s getting ahead of himself, Connolly said “hubris is a dangerous thing. Especially when it comes to New Hampshire politics.”
Gatsas vs. Sununu
We headed up to the famed Puritan Backroom, another must stop for candidates seeking office. Executive Councilor Chris Sununu was scheduled to campaign at the restaurant at Noon, but around 20 minutes earlier, his main rival for the GOP nomination, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, paid a last minute surprise visit to the Puritan Backroom.
After shaking hands with patron, Gatsas told NH1 News “we’ve been in Hooksett. We’ve been in Bedford. We’re going to Amherst. We’re going to Milford. We’re going everywhere. You gotta shake voters hands and tell them where you stand.”
Gatsas departed as Sununu arrived, and the two men didn’t acknowledge each other.
Sununu was accompanied by former longtime Manchester Mayor Ray Wieczorek, who later went on to serve on the Executive Council with Sununu.
Sununu told NH1 News that “former Mayor Ray Wieczorek is one of the most respected, not just elected officials, but citizens of the city Manchester and within the state of New Hampshire.”
Marchand on home turf
Former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand was born on Manchester’s west side. And he was back there on Monday afternoon, stopping by another must stop for politicians in Manchester: Chez Vachon in Rimmon Heights.
Asked by NH1 News if he was on his home turf, Marchand joked that “I ate here (Chez Vachon) quite a bit. And I got my haircut, when I had hair, about a block down there.”
Colin Van Ostern campaigned in Manchester Monday evening, but earlier in the day he was doing door knocks while canvassing for votes in Nashua’s Ward 3.
Asked by NH1 News if he was getting ahead of himself for calling his primary night event a “general election kick-off,” he said not at all, explaining that regardless of what happens on primary day, the general election kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday evening, when the primary polls close.
State Rep. Frank Edelblut of Wilton, a Republican gubernatorial contender, was on Elm Street in the late afternoon, reaching out to voters.
Edelblut touted his get out the vote efforts, telling NH1 News that “we’ve got our door program going. By the end of the day today we’ll have been to over 40,000 houses in the state, talking to voters and making sure those voters know about Frank Edelblut for governor. We’ve got our phone program going. We’ve got lit drop. We’ve got all kinds of programs on TV, on radio. We are getting our message out. It’s resonating and I think we’re going to get it done tomorrow.”
While Edleblut was in Manchester, state Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith was shaking hands with voters along Main Street in Concord.
“It has been a busy day. I’ve been all over the place. And it’s been fun. I’ve been out there talking to voters,” Forrester told NH1 News. “We are doing the grassroots campaigning that I think works so well here in New Hampshire.”
“We were down at the Londonderry bus station this morning at 5:30am greeting the folks who were getting on the bus to head to Boston and as governor I’m going to see about getting those folks to stay here in New Hampshire,” she added.
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