Primary Source: Gillibrand ends bid; Sanders to campaign in Claremont

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

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/28/2019 9:47:39 PM
Modified: 9/3/2019 1:20:21 PM

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ended her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday after failing to break through to voters in a crowded field.

“There is dignity and strength in knowing when it’s not your time,” Gillibrand campaign manager Jess Fassler said in an email announcing the New York Democrat’s decision to suspend her campaign.

“Moving forward, Kirsten will focus on uniting our party and our country to beat Donald Trump, flip the Senate and elect women up and down the ballot — in addition to fighting as hard as ever for New York families in the U.S. Senate by continuing to take on the fights that others won’t,” Fassler wrote.

Gillibrand, a 1988 Dartmouth College graduate, had failed to qualify for next month’s presidential debates and was polling at just 1% in New Hampshire polls despite having made 10 trips and held 52 public events in the state.

Fassler said Gillibrand was “the fiercest fighter for women and families.” But she never attracted the following or media attention that went to first-time candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, much less Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. She also may have alienated some Democrats by quickly calling for then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign over allegations of unwanted kissing and groping.

Sanders to campaign in Claremont

Sanders is headed back to the Upper Valley this Labor Day weekend as part of a northern New England campaign trip.

He’s slated to hold an “ice cream social and town hall” Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Common Man Inn in Claremont.

The Vermont independent also will march in the Milford (N.H.) Labor Day parade and hold events this weekend in Granite State communities Raymond, Peterborough, Dover, Epsom and Nashua. Sanders also plans to visit Maine for a rally Sunday evening in Portland followed by a speech the next morning to the Southern Maine Labor Council Labor Day breakfast.

Sullivan County has gotten a fair amount of attention this cycle, with Buttigieg and Biden both having made stops there last week. Besides speaking in Cornish and at Dartmouth, Buttigieg did some face-to-face campaigning in other parts of the Valley, stopping by to chat with Lebanon firefighters at the fire station downtown and spending an hour on Saturday at the Newport Apple Fest.

Sullivan County Democratic Chairwoman Judith Kaufman, who was staffing a booth for the party at the fair, said Buttigieg “got an amazing response from the crowd.”

“People were extremely excited to meet him and very happy for him to come to Newport,” Kaufman said.

She also saw Biden at what was billed as a “community event” in Croydon on Friday evening after he spoke to a large crowd at Dartmouth earlier in the day. The Biden talk at the Loon Lake Campground was open to the media but not to the general public.

“In my role as Sullivan County chair, I was disappointed that the event wasn’t open to the public,” Kaufman said. “From my perspective, the campaign would have done themselves a bigger favor if they had made it a public event.”

Croydon Town Clerk Charleen Little on Wednesday said she wasn’t even aware where the event had been held.

Kaufman, who as a party official is remaining neutral in the primary, said she saw both Biden and Buttigieg speak last week. “Biden spent more time discussing the Trump administration, and Buttigieg spent more time discussing what contributions he would make as president,” she said. “That to me was the striking difference between the two.”

During the Croydon event, Biden spoke of New Hampshire as “God’s country.” That may be true, especially if you are standing atop a peak in the White Mountains.

The Croydon campground, pretty as it may be, has a different history. It’s actually on a man-made body of water with a dam and is also known as The Overflow.

District 8 rematch?

Sutton, N.H., Democrat Jenn Alford-Teaster is considering another bid for the District 8 New Hampshire Senate seat held by Stoddard Republican Ruth Ward. Alford-Teaster, a geospatial researcher who works for Dartmouth College, said she is thinking about a run and enjoying “watching Twitter and seeing all the campaigns that are out doing canvassing.”

Alford-Teaster lost to Ward by just 650 votes in 2018, taking 48.7% of the vote. The Republican strongholds of Weare and Newport proved the difference for Ward.

Briefly noted

■ U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., will be in Lebanon next Thursday, Sept. 5, to open the Lebanon field office on West Park Street for Warren’s campaign. Kennedy, who is backing his fellow Bay State Democrat, is considering a primary challenge against U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a progressive Democrat who has been no slouch on telecommunications policy and the environment over the years.

The 38-year-old Kennedy, the grandson of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, attended Stanford and Harvard Law School and is a former prosecutor and Peace Corps volunteer.

■ U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., visited Lebanon and Claremont on Monday, including meeting with participants in Moms for Recovery, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock program that helps pregnant women and mothers who have substance abuse problems. Hassan also hosted a business roundtable at the Claremont MakerSpace.

John P. Gregg can be reached at


The Elizabeth Warren campaign office will be at 2 West Park St. in Lebanon. An earlier version of this column misidentified the street.

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