Concord attorney Dan Feltes releases list of supporters for his state Senate bid

Last modified: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Concord attorney Dan Feltes has released a list of more than 100 people, including Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and several other elected officials, who have publicly endorsed him as the Democratic candidate for state Senate.

State Sen. Sylvia Larsen, a Concord Democrat, announced earlier this month she would not seek re-election to the seat she has held since 1994. Feltes is one of two Democrats who will face off to succeed her in District 15, which includes Concord, Hopkinton, Warner and Henniker. His challenger in the Sept. 9 primary is school board member Kass Ardinger; Warner Republican Lydia Harman also filed to be on the ballot in the November general election.

Feltes, who resigned from his position at New Hampshire Legal Assistance to run for this seat, released the list of endorsements yesterday.

“I’ve been told that because I have a wider array of experience helping low- to middle-income persons and families, and that (because) they know I will work hard and advocate tirelessly for all citizens of this district, that that’s a major driver for the support,” he said.

In an email, Ardinger said connecting with as many voters as possible is important to her.

“I will be coming out with a list of my supporters in due time,” she said. “I have been busy these last few weeks knocking on doors and talking with many voters. I have had a very positive response from the many people who know about my work on the Concord School Board and are excited and supportive of my campaign for the (state) Senate.”

Her own list of supporters, however, would include school board President Clint Cogswell, who wrote a letter to the editor in yesterday’s Monitor to endorse Ardinger, as well as Larsen herself. The outgoing senator backed Ardinger at a fundraiser for Senate Democrats within hours of announcing her own retirement, and yesterday she called Ardinger “a stand-out candidate.”

“I, in fact, encouraged Kass Ardinger to run,” Larsen said. “I felt she was a qualified candidate, having run already in three citywide elections, having led the city into new schools without a tax increase and under budget.”

Several former and current elected officials have thrown their weight behind Feltes, including former U.S. representative Paul Hodes, former District 15 state senator Mary Louise Hancock and Van Ostern. Van Ostern wrote an email earlier this week to support Feltes and ask for donations to his campaign.

“I wanted to let you know that my wife Kristyn and I are supporting Dan from day one in this race, because we know that he will work tirelessly every day on behalf of every citizen in this district – and because we know he will be a champion for smart, progressive policies that make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Van Ostern wrote.

Rep. Gary Richardson of Hopkinton also praised Feltes, citing his work for New Hampshire Legal Assistance. He appears on the list alongside Rep. Jim MacKay of Concord and a handful of other House Democrats.

“I think it’s really important, where we’re losing Sylvia Larsen with her legislative experience, (that) we have somebody that at least has familiarity with the Legislature, who’s been over there and testified a lot and knows how the system works,” Richardson said.

Richardson said he believes Feltes would be a strong supporter of education and social services. From Hopkinton, board of selectmen members Ken Traum and Sara Persechino have also endorsed Feltes.

“I don’t think the issues are a whole lot different for Concord than they are for Hopkinton,” Richardson said.

The list also includes three members of the Concord City Council: at-large Councilor Fred Keach, Ward 4 Councilor Byron Champlin and Ward 5 Councilor Rob Werner.

“I’ve just always been impressed by his work ethic and his dedication to social causes,” Keach said of Feltes. “He’s one of these guys that is a really humble guy, but very, very smart, very capable.”

Also listed are two Concord attorneys – Andru Volinsky and Jay Surdukowski – who had both considered entering the race themselves.

State Rep. Steve Shurtleff, a Penacook Democrat and the House majority leader, said he probably won’t be active in either campaign. “I’m concentrating more on getting Democrats elected to the House,” he said.

But when well-known members of the community are included on a list of endorsements, Shurtleff said those names won’t go unnoticed by voters.

“I do think that does have some impact on voters,” he said. “I think Dan, to have Colin Van Ostern come out and endorse him, was a major endorsement.”

The campaign is still in its early stages, Shurtleff said, but these endorsements do carry weight with voters in Concord.

“As they say, you can judge a person by the company they keep,” Shurtleff said.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)