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Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party unity breakfast in Manchester on Sept. 15, 2016

Sep 15, 2016 7:27 PM

Van Ostern crticizes Sununu's Executive Council votes in NH1 News interview

NH1 News Political Director

MANCHESTER – Colin Van Ostern says when it comes his gubernatorial battle against Republican Chris Sununu, “there are big important issues that we’ve disagreed on.”

And in an interview with NH1 News, the Democratic nominee for the Corner Office also charged that his rival was letting politics get in the way of his votes on the Executive Council.

Van Ostern spoke with NH1 News on Wednesday morning, moments after the conclusion of the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s unity breakfast at the Puritan Conference Center in Manchester.

WATCH: The NH Democratic Party Unity Breakfast

A few minutes earlier, addressing the audience of Democratic state lawmakers and activists, Van Ostern said “now I’m running against the son of a governor and I need your help.”

Van Ostern and Sununu, the son of former Gov. John H. Sununu, sit next to each other on New Hampshire’s five member Executive Council. Van Ostern easily won his primary contest on Tuesday against two other candidates, Mark Connolly, who served nearly a decade as the state’s top financial watchdog, and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand. Van Ostern captured just over 50% of the vote.

Sununu narrowly edged out state Rep. Frank Edelblut by just over 800 votes in a battle between four major candidates. Edelblut conceded and endorsed Sununu at a joint-event Wednesday afternoon in front of the State House in Concord

Asked about Van Ostern Wednesday morning at the New Hampshire GOP Unity Breakfast, Sununu told NH1 News "find me a politically difficult vote Colin Van Ostern has taken. It doesn't exist. He panders to exactly what Gov. (Maggie) Hassan wants, exactly what that extreme left wing liberal agenda is."

Asked to respond, Van Ostern told NH1 News “I think folks can judge us based on our voting records. There are big important issues that we’ve disagreed on.”

Among the issues the Democratic nominee listed was state funding for Planned Parenthood. While Sununu supported the contract in a well-publicized vote this summer, Van Ostern pointed out Sununu’s vote last year against the contract.

“What was unfortunate was that over the past year for ten months thousands fewer women across our state got birth control and cancer screenings and annual exams. And I’m disappointed that Chris voted to shut that funding off. I’m very glad we were able to get the funding restored but people and the women of our state deserve a governor who’s going to be there for them a 100% of the time, not letting politics get in the way,” Van Ostern said.

During the breakfast, both Connolly and Marchand formally endorsed Van Ostern.

I’ll be a strong supporter of this party and a strong supporter for Colin,” Connolly said.

“It’s real easy for me to be all in for Colin. We all need to be all in for Colin because the future of New Hampshire looks a hell of lot more like Colin than it does like Chris Sununu,” added Marchand.

Addressing the breakfast moments later, Van Ostern said “I’ve been very proud to run both of these guys. Thank you to both of you for everything that you brought.”


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