Trump the focus of Democrats competing for seat in congress
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — The half-dozen Democrats competing to replace Carol Shea-Porter in the 1st Congressional District in New Hampshire saved their harshest criticism at a forum Saturday for President Donald Trump.
The event, organized by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, was for the candidates to introduce themselves to party activists. The candidates are battling to succeed four-term Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who is not running for re-election in 2018.
The 1st District, which covers much of southeastern New Hampshire, the Lakes Region and up to North Conway, is one of the most high-profile and closely watched swing congressional districts in the country. It has pingponged between Shea-Porter and former GOP Rep. Frank Guinta the past four elections, and Republicans are hoping to pick up the seat, since the district was carried by Trump in last year’s election.
“We need a big course correction in this country in 2018 because Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress don’t represent our values,” said Chris Pappas, an Executive Councilor member and one of the six announced Democratic candidates.
Maura Sullivan, a Marine and Iraq War veteran who later worked in the Pentagon during the Obama Administration before moving to Portsmouth earlier this year, highlighted her service to the country in criticizing Trump.
“When this President irresponsibly threatens to take us to war, I will stand up to him because I know what the real cost of war is. I’ve lived it,” Sullivan said.
Former Strafford County attorney and Somersworth Mayor Lincoln Soldati said he was motivated to run for public office by Trump. “For 10 months I watched the destruction of my country and I wondered what can I do to stop it,” he said. “And when Carol announced her intent not to seek re-election, I saw an opportunity for me to serve my community, my state, my country. It was not an opportunity I could ignore.”
Not everyone used their time to attack Trump.
State Rep. Mark MacKenzie of Manchester, a former firefighter who served more than two decades as head of the state chapter of the AFL-CIO, touted his union experience. Terence O’Rourke, an Army veteran who also served in the Iraq War, highlighted his civic service as Rochester city attorney.
“I have held people accountable for their actions and Washington, D.C. needs to be held accountable from the top down,” O’Rourke said. “I get the job done. I get results.”
State Rep. Mindi Messmer, of Rye, an environmental scientist who is best known for raising alarms over industrial chemicals in the state’s groundwater, highlighted the fact that she has “the temperament to build effective coalitions and get things done.”
There are two declared Republicans in the race: State. Sen. Andy Sanborn, of Bedford, and former state law enforcement officer Eddie Edwards, of Dover.