Potential 2020 presidential candidate visits New Hampshire

Eric Holder, former U.S. attorney general, signs autographs following the Eggs & Issues event last week.

GOFFSTOWN – Eric Holder told an audience at Saint Anselm College Friday he may or may not run for president in 2020, but his main goal for now is to battle gerrymandering.

Holder served as the 82nd U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015 in the administration of President Barack Obama. He was the first African-American to hold the


Now, as head of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, he is urging people to get involved.

“I think our democracy is under attack,” he told an audience of business leaders

during a Politics & Eggs breakfast on Friday.

Gerrymandering – the drawing of district maps to benefit one party – is real and destructive, he said. It’s why no one wants to work together in Congress or state legislatures anymore, he said. It’s why compromising with colleagues is a thing of the past – and why Republican lawmakers are drifting to the political far-right, he said.

For example, Holder believes the vast majority of Americans favor expanding background checks for gun purchases, but the chance of Congress passing a bill “are slim to none.” It’s also how “kind of crazy laws” impacting reproductive rights get passed, he said.

Holder said Republicans cling to their extreme positions for fear getting “primaried.” Losing primary elections in districts that were carefully drawn to favor the GOP, he said.

Gerrymandering that favors Democrats is an equally bad thing, Holder acknowledged.

“General elections should matter,” he said.

“It’s almost as if certain politicians are afraid of the people they represent.”

“This country is great … and it could be better,” Holder said, if “we address, honestly, our problems – and they are all solvable. But first we have to try to raise the consciousness of people … “make people understand they have to get involved.”

The college’s Institute of Politics and the nonpartisan New England Council began Politics & Eggs in 1996 as a forum for business leaders to hear from presidential candidates as they visit the Granite State to campaign and build early support. It is known for attracting potential White House candidates and political analysts before New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary.

This spring, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Democrat Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland; and conservative columnist Bill Kristol have been featured speakers.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@nashua