Paul Steinhauser First on NH1: NH Democratic Chairman Buckley announces re-election bid
CONCORD - Ray Buckley is making it official.
The longtime chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party formally announced Monday afternoon that he's running for re-election.
In an email, Buckley thanked state committee members "for the trust you have put in me to serve as Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party; it is an honor. I ask for your vote on Saturday, March 7th for another term."
Buckley, a former eight-term state representative from Manchester, was first elected state party chair in 2007, and won re-election in 2009, 2011, and 2013. He's also president of the Association of State Democratic Party Chairs, a DNC vice chairman, and serves on the all-important Rules and Bylaws Committee.
Under Buckley's leadership, state Democrats were partially able to withstand the national Republican wave during this past November's midterm elections. Gov. Maggie Hassan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Annie Kuster won re-election. The other Democrat in the state's congressional delegation, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, was narrowly defeated by former Rep. Frank Guinta. But down ballot, Democrats lost control of the Executive Council and the state House, and the GOP increased its majority in the state Senate.
"In 2014, compared to our friends in purple, and even blue, states New Hampshire Democrats had much to celebrate. While the bad news is we didn't win every race, the good news is those losses are temporary. 2016 is shaping up to be a great year for NH Democrats," Buckley wrote.
A senior Democratic member of the state committee, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely, agreed with Buckley, telling NH1 that "Chairman Buckley's tenure has been a successful one, and compared to the results of Senate and gubernatorial races elsewhere in the country this past November, the New Hampshire Democratic Party and Buckley have a lot to be proud of as to what happened in New Hampshire in the Midterms."
As for his agenda over the next two years, Buckley said "In 2016 let's defeat (Republican U.S. Sen.) Kelly Ayotte, win back the first CD, hold the second CD, the governor's office, carry NH for our presidential nominee and win back the majorities on the Council and in the House and Senate"
And Buckley's looking ahead as well, writing that "2016 and 2018 are important years, but we know our sustained success in the future is all about 2020. Every single New Hampshire Democratic leader should be obsessed with the year 2020. Everything we do over the next 6 years needs to be in preparation for the 2020 election. 2020 is not only a Presidential and Senate election, it is the year we will elect the Governor and legislature who will control the redistricting process.
Buckley became the first openly gay person to lead all state party chairs in the national party and remains a leading, volunteer strategic adviser to groups that support expanding rights for gays and lesbians.
As of now, Buckley's running opposed for re-election.
NH1 Chief Political Correspondent Kevin Landrigan contributed to this report