New Hampshire Democrat Pappas wins 3rd term to Congress
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Democrat Chris Pappas has won his third term to Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District.
Pappas, 42, defeated Republican challenger Karoline Leavitt on Tuesday, stopping short her bid to become the youngest woman elected to Congress at age 25.
Pappas, who’s helped run his family’s restaurant in Manchester and was part of a state council that approves spending contracts, championed his support of the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act, which requires Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug companies.
“I certainly wish tonight’s results came in a little bit differently,” Leavitt said in a concession speech in front of supporters. “I’m nevertheless still humbled by the outpouring of support that we received across every single city and town and more.”
The two candidates offered contrasting positions on a wide range of issues, including the results of the 2020 presidential election, protecting Social Security and stopping inflation.
The winner in New Hampshire’s other congressional race, the 2st District between Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster and Republican Robert Burns, hasn’t been determined yet. Kuster told supporters in Concord that patience is needed as election workers do their jobs.
“I hope you have plenty of pizza and plenty of coffee,” she said.
In his victory speech to campaign supporters Tuesday night, Pappas said “We know this campaign was a tough fight. But it was always about the people of New Hampshire and putting them first.”
Pappas said he respected Leavitt’s campaign, adding, “we should all be grateful for those who step up to run for office.”
Before Pappas won the open site in 2018, the 1st District switched between the parties five times in seven elections.
In his campaign, Pappas emphasized how he helped secure a record amount of federal funding for the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program. He also focused on bills to help veterans and increase penalties against trafficking fentanyl.
Leavitt, who worked in the White House press office under former President Donald Trump and was communications director for Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, advocated strengthening parental rights in schools and increasing domestic energy production.
Leavitt said she believed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Pappas said she “continues to double-down on the big lie.” Trump called her “fantastic” in his endorsement.
Leavitt contended that the Inflation Reduction Act, which Pappas supported, will actually increase inflation at a time when families are struggling.
Kuster, an attorney, faces Republican Robert Burns, who runs a pharmaceutical quality control business. He campaigned on bringing more manufacturing, including pharmaceuticals, back to the United States, and also wants to build a wall spanning the country’s southern border.
The sprawling, mostly rural 2nd District stretches from New Hampshire’s border with Canada to the Massachusetts line. It includes the cities of Nashua and Concord.
Burns ran for the seat once before in 2018, but lost in that primary to Steve Negron, who was later defeated by Kuster.
If Burns wins, it will be the first time the district is back in GOP hands since Kuster defeated former Republican Rep. Charles Bass in 2012.
Both Burns and Leavitt, who campaigned on a pro-Trump “America First” platform, defeated candidates favored to win in their primary races.
Leavitt beat Matt Mowers, who won the nomination in 2020 and was endorsed at the time by Trump, but lost in the general election to Pappas. Burns defeated George Hansel, the mayor of Keene and a moderate who was endorsed by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.
Leavitt said she believed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump; Burns said Joe Biden had enough votes to win the presidency. Trump recently endorsed both of them.
Kuster also highlighted her bill that was part of the Inflation Reduction Act which makes vaccines available to seniors for free. It also allows Medicaid to negotiate drug prices, but Leavitt and Burns argued those negotiations don’t go into effect until 2026.
Democrats kept abortion rights at the forefront of the campaigns. Pappas and Kuster said they would support the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect the right to access abortion care throughout the nation in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Leavitt and Burns both describe themselves as pro-life. Leavitt said she supports having state legislatures make decisions on abortion regulations and would oppose a federal abortion ban. Burns initially said he supports a federal “heartbeat bill” banning abortions, with an exception if the mother’s life is at risk. He now says he’d support a ban at 12 or 15 weeks.
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