Primary Source: Hanover Sen. Martha Hennessey swings support to Buttigieg

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

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/22/2020 10:22:52 PM
Modified: 1/22/2020 10:22:45 PM

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and former Vice President Joe Biden are campaigning in the Upper Valley this week.

And the region is about to be flooded by surrogates, especially as four of the candidates remain stuck in Washington because of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Gabbard held a rally in Charlestown on Wednesday evening and is slated to appear at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Common Man Inn for a Claremont “town hall” forum.

Gabbard made national headlines Wednesday by filing a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, saying she had been defamed when the 2016 Democratic nominee recently suggested Gabbard was “the favorite of the Russians.” A Clinton spokesman called the lawsuit “ridiculous,” according to the Associated Press.

Biden is headed to the same Common Man ballroom on Friday morning for a campaign stop at 11:45 a.m. (Doors open at 11:15).

Sullivan County Democratic Chairwoman Judith Kaufman on Wednesday said she thinks many voters are still making up their minds, including about Biden, despite his long career in the public spotlight.

“I think because he was vice president, people will want to see him, and it will help people decide as well,” she said, though the crowd on a workday morning may not be as large as the 500-plus former Mayor Pete Buttigieg drew in Claremont on a recent Saturday.

Slew of surrogates

Buttigieg got another upward bump on Wednesday when state Sen. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, threw her support to the 38-year-old candidate from Indiana. Hennessey’s first choice, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., recently withdrew from the race.

Hennessey, whose district stretches from Lyme to Charlestown, said she believes Buttigieg is more electable than U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whom she gave strong consideration to along with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

“I really like his authenticity, his curiosity, and his ability to really listen and take in other opinions,” Hennessey said of Buttigieg.

“I feel I can rely on Pete to resist the inevitable taunts from the president, and I just don’t think he would take the bait, which I think other candidates might,” she said later.

Buttigieg this week also announced that former Lebanon Mayor Sue Prentiss, a former Republican who endorsed him earlier, is now one of his campaign’s four New Hampshire co-chairs.

Prentiss, who has done some door-to-door campaigning for him, said she thinks Buttigieg is “unflappable” and “doesn’t pivot” away from questions. And she, too, thinks many voters are still making up their minds.

“I do hear a number of people who say they are undecided, and they want to engage, not negatively,” said Prentiss, who remains on the City Council. “They have good questions.”

In fact, a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released Tuesday found that 24% of likely primary voters in New Hampshire are still undecided.

Warren did get one key endorsement in New Hampshire this week. Former Democratic Party chairwoman Kathy Sullivan, a member of the Democratic National Committee, threw her support to Warren, citing her “grasp on the intricacies of our economy.”

“When I vote for her in three weeks, I’ll be voting for a candidate we can all get behind, who can beat Trump, and who will make economic reforms that will help America’s families,” Sullivan said in a news release from the Warren campaign.

With many candidates also focusing in Iowa or stuck in Washington, the Upper Valley is about to be flooded by other surrogate campaigners, some celebrities and some former politicians.

The best events, if you like ice cream in the dead of winter, are probably the “get out the vote ice cream socials” that Vermonters Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are holding for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign on Friday. They’ll make stops at the University of New Hampshire in Durham at noon; Colby-Sawyer College’s Ware Dining Hall at 2:30 p.m.; and the Dirt Cowboy Cafe in Hanover, near the Dartmouth campus, at 4:30 p.m.

Not to be outdone, the Warren campaign is sending actress and political activist Ashley Judd to Hanover and Lebanon on Friday. She’ll hold meet and greets at the Top of the Hop at Dartmouth at 1 p.m. and at the Warren campaign field office in Lebanon, at 2 W. Park St. at 2:30 p.m.

On the former governors front, Biden has two about to stump in the state. Former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, never a big Sanders fan, will hold a “canvass kickoff” in Claremont at 3 p.m. on Sunday at 31 Pleasant St., followed by a similar event at 6 p.m. in Lebanon at the Biden campaign field office at 85 Mechanic St.

And former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is doing a “Live Free, Vote Joe” tour for Biden, with a stop in Lebanon next Thursday.

As part of his full-court press with blasts from the past, Biden is also bringing in former Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. He’ll be campaigning for Biden in Manchester and on the Seacoast on Sunday.

Climate vote

The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Stonyfield Organic are sponsoring a New Hampshire Youth Climate & Clean Energy Town Hall open to the general public in Concord on Feb. 5, six days before the New Hampshire primary.

High school and college students can meet with and question several of the presidential candidates during the daylong event at the Bank of NH Stage in Concord.

John P. Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com.




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