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September 13 primary preview: Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island
On to the general election!
2022’s primary season draws to a close on Tuesday, so after this post all of Hill Heat’s remaining election coverage this year will focus on the general elections for House/Senate, statewide offices, climate-related ballot initiatives, and down-ballot Green New Deal candidacies.
First, a quick summary of results from the September 6 primaries in Massachusetts: Attorney General Maura Healey, whose #ExxonKnew litigation remains ongoing, clinched the Democratic nomination for governor, and will be the heavy favorite against former state legislator and Trumpist Geoff Diehl. Healey is expected to restore the Bay State to D trifecta status after eight years of “deep misgivings” from Republican governor Charlie Baker. Unfortunately, former Tea Party magazine contributor Diana Dizoglio won the Democratic primary for Auditor, edging out Chris Dempsey, who had many novel plans for how to integrate climate into the job. Elsewhere, more conservative Democrats won many of the primaries for various state legislative and prosecutor offices, including in the 6th Essex state house race, where charter school ally Priscila Sousa is set to replace newly installed Energy Department Grid Deployment Office director Maria Robinson. Progressives did notch some wins in 7th Essex, where 350 MA-backed Manny Cruz won; in 11th Plymouth, where Brockton Councilmember Rita Mendes picked up an open seat; and in the 1st Worcester senate district, where Robyn Kennedy beat conservative Worcester mayor Joe Petty.
Statewide: Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Kathy Jennings, who has sued thirty fossil fuel companies for damages in causing climate change, does not have a primary opponent in her campaign for another term. Incumbent Democratic Treasurer Colleen Davis is also running in an uncontested primary. After being convicted of misconduct in a scandal involving hiring her daughter to do state work, incumbent Auditor Kathy MacGuineas lost support from the state party establishment, which has lined up behind accountant Lydia York.
HD-32: In 2018, Kerri Evelyn Harris ran a surprisingly strong upstart primary challenge to Senate Environment Chair Tom Carper, a Keystone XL supporter last seen intending to respect the agreement to gut NEPA. Harris is positioned to win an uncontested primary for the Dover-based 32nd state house district.
NH-Sen: Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan is expected to face a tough re-election contest. Establishment Republicans are spending heavily to ensure that her opponent is state senate president Chuck Morse, while Democratic Super PACs are trying to boost Army brigadier general Don Bolduc. Republican governor Chris Sununu has condemned Bolduc as a “conspiracy-theorist extremist,” while Bolduc has accused Sununu of being a “communist sympathizer.” However, Sununu, who the NYT calls a “popular moderate,” has also made it perfectly clear that he will support Bolduc in the general election should he win on Tuesday, as polls indicate he likely will.
NH-01: Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas is up for re-election in the state’s more conservative R+1 southern congressional district. The primary to face Pappas in the general is between former Trump State Department staffer Matt Mowers, who is endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and 25-year-old Trump comms team member Karoline Leavitt, who has support from the congressional QAnon caucus and is already promising to impeach President Biden.
NH-02: At D+2, New Hampshire’s northern congressional district is still competitive in tough years, though Rep. Ann Kuster has held on to this seat since 2012. Democrats are trying to pick their opponent here too, and have calculated that Kuster would have an easier time defeating ultraconservative Hillsborough County Treasurer Bob Burns than she would Keene Mayor George Hansen, reportedly a “pro-choice” Republican who is an “advocate of fighting climate change.”
RI-Gov: Incumbent governor Dan McKee is trying to win election to his first full term after ascending to this position when Biden named Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary. Things have gotten quite contentious in the primary, where secretary of state Nellie Gorbea is trying to pin “pay to play” allegations on McKee, and CVS executive Helena Foulkes has spent substantial amounts of her own money attacking both McKee and Gorbea. Meanwhile, McKee has sought to highlight Foulkes’ role in fueling the opioid crisis while at CVS. McKee has most major labor unions’ support, while Gorbea has endorsements from teachers unions and from Clean Water Action. Former secretary of state Matt Brown is also running, and has attempted to brand his campaign as part of a national movement for political cooperatives that can take over state parties and build support for a Green New Deal, but he hasn’t gained much traction in the race. He also faces accusations of deceiving the public and accepting donations from fossil fuel interests.
RI-Treasurer: Incumbent treasurer Seth Magaziner has gradually charted a course for the state’s investment portfolio to be divested from fossil fuels by 2030. Magaziner was briefly running for governor, but decided to run for Congress instead after Rep. Jim Langevin announced his retirement. In the open seat primary to replace Magaziner, the Rhode Island Democratic Party endorsement went to former Central Falls mayor James Diossa. In addition to restoring Central Falls from dire fiscal conditions, Diossa has boasted of opting the city into community choice aggregation, and promises to expand funding for Rhode Island’s Infrastructure Bank (RIIB). (The RIIB is one of more than a dozen “green banks” primed for expansion following the adoption of the Inflation Reduction Act.) Diossa is endorsed by the Sierra Club.
Diossa’s opponent Stefan Pryor also focuses on investments through the RIIB as one of his priorities for addressing climate change as treasurer. Pryor counts serving as “a champion for Rhode Island’s 400 MW Revolution Wind project” among his accomplishments as Raimondo’s pick to lead the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. Pryor was also charged with leading the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation through the construction of a memorial to the World Trade Center, and went on to serve as deputy mayor for economic development in Newark, NJ, which is presumably how he gained an endorsement from Sen. Cory Booker.
RI-02: In the primary to replace the retiring Langevin, Magaziner leads the field in fundraising, name recognition, union support, and endorsements from establishment figures ranging from LCV to Langevin, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and former Republican Jake Auchincloss. The clear climate hawk in the race is Green New Deal champion David Segal, a former Providence city councilmember and state legislator turned “populist coalition builder” who has led successful anti-imperialist campaigns for peace in Yemen and digital privacy, and has served as a thought leader in the race, especially on antitrust. Segal has been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Bill McKibben, as well as Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, and Jane Fonda’s Climate PAC. Also running are former Obama administration staffer Sarah Morgenthau, small business consultant Joy Fox, and Refugee Dream Center founder Omar Bah.