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Primary Source: Lynch says Biden can help reunite the country

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

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2020 12:55:13 PM
Modified: 11/5/2020 12:55:01 PM

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch was an early supporter of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, saying since the spring of 2019 that the former vice president was a moderate who voters trusted and could help unify the country.

And in a phone interview Wednesday morning, Lynch, a Democrat, was cautiously optimistic that Biden was on track to win the 270 electoral votes he needs to capture the White House.

“People recognize that we are a very divided nation now, and they want somebody who can bring us together and who can unite us,” Lynch said. “They don’t see that coming out of Donald Trump, certainly that has not been his style over the past four years, and they are hopeful that Joe Biden will be able to unite this country.”

A former corporate CEO who served four terms as governor, Lynch now teaches a class at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth called “The CEO Experience.”

Lynch said Trump’s failures in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic hurt him most politically.

“Most people believe our national response was reprehensible. Trump did not marshal the resources when he knew about this to help the states, to help public health officials,” Lynch said. Rather than communicating openly with the American people, “he did a terrible job.”

But, Lynch said, results from Tuesday showed Trump was able “to mobilize and expand on his base,” aided by his heavy campaigning in the closing days of the campaign.

“I think he created some momentum for himself in the last week or two, and momentum matters in elections,” Lynch said. “The fact that he was everywhere holding nonstop rallies, I think that helped him seal the deal in a number of states, like Ohio and Florida.”

Lynch said he is very concerned about the country’s divisions should Trump be reelected. If Biden becomes president, Lynch said he should immediately reach across the aisle to work with Republicans, despite the recent, bitter partisanship.

“I think if Biden is there, and Biden knows Washington well enough to know, that he has to immediately reach out to the other side, and not wait for a crisis,” Lynch said. “He needs to reach out to the other side and involve them in the problems and involve them in the solutions.”

Quirk in Vermont

As expected, Biden crushed Trump in Vermont, with the Republican winning only 30.4% of the vote, according to the Secretary of State’s website. That’s about on par with Trump’s performance in 2016 against Hillary Clinton.

In an unusual quirk, though, Trump’s 112,560 votes were actually more than the 99,202 votes that Democratic Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman won against Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who captured 67.3% of the vote.

Vermont voters credited Scott for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Zuckerman was also softened up during the Democratic primary when Norwich Democrat Rebecca Holcombe raised credible questions about his past stance on vaccinations. The only towns Zuckerman won in Vermont on Tuesday were the ponytail capitals of Burlington, Putney, Marlboro and Brattleboro.

In truth, the 49-year-old Zuckerman has been a reflective and effective lawmaker for more than 20 years, and no doubt will resurface in some political capacity, this week’s drubbing notwithstanding.

New voting experience

The presidential election marked a first for Windsor resident John MacGovern, a onetime Republican lawmaker in Massachusetts and former Windsor County GOP chairman who ran statewide against U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in 2012.

MacGovern, who this year was running for the Vermont House as an independent because of his revulsion to Trump, voted for Biden, the first time he had ever voted for a Democrat.

“To me it’s about the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States, checks and balances,” MacGovern said outside the Windsor polls Tuesday. “We have got to get things back so the system is working again. Then I’ll be back working for my conservative causes.”

MacGovern was braving the brisk temperatures cordially alongside two Democratic signholders, including Elizabeth Burrows, who won one of the two seats in the Windsor 1 House district representing Windsor, West Windsor and Hartland. State Rep. John Bartholomew, D-Hartland, also held onto his post in the district.

Passing of a moderate

Speaking of working across the aisle, Wednesday’s Valley News included an obituary for former state Rep. David Kidder, a New London native who played a key role in 2014 in rounding up bipartisan support for a middle-of-the-road alternative to keep Tea Party conservative Bill O’Brien from becoming House speaker again.

“I think reasonableness prevailed,” Kidder, who died last week at 72, said at the time.

Lynch, the former governor, said he worked closely with Kidder on some issues and said he was “very pragmatic,” and not ideological.

“He was always open-minded when he came into my office. We might argue a particular issue, but I consider him a real statesman in New Hampshire, as was his father,” Lynch said, referring to the late Bill Kidder, a major force in the House from 1971 to 1994.

News staff writer John P. Gregg can be reached at

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