Replacement for Carol Shea Porter will be a first for N.H.

  • Republican hopeful for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District Eddie Edwards speaks during a debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, ahead of next week's primary. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Chis Pappas is joined by former Governor John Lynch as he speaks to customers at MaryAnn's Diner in Derry. Paul Steinhauser

Associated Press
Published: 9/11/2018 10:53:03 PM

It’s looking to be a first for New Hampshire no matter who wins the race to replace Carol Shea-Porter in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Manchester Democrat Chris Pappas beat out a field of 11 candidates – including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s son Levi – and would be the first openly gay lawmaker from New Hampshire to serve in Congress.

On the other side of the ticket, Dover Republican Eddie Edwards edged out state Sen. Andy Sanborn. If elected, Edwards would be the first African American to represent the state on Capitol Hill.

Pappas told supporters Tuesday evening his campaign will be about decency, unity and progress. He described meeting an LGBTQ student in Manchester who said she was unsure of her place in the community.

“She needs a role model and a champion, too, and I hope this historic victory tonight has some small impact in making her understand this fact: You, too, are welcome here, and regardless of who you are or who you love, the sky’s the limit,” he said.

Pappas was expected to finish with about 44 percent of the vote. The next closest candidate, former Obama administration official Maura Sullivan, was expected to finish with less than 30 percent of the vote. Sanders finished at the back of the pack with about 2 percent.

Sanders frequently hammered his opponents for not supporting a Medicare for all, single-payer health care system. He said he was counting on that issue driving voters to the polls.

The Republican race was even more acrimonious as Edwards, who received the backing of President Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, sought to make the race about character and integrity, and said he’d refuse to support Sanborn as the nominee. Sanborn, a four-term senator from Bedford, acknowledged making a sexual “joke” to a State House intern in 2013 but said a recent investigation into the matter was politically motivated.

Sanborn congratulated Edwards for a “well fought” campaign.

“As I promised, I will do everything in my power to support our Republican nominee and I look forward to finally sending someone to Washington that we know will represent our shared values far better than any Democrat could.”

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