Primary Source: Biden, Buttigieg and Gabbard headed to the Upper Valley

  • John P. Gregg. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/6/2019 10:06:46 PM
Modified: 11/7/2019 10:50:20 AM

If you are headed out and about in the Upper Valley this weekend, there’s a good chance you might trip over a Democratic presidential candidate.

Three of them are holding events on Saturday in a race that still appears wide open with about three months to go before the New Hampshire primary.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will be on day two of a Granite State campaign swing, and after a canvassing kickoff with firefighters in Concord, he’s headed to New London for a 3 p.m. town hall at Colby-Sawyer College’s Wheeler Hall.

In a tag team, Jill Biden will hold a “canvass kickoff” at a Bailey Avenue home in Claremont at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, before doing a similar event at 3:15 p.m. at the Biden campaign office in the Rivermill complex in Lebanon.

The Bidens are then expected to reconnect and attend a fundraiser that evening at the Norwich home of Jane and Bill Stetson. Jane Stetson served as the Democratic National Committee’s finance chairwoman for a chunk of the Obama-Biden administration.

Bill Stetson, an early and ardent backer of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, said Wednesday that the couple expect about 100 donors at the $500-a-head fundraiser, which also will be attended for free by some Dartmouth students and young Democrats helping out at the event.

The Stetsons gave $2,800 apiece to Mayor Pete Buttigieg earlier this year, and Bill Stetson, who also donated $1,000 to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s now-curtailed campaign, said they have not fully committed to any one candidate but were eager to help Biden.

“We’re doing this for Joe. He would be a wonderful president. He’s a spectacularly great, genuine guy, and I just think he gets a bad rap,” Bill Stetson said. “This is a very, very decent man.”

As for other candidates, on Saturday morning, Buttigieg will make a Lebanon stop on his four-day New Hampshire bus tour, holding a town hall at 10:30 a.m. at Lebanon Middle School.

He’ll also be in Claremont on Sunday, at 1 p.m., for a canvassing kickoff with supporters at the Visitors Center Green on North Street.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, will also campaign in Lebanon on Saturday. Gabbard, who has been gaining some more attention from voters, will hold a town hall forum at the Salt hill Pub in downtown Lebanon at 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is running his first New Hampshire TV ad, starting Thursday, with a $1 million ad buy.

The “Fights for Us” ad takes on some familiar Sanders bogeymen — big pharma, Donald Trump, global warming — and concludes: “In this moment, we need a fighter. Bernie Sanders — we know he’ll fight for us as president because he always has.”

With Democrats still featuring a large field, primary watchers said not to count out candidates who aren’t currently in the top tier of polls.

“This race is very fluid,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

And Dartmouth College government professor Russell Muirhead on Wednesday noted that Gary Hart in 1984 and Eugene McCarthy in 1968 were just two of the surprise finishers who came out of nowhere to either win or shake up the New Hampshire primary.

He said the Iowa caucuses, which pull from a small electorate, can have a major effect on New Hampshire’s primary the next week.

“I think we could see some surprising second- or third-place results, which put people in play in New Hampshire who right now seem like they are out of the running,” said Muirhead, who has just been named interim director of Dartmouth’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy.

Republican roundup

Some of the Republican challengers to President Donald Trump will make appearances at Dartmouth next week.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld will be speaking on “The Future of the American Presidency” at the Rockefeller Center at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

And Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman also hoping to unseat Trump, will speak at a Dartmouth Republicans event at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 15, also at the Rockefeller Center.

This week, Vice President Mike Pence is expected in Concord on Thursday to file candidacy papers for Trump at the Secretary of State’s Office, then speak at a politics forum at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished second in the GOP New Hampshire primary in 2016, will also be in the state on Thursday, speaking at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. Kasich has a book out, It’s Up to Us.

Election complaint

New Hampshire Democrats say they plan to file an election law complaint on Thursday against the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition after gun-rights activists unfurled posters at a House committee hearing likening several Democratic lawmakers to Nazis and other authoritarians.

Democrats say the posters, which also included a swastika and the Soviet flag, failed to include the name of the coalition as required by the state’s political advertising code. Gun-rights supporters were there in opposition to a proposed “red flag law” that would allow family members of somebody considered to be an extreme risk to themselves or others to temporarily get their guns confiscated.

“We’re filing this complaint because, if you’re going to spew this kind of hate, you better be willing to put your name on it,” Buckley, the Democratic party chairman, said in a news release.

John P. Gregg can be reached at

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