Keep the progress going
Turning 70 last month gives me a valuable vantage point from which to see the long game. To assess where we’ve come, where we are, and where we are going as a state Democratic Party.
Over the past forty years, New Hampshire has transformed from a permanent rock solid Republican state in the 1980s and mid-90s to a very competitive battleground state that in the past ten years has celebrated historic victories for Democrats in every election. We have to stay on course.
From 1982-1996, New Hampshire Democrats didn’t win a single state wide office – seven elections in a row with not one victory. In the 1980s there were an average of 128 Democrats in the NH House, in the 1990s it was 139, in the 2000s it rose to 168 and in the past ten years there has been 196 – this is astonishing. We have gone from being relegated to minority status for 132 straight years, to winning the majority four times out of the last eight elections. We are clearly heading in the right direction.
While it is true that in the past 50 years anytime a governor seeks reelection he or she wins by more than 66% of the vote, along with majorities on the executive council, state senate, and house, NH Democrats significantly bucked the wipe out that historically occurred. The previous three times a Republican governor was reelected with greater than 66% of the vote the NH House fell to an average of 113. We currently have 187 – the largest minority caucus on record. This is substantial progress for New Hampshire Democrats. Keep in mind the Republicans did their best in 2011 to gerrymander Democrats into a permanent minority. Despite the gerrymandering – we have never won more Democrats to the executive council, senate and house in a ten year period in history.
In a year when not a single incumbent governor of either party in any state was defeated. Governors of both parties received high marks for their very public leadership during COVID in comparison to the deadly inaction by Donald Trump. It was simply an impossible task to defeat Chris Sununu. But that didn’t stop the New Hampshire Democratic Party from investing over $1.5 million supporting our gubernatorial nominee – the most ever. The party’s focus on the other State House races was equally as impressive – spending over one million for the executive council, senate, and house candidates as well.
If not for those investments and the year round organizing of the grassroots by the party, there is no doubt that Sununu would have done even better and our members would be even fewer on the council, senate and house.
Let’s keep the progress going and keep our battle tested party leadership on the job.