By Hanna Bogorowski
Former New Hampshire state Sen. Molly Kelly won the Democratic gubernatorial primary election on Tuesday and will now face the popular incumbent GOP Gov. Chris Sununu in November.
Kelly defeated the only other candidate in the race, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, with 66.5 percent of the vote to his 33.5 percent.
Thank you, New Hampshire! I will fight for you every single day so we can build a NH that works for everyone, not just a few. We’re going to show everyone what is possible this year.
— Molly Kelly (@NHMollyKelly) September 12, 2018
While the two candidates are closely aligned on the majority of issues, Marchand tended to paint himself as the more progressive candidate.
During the campaign, Kelly touted her experience as state legislator and received the backing of several members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, such as Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Annie Kuster.
Marchand, a small businessman who also ran for governor in 2016, is an advocate for debt-free college for all students in New Hampshire.
Both candidates believe Sununu’s 2017 business tax breaks should be reversed and both advocate for increasing the state gas tax as well as legalizing and taxing marijuana, the Concord Monitor reported.
Both candidates are strong advocates for women’s reproductive rights and have spoken at length about the state’s drug crisis and both have long been against the proposed Northern Pass hydro-electric transmission lines.
Sununu, who was first elected governor in 2016, ran unopposed.
Sununu’s family has a strong political past in the state of New Hampshire: his father is former Gov. John H. Sununu who also served as George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff and his brother is former Sen. John E. Sununu.
Sununu will be a challenge for Kelly in November, as he is a relatively moderate Republican and his approval ratings as of Aug. 20 were steady at 61 percent, which is largely unchanged from April, when it was 59 percent.
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