Jill Biden Offers Support to Hassan, Other Democrats Seeking Election at Stop in State


First lady Jill Biden (left) offered support to Sen. Maggie Hassan (right), D-New Hampshire, and other Democrats seeking election this year in a stop at the New Hampshire Democratic Coordinated Campaign field office in Portsmouth Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

Steven Porter, GSNC

PORTSMOUTH — With 10 days left until the election, first lady Jill Biden swung through the state Saturday to stump for Democrats up and down the Nov. 8 ballot, including Sen. Maggie Hassan and other incumbents locked in tight contests

Biden met with candidates and supporters late Saturday afternoon at the Democratic Coordinated Campaign field office in Portsmouth, where she said the work that volunteers put into these final days of the campaign may determine the outcome. 

“Every election is important, but we know that in the midterms especially, it could come down to just a handful of votes,” Biden said. 

That’s why the work Democratic volunteers put into these final days of the campaign to get out the vote is so important, she said. 

Biden commented on several races but emphasized the U.S. Senate race. The choice between Hassan and her Republican challenger, Don Bolduc, a retired Army general, couldn’t be any more stark, she said. 

Hassan, who stood next to Biden as she spoke, called her opponent the most extreme candidate ever nominated for U.S. Senate in modern New Hampshire history. She said he has denied the results of the 2020 presidential election and made other unfounded claims about election integrity. 

Hassan, 64, also alleged that Bolduc, 60, would vote in favor of a nationwide abortion ban — a claim that Bolduc has repeatedly denied. 

Republicans: Dems ‘lockstep’ with Joe Biden

Biden touted what Democrats have accomplished in the past two years with her husband, President Joe Biden, in the White House. Republicans, meanwhile, said that record of collaboration adds to the reasons why New Hampshire voters shouldn’t reelect the Democratic incumbents, who are clearly “lockstep” with this administration. 

“We welcome any chance for Senator Hassan to remind the voters of her close ties with President Biden and his administration, including his soft-on-crime policies, out-of-control spending, and open border policies,” said Bolduc campaign spokeswoman Kate Constantini. “National Democrats are pulling out all the stops to make sure party line voter Maggie Hassan stays in Washington D.C.”

Senator Maggie Hassan

Over the summer, a poll showed the president’s favorability rating in New Hampshire hit an all-time low. As the election season heated up this fall, some Democrats in the state kept a bit of distance between themselves and the president. But the first lady has stepped in on the campaign trail to help Democratic candidates who want a boost without all the baggage that could come with an appearance alongside the president himself. (The president visited Portsmouth in April to tout the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law he signed in November.) 

Bolduc, who lost the GOP primary two years ago, has been building his name recognition since then and held more than 60 town halls since. Analyst ratings suggest the U.S. Senate race “tilts” or “leans” in Hassan’s favor, but recent polls suggest the outcome is anything but certain. One poll showed Hassan and Bolduc tied at 45% apiece. 

Pappas: Ignore the polls

Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas, 42, who’s locked in a tight race of his own against Republican challenger Karoline Leavitt, 25, told supporters during Biden’s visit Saturday that they should ignore the polls. 

The only thing that matters between now and Election Day is whether Democrats successfully get out the vote, he said. 

Pappas said democracy itself is at stake in this election, calling his opponent “an election denier” who is more interested in being on stage than solving problems. 

“She thinks politics is a performance, and I think it’s an opportunity to work together and get things done,” he said. 

Rep. Chris Pappas

During a press call Saturday morning, Leavitt said Biden’s visit highlights the fact that Pappas has been a tool for the Democratic establishment, “pushing their far-left agenda.” She claimed Pappas and the Democrats share blame for rising energy costs and concerns over crime. 

“We literally cannot afford two more years of Chris Pappas being in office,” she said. 

Some analysts rank the contest between Pappas and Leavitt as slightly in favor of Pappas, but others see a “toss-up” and one even sees Leavitt as favored to win. 

During her visit, Biden said she was also supporting Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dr. Tom Sherman in his contest against Republican incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu, and she was supporting Rep. Annie Kuster, who’s up against Republican challenger Robert Burns. 

Steven Porter is the founding editor of Granite Memo.

This article is being shared by The Granite State News Collaborative, as part of its race and equity initiative. It was edited by Seacoast Media, a partner in the collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.