Primary Source: As NH primary nears, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster backs Buttigieg

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

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/15/2020 9:56:19 PM
Modified: 1/15/2020 9:55:28 PM

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg picked up a prominent New Hampshire endorsement late Wednesday, winning the support of U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.

Kuster, an early supporter of Barack Obama in 2007, said Buttigieg can appeal to progressives, independents and “disaffected Republicans.”

“We need a leader who recognizes that the office of the presidency has the power to bridge our differences — and Pete Buttigieg is that leader,” Kuster said in a statement released by the Buttigieg campaign. “Like Barack Obama before him, Pete is young, inspiring, brings fresh ideas to the table, and is motivated to win. Pete has the courage to lead us to a better future.”

Impeachment impact

Meanwhile, the Senate impeachment trial complicates campaign efforts for the four U.S. senators still in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — Bernie Sanders, of Vermont; Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts; Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota; and Michael Bennet, of Colorado.

Sanders still plans to campaign heavily in New Hampshire this weekend, including stops in Exeter, Manchester and Conway. And going forward, an endorsement Sanders received on Monday from New Hampshire’s second-largest union may prove all the more relevant.

The SEA/SEIU Local 1984, which has more than 10,000 members, including state employees and health care and service workers, backed Sanders, who has long-standing ties to labor unions.

Sanders on Wednesday evening also spoke out on the Senate floor against the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement on free trade, citing some union and environmental opposition to the USMCA and noting that he voted against its predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement, in 1993.

“While NAFTA has led to the loss of nearly 1 million American jobs, this agreement does virtually nothing to stop the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico. Under this agreement, large, multinational corporations will still be able to shut down factories in America where workers are paid $28 an hour and move to Mexico where they are paid less than $2 an hour,” Sanders said in prepared remarks.

For her part, Warren’s campaign on Wednesday released a list of more than 100 labor union members in New Hampshire, many of them teachers and some from the SEIU, who are backing her campaign. Warren also plans to have some surrogates campaigning for her this weekend, including New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, an up-and-coming Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.

Biaggi plans to help canvass in Claremont and Hanover on Sunday and will talk to students at Dartmouth College. She also happens to be the granddaughter of the late U.S. Rep. Mario Biaggi, D-N.Y., a decorated police officer from the Bronx and popular 10-term congressman who was convicted on corruption charges in the late 1980s.

Former Vice President Joe Biden released a list of 13 more New Hampshire state representatives who are backing his candidacy — bringing his total to 35 — and Klobuchar and Bennet also announced some more endorsements from Democratic activists.

Bennet also has the backing of Democratic strategist James Carville, who helped elect Bill Clinton in 1992.

“If Michael Bennet is the Democratic nominee, you’re going to get 55% of the popular vote and you’re going to pick up 55 Senate seats, and it will be the end of Trumpism,” Carville said on MSNBC.

On the lighter side, comedian Dave Chappelle this week threw his support behind Andrew Yang and plans to hold two shows for Yang’s campaign in South Carolina.

Waiting for Scott

Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill in October said he planned to resign by Jan. 12 to become a stay-at-home father, but who his successor will be is still up in the air. Gov. Phil Scott has yet to appoint a successor, though it’s expected soon.

Windsor County Democrats in late November voted to recommend any of the three deputy prosecutors in Cahill’s office who are interested in the post, Ward Goodenough, Heidi Remick and Karen Oelschlaeger.

“We sent the 3 (names) without rank or preference,” Windsor County Democratic Chairman Al Alessi said via email last month. “All are outstanding, as were the 3 external candidates, but the vote of a majority of the committee was that maintaining the continuity of the current office was of significant value.”

Goodenough is the son of state Sen. Alison Clarkson, D-Woodstock. The job is slated to pay $116,500 this year, and Cahill said he spoke highly of all three prosecutors to the county Democratic committee.

Cahill said he had hoped for time over the slow holiday period to work with his successor. Instead, he is still running the office past his planned departure date.

“Since we are playing in the ‘sudden death round,’ ” Cahill said Wednesday, “a transition is going to be less methodical and more hurried.”

Cahill took a major step last month in taking back the prosecution of Kyle Bolaski from an outside prosecutor and brokering a manslaughter plea bargain in a long-disputed shooting (the defense said it was self-defense) on a Chester, Vt., ballfield in 2008.

“It is important to me that justice be done in that case, and justice delayed was slowly becoming justice denied,” Cahill said. “From my perspective, that was a manslaughter case from day one, and it was appropriate to end as a manslaughter case.”

John P. Gregg can be reached at

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