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On the trail: Sen. Harris plants 2020 flag in N.H. with staff hire

  • In this Jan. 21, 2019, photo, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to members of the media at her alma mater, Howard University in Washington. The 2020 presidential election already includes more than a half-dozen Democrats whose identities reflect the nation’s growing diversity, as well as embody the coalition that helped Barack Obama first seize the White House in 2008. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Manuel Balce Ceneta

  • ">

    Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks to members of the media at her alma mater, Howard University, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 in Washington, following her announcement earlier in the morning that she will run for president. Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump's nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. Vowing to "bring our voices together," Harris would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American if she succeeds. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) Manuel Balce Ceneta

  • FILE- In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listens as President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, answers her question during the third day of Kavanaugh's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees, entered the Democratic presidential race on Monday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) Jacquelyn Martin

For the Monitor
Published: 1/24/2019 4:54:23 PM

Sen. Kamala Harris has yet to visit New Hampshire, but her campaign has named a state director, making this the first state where it has its leadership in place.

The Harris campaign revealed Thursday that Craig Brown is coming on board as New Hampshire state director. Brown, a Manchester native,  most recently managed Joyce Craig’s 2017 Manchester mayoral campaign and  last year ran the campaign of former state Sen. Molly Kelly, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.

There have been questions and concerns since Harris declared her candidacy Monday regarding whether she would emphasize other early voting states at the expense of New Hampshire, which for a century has held the first primary along the road to the White House.

But the Harris campaign indicated that Brown’s hiring showed that the California Democrat will be taking New Hampshire seriously.

“Senator Harris is proud to be putting down our campaign’s roots in New Hampshire,” Harris campaign national press secretary Ian Sams told the Monitor.

Brown said he’s “excited to help introduce Sen. Harris to voters here in New Hampshire. ... She has a great opportunity here. I believe her message and story will resonate with voters.”

Harris – who grew up in Oakland, Calif., and is a daughter of parents from Jamaica and India – would be the first woman to win the White House and second African-American, if she succeeds.

Even before her formal launch in Oakland on Sunday, Harris on Friday is slated to head to South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in the primary and caucus calendar. And she’ll be in Iowa three days later. But there’s no word yet on travel to the Granite State.

South Carolina, where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate, is likely to figure heavily into Harris’s prospects. Harris campaigned in support of fellow Democrats in South Carolina in last year’s midterm elections. She also made stops in Iowa – which votes first in the race for the White House – and Nevada – which holds the first western contest.

Kathy Sullivan, the veteran Democratic National Committee member from the Granite State, said the move by Harris “shows that she’s taking New Hampshire very seriously.”

Bloomberg’s coming to Concord

Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg – who’s seriously mulling a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination – returns to New Hampshire next week.

The billionaire media mogul and gun safety and environmental activist will speak about climate change Tuesday morning at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. In the afternoon, Bloomberg will tour the W.H. Bagwell textile pin manufacturing firm in Nashua before teaming up with Democratic National Committeeman Bill Shaheen for a walking tour of downtown Dover.

Bloomberg comes to Concord in the evening, where he’ll be the guest of honor at a house party at the home of longtime activists Lew Feldstein and Mary McGowan.

Bloomberg was last in New Hampshire in October for a 2018 election get-out-the-vote effort organized by Moms Demand Action, an arm of Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety organization set up after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

37-year old longshot calls for ‘new generation’ to lead

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg says “we need a new generation of leadership right now.”

The 37-year old Democrat and veteran of the War in Afghanistan was interviewed by the Monitor and on Wednesday, soon after he launched a presidential exploratory committee.

“I belong to the millennial generation, the generation that provided most of the people who fought in the wars after 9/11, including me as an Afghanistan veteran,” he said. “But also the generation that’s going to be picking up the bill for some of the decisions that are being made in Washington and I think we need a different kind of outlook.”

Asked about his longshot bid for the White House, Buttigieg said Democratic primary voters are “looking for people who bring good ideas and is less interested in how familiar of a face you are or how famous you are on day one or how much you’re aligned with the establishment.”

Buttigieg – who said he’ll be in New Hampshire “very soon” – isn’t the only mayor or former mayor running for president.

Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro – who went on to serve as U.S. Housing secretary in the Obama administration – declared his candidacy earlier this month. And besides Bloomberg, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu are considering White House bids.

The conventional wisdom is that you can’t go from city hall to the White House. But Buttigieg disagrees.

“I’m just puzzled by the idea that the United States Congress automatically ought to be considered a better place or a higher realm of responsibility than being on the front lines as a city executive,” he said. “When you’re a mayor, you’re responsible for everything, especially in this strong mayor’s system where I serve in Indiana.”

Looming battle for Volinsky’s Executive Council seat

As the Monitor reported on Wednesday, Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky is beginning to gear up for a possible 2020 run for governor.

If he does launch a gubernatorial campaign, at least two Democrats may make bids to succeed Volinsky in representing District Two, which stretches from the Vermont border east to the state’s border with Maine.

Concord attorney and Democratic activist Jay Surdukowski and Somersworth small business owner and Democratic activist Emmett Soldati tell the Monitor they’re interested in running for the council if the seat opens up.

“I am strongly considering running for the Executive Council. Encouragement has been unanimous and swift these last 24 hours. I mostly grew up in three of the cities in the District: Somersworth, Dover and Concord and I know this massive District well from Keene to the Maine border,” Surdukowski said in an interview.

The 39-year old Surdukowski served as legal counsel in former governor Maggie Hassan’s 2014 re-election campaign and in the same position in then-Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern’s 2016 gubernatorial campaign.

“As someone who tries to take a more diplomatic and bipartisan tack both in my legal and political life, I’d aspire to conduct Council business in the mold of a John Lynch, a former governor I greatly admired for his collegiality and good management of our State,” Surdukowski said.

Soldati, 30, is the owner of Teatotaller, a popular café in downtown Somersworth. He’s also the son of a former Somersworth mayor and longtime trial lawyer and Strafford County attorney, who last year ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in the state’s 1st Congressional District.

Soldati said, “I think it would be good to have a younger perspective on the Executive Council. It would be good to have the Tri-Cities (Dover, Rochester and Somersworth) represented in Concord in the executive branch. I think there’s a lot that I in my perspective and my career here in Somersworth, New Hampshire, could serve the Executive Council well.”

Both Volinsky and his predecessor Van Ostern are Concord residents. But Soldati said it would be refreshing for the next counselor to come from the edges of the district, arguing that people along the eastern and western borders feel there’s too much focus “on the central corridor.”

“I know what it’s like on the outside and I’m going to look for the issues, the voices, the needs of the folks anywhere on the periphery,” he touted. “And that’s communities that are underrepresented in the state house, in the executive branch, whether it’s Unity, Walpole, Henniker, or Somersworth, Dover, Rochester.”

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