“Wait, there’s voting tomorrow?” Questioned one New Hampshire resident after another when contacted in a phone banking session on September 12th, the day before the gubernatorial primary in which residents of New Hampshire would elect their candidates for Governor. “I don’t even know the candidates.” Replied one, “It doesn’t really affect me personally.” Said another, “Please stop calling me.” pleaded many.
With the November 8th election quickly approaching, it’s safe to say that most people know about the two candidates they have to choose from for president. With constant media coverage detailing every twist and turn of the presidential election, it’s more than easy to forget about New Hampshire’s gubernatorial race. A race in which only a small fraction of the state knows the potential candidates, and even a smaller fraction actually votes in the primaries. This is unfortunate to say the least, even distressing, because the New Hampshire gubernatorial race is one of the most important elections in America.
“You can register at the polls, there are no lines and-” Local activist Becky Wasserman chirped into the phone, stopped abruptly by a less than concerned voter who curtly requested to be taken off of whatever list she was on. This was a common response from many people that day, many people who didn’t know about the election had decided they did not care about the election. Even in our own Oyster River High School, many 18 year-old students that we’re excited to be able to vote, bypassed that right on September 12th simply because they didn’t know the names of the candidates or how to register.
September 11th, the day before the New Hampshire gubernatorial primary, and people had no idea. New Hampshire, a state with a population of almost two million, and only about 180,000 voted on September 12th. This may not seem like a big deal, many people wait for the November 8th election and vote for the party of their choice, but hardly know the majority of the policies of the person they’re voting for, which begs the question; who will your governor be?
Republican candidate Chris Sununu:
42 year-old Chris Sununu won the primary election by just 804 votes, beating out Frank Edelblut and Ted Gatsas. Sununu, son of the 75th New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu, graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998 with a degree in civil and environmental technology. He is pro-life, but has voted both for and against funding planned parenthood in the past year. If elected, Sununu will work towards repealing and replacing Obamacare, and reducing the Business Enterprise Tax on New Hampshire businesses to allow more room for growth. Sununu is a climate change denier, and as an Executive Counselor of New Hampshire has opposed several renewable energy projects.
Democratic Candidate Colin Van Ostern:
Colin Van Ostern is a 37 year old who moved to New Hampshire for a job in the year 2000 and never left. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at The George Washington University in 2000, and went on to earn his Master’s degree at Dartmouth College in 2009. Van Ostern is a strong advocate for clean energy in New Hampshire, and as an executive councillor has voted in support of multiple clean energy projects. He is in favor of stricter gun control by way of comprehensive background checks and other “common-sense” prevention measures. He is an Obamacare supporter and will work to ensure that the use of medical marijuana is regulated effectively in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire is a swing state, which means that if a governor is not running for re-election, then it’s really up in the air as to which party, republican or democrat, will win the position. Lisa Demaine, an activist and student of the University of New Hampshire majoring in Environmental Science, explained why many people may not have voted in the Gubernatorial primary, “I think a lot people didn’t know what they were voting for on September 12th, let alone who,” She said, “New Hampshire isn’t one of those states that has a few largely democratic cities but has a majority of red voters, it really is up in the air for us, it can go either way and that’s why it is so important for people here to vote.” Demaine is an Organizer for the climate action group 350 New Hampshire and has met most of the candidates for governor and president in 2016. “The reason so many people skipped out on voting on the September 12th primary is because it was barely covered at all by the media, unlike the presidential election. The things people see that influence their voting are almost all on their televisions or their computers.”
The Governor of New Hampshire has the power to decide whether to continue to repeal the death penalty, expand Medicaid, and even legalize marijuana. The next governor of New Hampshire will be one of the most important and influential voices in the 2016 and the 2020 presidential race, and will be on the fast track to become senator if they choose to run for that position. If you are old enough to vote, it is your duty to do so not only to represent the voice of the people in your state and country, but to support those around you that do not have that voice. New Hampshire citizens cannot be accurately represented unless they vote and know who they’re voting for.
Now get to the polls!
Written by Lily Mangan