Results: Manchester Mayoral Primary

The city's unofficial tally suggests the Democratic incumbent has a significant lead on her Republican challenger ahead of the general election. But a surprise outcome would be precedented.

By Steven Porter

MANCHESTER — Democratic incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig will face off with Republican challenger former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan in the general election, after the two candidates finished first and second in Tuesday’s primary.

Unofficial results released by the City Clerk’s Office indicate 8,716 residents voted in the primary: 4,983 for Craig, 3,416 for Sullivan, and 317 for city resident Glenn Ouellette. Those numbers show Craig captured about 57% of the vote, while Sullivan snagged about 39%—which suggests Sullivan may face an uphill battle.

But that didn’t stop the Sullivan campaign from singing an optimistic tune when at least 75 supporters gathered for a primary night party at Murphy’s Taproom. The campaign pointed to former Mayor Frank C. Guinta, a Republican who won the general election in 2005 after securing about 39% of the primary vote that year, as justification for their optimism in Sullivan’s chances.

Sullivan took the stage, thanked her campaign’s volunteers, and told the room that the primary results “look really great for us.”

“The message is very clear,” she said. “People are really concerned about the way the city is going.”

Craig hosted a reception for staff and volunteers at her campaign office on Mammoth Road. A campaign staffer said the event was closed to the press.

“In the past two years, we’ve made meaningful progress strengthening our schools, growing our economy, and combating the opioid epidemic,” Craig said in a statement thanking supporters.

“I look forward to continuing our conversations with voters about all we have accomplished, and how we can continue to keep the momentum going to build a stronger Manchester,” Craig added.

The general election is Nov. 5.

This week: Veto override votes & Manchester's mayoral primary

Here's what's on the horizon for Granite State politics (plus a bit of perspective in the rear-view mirror).

By Steven Porter

Good morning! Happy Monday. And thanks for reading Granite Memo.

I have three items to share with you in today’s edition:

  1. It’s time to vote on veto overrides: State lawmakers will vote this week on whether to override the governor’s 55 vetoes. The outcome will frame the debate between Republicans and Democrats ahead of the 2020 election.

  2. Manchester will weigh in on mayoral primary: Residents of the state’s largest city will decide Tuesday which two candidates will advance to the general election this fall.

  3. Your #fitn fix: Republicans have committed to hold a 2020 presidential primary in New Hampshire, even as other states have cancelled theirs. Democrats, meanwhile, hosted their third televised debate.

Let me explain…

But first, some housekeeping: If you like anything about Granite Memo, please tell your friends, colleagues, family, and foes. Subscribing is easy and free. —Steven 

1. Veto Override Votes: Lawmakers to Revisit 55 Bills Sununu Killed This Year

Lawmakers will reconvene this week in Concord to vote again on each of the bills killed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s record-setting 55 vetoes thus far this year.

It’s unclear which measures, if any, the Democrats might salvage. Since they don’t have a two-thirds supermajority in either the House or the Senate, they would need support (or abstentions) from Republican colleagues to overpower Sununu’s red pen.

Democrats comprise 58% of each chamber. They hold 14 of the Senate’s 24 seats and 233 of the House’s 400 seats, after wresting legislative control from Republicans in the 2018 election and pressing forward this year with a more progressive agenda—which Sununu has cited as the reason for his numerous vetoes.

“I’m not out to set records,” Sununu told The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Kamp, “but the Democratic-led legislature has passed just so much extreme legislation.”

Even if lawmakers manage to override none of Sununu’s vetoes, their votes this week will frame the partisan debate ahead of the 2020 election. The governor will campaign to keep his job, with promises to continue blocking “extreme” bills, portraying himself as the adult in Concord. Democrats, meanwhile, will accuse him of opposing reasonable legislation that would help everyday people, casting him as the central impediment to their progress. In other words, Democrats may not need a legislative victory this week to turn Sununu’s vetoes into a winning issue electorally.

The vetoed bills, which are scheduled for override votes Wednesday and Thursday, address several major topics, as The Concord Monitor’s Ethan DeWitt reported:

  • Firearms: Sununu vetoed bills that would add a state background check requirement and three-day waiting period for firearms purchases, prohibit firearms on school grounds, and establish a way for judges to take guns away from people deemed to pose a credible threat to safety.

  • Elections: Sununu vetoed bills that would have allowed out-of-state college students to vote without registering their vehicles in the state, a move to protect measures the legislature had passed under Republican control. He also vetoed bills that would require more political groups to register with the secretary of state, allow voters to cast absentee ballots without a justification, and establish an independent commission to assist in redistricting after the 2020 Census.

  • Environment: Two of the environmental bills that Sununu vetoed—one to lift a “net metering” cap on the sale of renewable electricity at certain rates (H.B. 365) and another to subsidize biomass plants (H.B. 183)—have perhaps the best chance of being revived this week, as the Monitor reported. (While the business community has largely sided with Sununu, there are differing opinions on the details of some environmental measures, as the New Hampshire Business Review’s Bob Sanders reported. That could offer some justification for Republican lawmakers to break rank.)

  • Labor: Sununu vetoed a slew of labor legislation backed by Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, who is the only Democrat to declare his formal candidacy thus far for the 2020 gubernatorial primary. The measures would, among other things, require that workers’ compensation payments continue until the worker finds not only a new job but a new job with a similar pay rate. Sununu also vetoed a bill to establish a state minimum wage of $10 per hour in 2020, then $12 per hour in 2022.

Budget, etc.: After disagreement over business tax rates and spending levels, Sununu vetoed the budget in June, but negotiators missed the deadline to put a budget compromise on the calendar ahead of this week’s votes, as the Monitor reported. Lawmakers will either have to extend the short-term funding window or accept a budget deal as a late item, like they did in 2015.

The list of override votes includes a number of other smaller items as well.

2. Manchester’s Mayoral Primary: Voters to Weigh in *Tomorrow* Ahead of General Election This Fall

Manchester residents will vote Tuesday in the city’s nonpartisan mayoral primary, with three names on the ballot: incumbent Mayor Joyce Craig, former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan, and city resident Glenn Ouellette.

The two who receive the most votes—likely Craig, a Democrat, and Sullivan, a Republican—will face off in the Nov. 5 general election. (Ouellette is a perennial candidate who secured just 138 votes when he ran in the 2017 primary.)

The big question, as votes are tallied, will be whether Sullivan has generated enough energy to mount a viable challenge to Craig’s reelection. They both spent their final weekend before the primary shoring up support among potential voters, making appearances at an annual Greek festival, and canvassing neighborhoods with help from campaign staffers and volunteers.

Craig was joined by state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, who is running for governor. Sullivan was joined by Eddie Edwards, a former chief of the New Hampshire State Division of Liquor Enforcement who ran for Congress in 2018.

Other Mayoral Races

Manchester is among three New Hampshire cities with a mayor-council form of government. The other two are Nashua and Keene.

All other cities (and several large towns) in New Hampshire have a council-manager form of government.

3. Your #FITN Fix:

Republicans Commit to N.H. Presidential Primary

Party leaders in four states—South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Kansas—have moved to cancel their Republican presidential primaries, which would eliminate an opportunity for President Donald Trump’s challengers to embarrass him on his way to the 2020 general election.

But party leaders say a cancellation won’t happen in New Hampshire, as Steve Peoples, Hunter Woodall, and Meg Kinnard reported last week for the Associated Press:

  • New Hampshire GOP Chairman Stephen Stepanek, who worked for the Trump campaign on the ground in the Granite State in 2016, told the AP he could “never conceive of the New Hampshire primary ever being canceled for any reason.”

  • The state’s national Republican committeeman, Steve Duprey, told the AP that New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary will never be canceled under any circumstances “whether there’s token opposition or a serious contest.”

At least three challengers have filed to run against Trump in the Republican primary: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who also served as a U.S. Representative; and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois.

In a joint op-ed published Friday by The Washington Post, Weld, Sanford, and Walsh criticized Trump and those in the GOP who would advocate for canceling primaries:

It would be a critical mistake to allow the Democratic Party to dominate the national conversation during primary and caucus season. Millions of voters looking for a conservative alternative to the status quo deserve a chance to hear alternate ideas aired on the national stage. Let us argue over the best way to maximize opportunities in our communities for everyday Americans while the Democrats debate the merits of government intervention. Let us spend the next six months attempting to draw new voters to our party instead of demanding fealty to a preordained choice. If we believe our party represents the best hope for the United States’ future, let us take our message to the public and prove we are right.

Sanford hasn’t ruled out the possibility of suing the GOP in his home state in hopes of forcing his name onto the primary ballot, as McClatchy’s Emma Dumain reported.

Democrats Host 3rd Debate as Field Stratifies

Ten candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination took the debate stage Thursday night for three hours in Houston, where they called for party unity and sparred over the differing details of their competing health care proposals.

Precisely what each candidate was aiming to accomplish depended on where they stood in the pack. The three leading the polls were largely competing among themselves, while the other seven on stage were looking to steal the spotlight, if only for a moment. (And don’t write off all nine contenders who didn’t qualify for this debate, at least not just yet.)

Here are some recaps worth your time:

Politico: ‘There Is No Longer a Front-Runner’

Politico Magazine asked 22 experts, insiders, activists and political professionals how the race shifted. The consensus: Julián Castro was too mean, and Andrew Yang was too gimmicky. A number of experts liked Kamala Harris’s direct engagement with Donald Trump, as well as Amy Klobuchar’s sharper elbows with the progressives in the field. And Beto O’Rourke’s coming for your AR-15, and several of our watchers said it’s about time.

Most of all, this seems to be a race where the rich get richer: Most of our experts seemed to think that Biden and Warren separated themselves further from the pack.

Danielle Kurtzleben for NPR: Democratic Debate Exposes Deep Divides Among Candidates Over Health Care

Polling shows that a public option is far more popular than single-payer health care. A July NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 90% of Democrats, as well as 70% of all adults, support a public option. Meanwhile, 64% of Democrats (and 41% of all adults) support "Medicare for All."

That's less support, but still a majority of Democrats support Sanders' single-payer plan, some of them passionately.

Perhaps with that in mind, even candidates who support other plans refrained from attacking the proposal—or its author—too hard.

Suzanne Gamboa for NBC News: Julián Castro accused Joe Biden of 'forgetting.' Did he go too far?

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked Biden, making many viewers wonder whether he was questioning the former vice president's mental acuity. “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?"

Following the debate, Biden's advisers hit hard on Castro's comments, saying he hadn’t learned the lessons of previous attacks on Biden—that they backfire. “It was a cheap shot and a question Castro should answer,” said Anita Dunn, a Biden adviser.

Eric Lach for The New Yorker: Where Was Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the Democratic Debate?

His résumé boasts some of America’s most exclusive institutions—Harvard, McKinsey, a Rhodes scholarship—where people impress and learn to impress. But many of his opponents came through the same élite system. Elizabeth Warren taught at Harvard. Cory Booker was a Rhodes Scholar. So what distinguishes the South Bend, Indiana, mayor? Is he offering something real? Or are people just impressed because he’s smart?

Matt Stevens for The New York Times: Andrew Yang’s Debate Pledge: He’ll Give 10 People $1,000 a Month. Is That Legal?

[U]nlike earlier in his campaign, when Mr. Yang paid what he calls “freedom dividends” out of his own pocket to three families, his advisers said the money for the latest round of payments would be funded by campaign donations, raising questions about whether such a giveaway violates federal election law.

Campaign finance experts said that while federal rules prohibit campaigns from giving people anything of value as an incentive to vote, Mr. Yang would not be breaking the law in that area if he did not ask for people’s votes in return.

Michael Luo for The New Yorker: Did Beto O’Rourke Just Change the Democratic Conversation on Guns at the Debate?

“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke said, finishing to cheers and applause from the audience.

It was a stirring moment, in a campaign that has been short on them. It may prove too late to resuscitate O’Rourke’s struggling campaign. (Before the debate was over, his campaign was selling T-shirts online for thirty dollars emblazoned with his memorable line.) Yet its significance could outlast O’Rourke.

Days until #fitn presidential primary: 148

Days until 2020 general election: 414

N.H. Dems Convention: 3 Takeaways

Saturday's big event drew thousands. Here's what you need to know about it.

Thousands attended the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s convention Saturday in Manchester, where party leaders aimed to build momentum with a series of fiery speeches.

Much of the energy revolved around the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, which is five months away. But other federal, state, and local races are wrapped up in the party’s priorities for 2020 and beyond.

Here are three key takeaways from the event:

1. Democrats Are Rallying Against Lewandowski’s Possible Senate Bid.

Those who delivered speeches from the podium Saturday inside the SNHU Arena frequently criticized President Donald Trump and Gov. Chris Sununu by name. No surprise there: both are prominent Republican incumbents seeking reelection.

More surprising was how often speakers uttered the name of Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who has signaled a strong desire to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next year—which would place him on the ballot as Sununu and Trump seek reelection.

“About three or four weeks ago, someone came to my office and said one of Trump’s crooked cronies was thinking about running for the United States Senate in New Hampshire, and my first question was, ‘Which crooked crony?’” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez during his speech.

“When I heard it was Corey Lewandowski—oh my goodness,” Perez added, accusing Lewandowski of “cashing in on the Trump presidency by selling access to the highest bidder.”

Lewandowski hasn’t formally declared his candidacy, but several other Republicans have, including retired brigadier general Donald Bolduc, attorney Andy Martin, retired Army Ranger and trial attorney Bryant "Corky" Messner, and former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, whose name drew boos from the convention crowd.

Shaheen said it doesn’t matter which candidate Republicans select to challenge her because all of them oppose the Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, the Voting Rights Act, and more. The only thing they stand for, she said, is the agenda of Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"That is not good for New Hampshire, and it's not good for America," Shaheen said.

The party even distributed mock business cards for Lewandowski describing him as a “shadow lobbyist” who lives in “The Washington Swamp.” The cards include a Russian email address and the URL for a full website the Democrats created to satirize him.

2. Democrats Are Headed for a Contested Gubernatorial Primary—Maybe.

There’s still just one Democrat officially running to challenge Sununu’s bid for a third two-year term as governor, but Saturday’s convention included speeches from two Democrats who were introduced as gubernatorial candidates.

State Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes declared his candidacy last week. Then he spoke Saturday about how his upbringing in a union family shaped his perspective and inspired his subsequent work on behalf of middle class families.

“We've got a governor who just doesn't get it,” Feltes said. “He doesn't get what working families are going through, and it shows."“

Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky hasn’t declared his candidacy. But he spoke Saturday about his lawyering on public school funding and how investments in education are vital to New Hampshire families.

Volinsky said he and his wife, along with an exploratory committee of more than 175 members, are still weighing whether he should jump into the race.

“We'll decide if we’re going to move from the exploratory phase to an actual run in the next six weeks,” Volinsky said.

If he were to join the race, Volinsky would face off with Feltes in the primary, on Sept. 8, 2020, about two months before the general election, on Nov. 3, 2020—giving the Democrats a brief window to pivot from intra-party competition to the main event with Sununu.

And there’s still nine months left for others to jump into the race. Those who may be considering a bid include former state Sen. Molly Kelly, who lost to Sununu in 2018, and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who lost to Kelly in the 2018 primary and is now working for the presidential campaign of entrepreneur Andrew Yang, as WMUR’s John DiStaso reported.

3. Democratic Presidential Campaigns Jump at Chance to Cross-Pollinate.

Polls suggest there are three frontrunners for the Democratic nomination: Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

But that doesn’t mean the other 16 candidates were wasting their time in Manchester.

While many delegates have already settled on their preferred candidates, others are still keeping their options open, selecting three to five favorites while they wait to see how the race progresses, said Kathleen O’Donnell of Keene, a delegate for Cheshire County, who said she favors Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

The fact is that at least 18 of the 19 presidential campaigns represented at Saturday’s convention won’t win the Democratic nomination. As candidates drop out, many of their supporters will flock to other Democrats, which is one reason why so many speeches appealed to party unity. Presidential hopefuls who are stuck in the single digits jumped at the opportunity to appeal to all of their opponents’ supporters at once. Being second or third on a voter’s list of favorite candidates is especially valuable in such a splintered field.

After all, a significant majority of Democratic voters who say they have a preferred candidate also say they feel excited about several of the candidates, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last month.

In one standout speech that drew applause throughout the arena, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said Democrats have to be careful.

“I don’t care who our nominee is, but we can’t tolerate Democrats who turn against other Democrats and try and tear us down,” Booker said. “This election is not about some purity test, that if you don’t mark every box correctly then you’re not a good Democrat. We need leaders who are not going to turn against each other but turn toward each other because that’s where our strength is.”

The sense of camaraderie on display at this year’s convention stood in stark contrast to 2016, when there was a clear division between the camp that supported Sanders and the camp that supported eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, O’Donnell said.

Ken Cohen of Kensington, a delegate for Rockingham County, similarly noted commonalities among the presidential candidates. All of them are decent people and invested in the party’s traditional principles, including fighting climate change, supporting labor unions, and making government work for the common good, he said.

Cohen had been waiting for the field to narrow before hitching himself to a single candidate. But that changed in recent weeks, when he saw Warren in person and decided she had won his support.

“My initial reservations with Warren focused around her wonky and professorial demeanor,” he said. “I felt she was very appealing to us New England intellectuals which would most likely fall flat with the general electorate.”

Now that he sees how engaging and likable Warren is with voters, Cohen said he’s confident her populist appeal will translate beyond the progressive wing of the Democratic party and lead to victory in the general election.

Quick note: Know someone who's into New Hampshire politics? Do me a favor and forward this newsletter to them. I'm just getting Granite Memo off the ground and could use your help to let others know. It's free to subscribe.

I'm a Portsmouth-based journalist keeping tabs not only on our first-in-the-nation primary but also on the other races, scandals, and stories that are sure to keep Granite State politics interesting even after the national spotlight moves on. I hope you'll join me. —Steven Porter

Coverage Worth Your Time

Trent Spiner and Holly Otterbein for Politico: “We asked 100 New Hampshire insiders about the Democratic field. Here’s who they favor.

Dozens of state representatives, party leaders, operatives and volunteers said they weren’t planning to vote for the former vice president in the nomination contest — and many publicly aired concerns about his age, energy and gender. […]

Elizabeth Warren led the way among the surveyed delegates who had made up their minds, followed by Bernie Sanders in second and Biden in third.

Ken Thomas and Jesse Naranjo for The Wall Street Journal: “In New Hampshire, Democrats Urge Activists to Pick a New Face

The former vice president, who has displayed a penchant for committing miscues on the campaign trail, referred to the president at one point as, “Donald Hump,” before correcting himself as the crowd laughed. “Freudian slip,” he said.

The convention in the nation’s first presidential primary state came five months before New Hampshire’s early-voting contest and as the field has begun to crystallize around the three leading contenders.

The others in the race fighting for a spot in that top tier of candidates argued that the primary is still a long way off and the party needed a fresh face—all without mentioning Mr. Biden by name.

Katie Glueck for The New York Times: “Elizabeth Warren Stands Out at New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention

The Massachusetts senator took the stage to a standing ovation that lasted around two minutes, and the thunderous applause that frequently interrupted her speech was amplified by the inflatable noisemakers that had been distributed to the crowd. “Win with Warren!” attendees yelled.

Annie Linskey and Chelsea Janes for The Washington Post: “Warren, Sanders draw enthusiastic responses as candidates make their cases at New Hampshire Democratic Party convention

While Sanders and Warren, who are the most liberal in the field, don’t lead in early polls, the overwhelming response suggested some blend of superior organization from the campaigns and untapped excitement from the most plugged-in voters and party activists who attended Saturday’s event. It also doesn’t hurt that both are from states that border New Hampshire.

Both are potent forces who are likely to continue to matter as the massive Democratic field narrows over the next few months.

Paul Steinhauser for Fox News: “Kamala Harris insists she’s still a ‘top tier’ 2020 contender; claims Trump has ‘debased’ the presidency

In late June, Harris saw her poll numbers surge after what was regarded as a strong performance in the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates in Miami, when she knocked former Vice President and 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden on his heels over his opposition to federally mandated school busing integration.

But Harris has seen a slight deterioration of her poll numbers in recent weeks. She currently registers in the upper single digits in most polling in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Did I leave out a story I should have included? Leave a comment or drop me a line:

How Candidates Used Their Podium Time

Each of the 19 presidential candidates were given about 10 minutes to address delegates and other attendees from the podium. Thanks to WMUR, there are clips of each speech on YouTube. Here they are in the order the candidates appeared:

  1. Former Vice President Joe Biden

  2. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey

  3. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

  4. Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro

  5. Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland

  6. Sen. Kamala Harris of California

  7. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

  8. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas

  9. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio

  10. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

  11. Businessman Tom Steyer

  12. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

  13. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado

  14. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

  15. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

  16. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

  17. Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania

  18. Author Marianne Williamson

  19. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

The only noteworthy Democratic presidential candidate who didn’t attend Saturday’s convention was Wayne Messam, a former football player and current mayor of Miramar, Florida. Messam’s campaign “appears to be in near-total disarray,” with staffers saying they haven’t been fully paid for their work or reimbursed for campaign expenses, according to a BuzzFeed News report published Friday.

—Granite Memo is published by Portsmouth-based journalist Steven Porter.

Trump in Manchester: 5 Things to Watch

The president's first official reelection campaign rally in New Hampshire has some layers. Let's unpack them.

As you’ve no doubt heard, President Trump will be in Manchester for a rally Thursday evening. The event marks his first official reelection campaign stop in New Hampshire. But, as you might imagine, the political implications of his visit are much broader.

Here are five things to keep an eye on as Trump takes the podium:

1. Lewandowski’s Senate Thirst

Trump fired his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, shortly after cinching the Republican nomination in 2016. But the two have remained close and are expected to be together in Manchester. That’s a big deal because Lewandowski has signaled a strong desire to run for U.S. Senate in 2020.

When asked whether he plans to announce his candidacy during Trump’s visit, Lewandowski kept coy, noting that “there’s a lot of time to make decisions about running,” as The Hill’s Max Greenwood reported. But he also hinted at a possible surprise: “Sometimes the president is unpredictable,” he said. “Having had the opportunity to serve next to him in several capacities, I’ll be prepared for any comments he makes.”

If the president were to offer an explicit sign of support for Lewandowski’s possible campaign, it wouldn’t be universally pleasant for the Granite State GOP. Some in the establishment—including Gov. Chris Sununu, former state Attorney General Tom Rath, and former Sen. Judd Gregg—are worried, as Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported:

Tensions over Lewandowski are spilling into the open, with the state GOP establishment in near open revolt over the Trump loyalist’s prospective campaign. Some are voicing concerns about his personal baggage, pointing to everything from his March 2016 physical run-in with then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields to his messy property dispute with a neighbor.

And with the party waging an already uphill effort to unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, [longtime GOP strategist Dave Carney] and others in the swing state worry that he would do little to help the party expand its base beyond the group of voters that Trump is already expected to attract.

Carney reportedly called Lewandowski “a political hack” and the idea of his candidacy a “joke.” But members of the Trump team disagree.

Lewandowsi wouldn’t be the first GOP candidate in the race for Shaheen’s seat. Retired brigadier general Donald Bolduc and former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien have already declared. And they could soon be joined in the race by Bryant “Corky” Messner, a trial lawyer and retired Army Ranger, as Paul Steinhauser reported for Seacoast Media Group.

Lewandowski has said he would prefer to run in an uncontested primary, but Bolduc told Steinhauser that’s not going to happen.

2. Presidential Primary Politicking

Trump is running in his own contested primary, with one challenger: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who campaigned in Hudson and Belmont last weekend even as his odds are looking pretty slim.

"My strategy is not a secret. It's to enlarge the electorate, not shrink it,” Weld told WMUR’s Mike Cronin. “So the more millennials that vote, the more women that vote, the more LGBT folks, environmentalists, the better for me."

In an email to supporters, Weld’s campaign said Trump’s decision to rally in New Hampshire “shows we’re clearly on his mind.” Polling conducted last month by the University of New Hampshire and CNN, however, suggests Trump is on track to beat Weld in the primary by a formidable 79-point margin. So, at this point, if the incumbent refers to his challenger as a threat, it’s almost certainly sarcasm.

Even so, Trump could seize an opportunity to weigh in on any of the more than two-dozen campaigns mobilizing in New Hampshire to replace him.

3. Electoral Loose Ends

The last time Trump stood in the SNHU Arena, where his rally is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., was the day before the general election in 2016. He ultimately lost the state to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by fewer than 2,800 votes, less than 0.4% of the state’s tally.

We don’t expect that’s going to happen again,” said Republican state Rep. Fred Doucette of Salem, who co-chaired Trump’s campaign in New Hampshire during the 2016 cycle, as the New Hampshire Union Leader’s Josie Albertson-Grove reported.

Trump is expected to highlight the promises he’s kept and signs of a strong economy, including the Granite State’s low unemployment rate. “We are confident that President Trump will win the states he won in 2016 and add even more to his column in 2020, New Hampshire included,” said campaign deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews, as The Eagle-Tribune’s Madeline Hughes reported.

Crowd size point of reference: The SNHU Arena’s seating capacity maxes out at about 11,770, according to the venue’s website.

4. Liberal Counter-Programming

There are pretty much always protesters following Trump around to his rallies. But with so many Democrats vying for the Granite State’s attention, Trump’s visit is sure to spark a volley of reactions from the Left.

Democrats have been holding news conferences all week to highlight what they say are “campaign promises Trump has not kept,” as the Union Leader reported. That’s a direct challenge to Trump’s expected message.

5. Any Rhetorical Shift

Odds are that Trump will reprise at least some of his typical rally rhetoric, which has been known to stoke anti-press, anti-immigrant, and even racist sentiments. But, in the wake of a hate-fueled mass shooting that left 22 dead in El Paso, Texas, some Granite State leaders are hoping Trump will tame his tongue.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig—who is facing a challenge from Republican candidate Victoria Sullivan—said she hopes Trump will use his platform to highlight areas where diverse people can work together toward a common cause.

“While in Manchester, I hope that the President takes the opportunity to demonstrate how he can be a collaborative partner and work with us to address challenges we all face instead of focusing on issues that continue to divide us,” Craig said, as the Union Leader’s Kevin Landrigan reported.

Others seem less optimistic. An editorial published earlier this week by The Concord Monitor accused Trump of exploiting the public’s fear, described him as “more illusionist than statesman,” and urged the public to question his fear-mongering showmanship:

Trump didn't create racism in this country, but he is the bellows on a glowing ember. He isn't the cause of the climate crisis, but he sows economic fear to assure inertia. He is not the shooter, but far too often he pushes the buttons that incite hatred. […]

He doesn't need the myths—an invasion by bad hombres at the southern border, an influx of terrorists masquerading as Syrian refugees or a House of Representatives controlled by women of color who hate America—to become fact. He only needs supporters to see the world as falsely as he does and to act in accordance with their fears.

By the way: Manchester’s police chief says his department won’t bill Trump’s campaign for any expenses associated with Thursday’s rally, as NHPR’s Sarah Gibson reported.

9 Candidates, 26 Events: This Week on the N.H. Campaign Trail

There will be nine presidential hopefuls, including the incumbent, in the Granite State this week. Here's when and where to see them.

Those of us keeping a close eye on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary are preparing for a busy week. Nine candidates are scheduled to attend at least 26 events in the state over the next seven days. A chronological list of those events is outlined below.

We’re about six months out from the February 11 primary, so if you like receiving this list—and other updates about all things #NHpolitics—be sure to sign up for future editions of Granite Memo.

Days until our #fitn primary: 184

Monday, August 12

  • Salem Chamber of Commerce Round Table with Rep. Seth Moulton on Monday, 8/12, at 12:00 PM. Venue: Searles School & Chapel in Windham. RSVP

  • Town Hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday, 8/12, at 5:00 PM. Venue: Wolfeboro Inn in Wolfeboro. RSVP

  • Town Hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday, 8/12, at 7:00 PM. Venue: North Conway Community Center in North Conway. RSVP

Tuesday, August 13

  • Breakfast and Town Hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, 8/13, at 10:00 AM. Venue: White Mountain Chalet in Berlin. RSVP

  • Ice Cream Social with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, 8/13, at 1:00 PM. Venue: Littleton Opera House in Littleton. RSVP

Wednesday, August 14

  • Town Hall with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday, 8/14, at 1:00 PM. Venue: The Toad Hill Farm in Franconia. RSVP

Thursday, August 15

  • Rally with President Donald Trump on Thursday, 8/15, at 7:00 PM. Venue: SNHU Arena in Manchester. RSVP

Friday, August 16

  • Civil Liberties and the Presidency with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Friday, 8/16, at 4:00 PM. Venue: Warren B. Rudman Center in Concord. RSVP

  • Newmarket Meet and Greet with former Rep. John Delaney on Friday, 8/16, at 6:00 PM. Venue: Crackskull's Coffee & Books in Newmarket. RSVP

  • A Fair Shot for Rochester with Gov. Steve Bullock on Friday, 8/16, at 6:30 PM. Venue: The Home of Mayor Caroline McCarley in Rochester. RSVP

  • Meet & Greet with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Friday, 8/16, at 6:30 PM. Venue: Plaistow Public Library in Plaistow. RSVP

Saturday, August 17

  • Nashua Canvass with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Saturday, 8/17, at 10:00 AM. Venue: in Nashua. RSVP

  • House Party with Sen. Cory Booker on Saturday, 8/17, at 10:30 AM. Venue: in Portsmouth. RSVP

  • A Fair Shot for Concord with Gov. Steve Bullock on Saturday, 8/17, at 11:00 AM. Hosts: Former Senate President Sylvia Larsen and Bob Larsen in Concord. RSVP

  • Hampton Democrats Community Picnic with Sen. Cory Booker on Saturday, 8/17, at 12:00 PM. Venue: The Home of Toni and Jim Trotzer in Hampton. TICKETS

  • Meet & Greet with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Saturday, 8/17, at 12:00 PM. Venue: Londonderry Democrats Office in Londonderry. RSVP

  • Weare BBQ with former Rep. John Delaney on Saturday, 8/17, at 1:00 PM. Venue: Moody Pond Marketplace in Weare. RSVP

  • Peaches and Politics with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Saturday, 8/17, at 1:00 PM. Venue: Miller Farm in New Durham. TICKETS

  • Concord Meet and Greet with former Rep. John Delaney on Saturday, 8/17, at 3:30 PM. Venue: West Street Ward House in Concord. RSVP

  • House Party with Sen. Cory Booker on Saturday, 8/17, at 4:00 PM. Venue: The Home of Gigi and Larry Disenhof in Salem. RSVP

  • Meet & Greet with Sen. Michael Bennet on Saturday, 8/17, at 4:30 PM. Venue: The Home of Gwen Friend in Nottingham. RSVP

  • Meet & Greet with Sen. Michael Bennet on Saturday, 8/17, at 6:00 PM. Venue: Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Milford. RSVP

  • Lebanon Meet and Greet with former Rep. John Delaney on Saturday, 8/17, at 6:00 PM. Venue: Upper Valley Senior Center in Lebanon. RSVP

  • House Party with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Saturday, 8/17, at 6:00 PM. Venue: The Home of Steve Marchand in North Hampton. RSVP

Sunday, August 18

  • Sunapee Brunch with former Rep. John Delaney on Sunday, 8/18, at 9:00 AM. Venue: Sunapee Library in Sunapee. RSVP

  • Summer Barbecue with Epping and Raymond Democrats with entrepreneur Andrew Yang on Sunday, 8/18, at 2:00 PM. Venue: White Gate Farm in Epping. TICKETS

Beyond This Week

Although not this week, there are a couple of bigger events on the horizon where we expect to see multiple presidential candidates in person:

  • The Economy, the Budget and You: Democratic Presidential Candidates Share Their Plans, on Thursday, 8/22, at 4:45 PM. Venue: New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown. RSVP

  • New Hampshire Democratic Party State Convention, with potentially all Democratic presidential hopefuls, on Saturday, 9/7, at 9:00 AM. Venue: SNHU Arena in Manchester. DETAILS

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