On the Trail: Dan Feltes opens up about his political future

  • Dan Feltes

For the Monitor
Published: 4/22/2021 2:47:45 PM

Former New Hampshire Senate majority leader and 2020 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Feltes isn’t ruling out another gubernatorial run.

In his first interview regarding his political future since the November election, Feltes told the Monitor that he and his wife Erin “have no intention right now of putting my name on the ballot in 2022.”

Notice the words “right now.”

The start of the next gubernatorial campaign is still months away, as is any announcement by three-term GOP Gov. Chris Sununu on whether he’ll run for re-election, launch a Republican challenge against former governor and Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, or return to the private sector.

Feltes, the three-term state senator from Concord who served as the chamber’s majority leader after the Democrats regained the majority in the 2018 elections, was soundly defeated by the popular Sununu last November.

Opening up about his defeat by a nearly two-to-one margin, Feltes said the coronavirus pandemic changed the race.

“We had a path prior to COVID, but after COVID hit, the governor’s approval went up to around 80% and we couldn’t really campaign,” Feltes said.

“Heck, Tom Brady wouldn’t have won that one,” he added as he noted the immense challenge he faced in taking on Sununu amid the pandemic, which gave governors across the country outsized attention as they held weekly, sometimes daily televised press conferences announcing waves of federal spending to assist businesses and workers.

Despite the outcome, there were some bright spots.

Thanks to a broad fundraising base, Feltes brought in nearly $1.7 million during his gubernatorial campaign, surpassing the haul of 2018 Democratic nominee and former state Sen. Molly Kelly.

Now, Feltes is on the political sidelines for the first time in years.

“It’s tough to watch the state, after a lot of bipartisan progress in the three terms I served in the state Senate and as majority leader, backslide on everything from mental health care and reproductive health care, to education funding and property tax relief, to clean energy jobs, to opportunities for working families,” Feltes said.

Feltes remains active by helping fellow Democrats. He’s taking part in a canvass kickoff on Saturday for Muriel Hall, who’s running in the upcoming special state representative election in Bow and Dunbarton.

“This is a critical moment in our state and nation’s history and it’s important to support good people who are stepping up to serve,” Feltes said.

Vice president coming to New Hampshire

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to New Hampshire on Friday, with stops in Concord and Plymouth, as she highlights President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure and jobs proposal.

A spokesperson for the vice president tweeted that Harris will spotlight “how the American Jobs Plan will expand broadband coverage and workforce development.”

The trip will be the vice president’s latest – she was in North Carolina on Monday – as the White House begins its full-court press to push the package, a top Biden administration priority, through Congress.

The stop in Concord is scheduled to take place at the IBEW union headquarters near the airport.

“We are thrilled to welcome Vice President Harris to New Hampshire,” longtime state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley wrote in a statement. “Granite Staters are already seeing the positive impacts of the Biden-Harris administration.”

The trip to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state is the first for Harris since September 2019, when the then-senator from California made a two-day swing through New Hampshire during her unsuccessful campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

The trip by Harris is the second by a high-profile member of the Biden administration to the Granite State in the past month. First Lady Jill Biden visited the Christa McAuliffe elementary school in Concord in March, focusing on safely reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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