Manchester Restaurant Owner Jumps into Race for 1st Congressional District Seat
MANCHESTER — The pool of candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District seat in Congress just got a bit bigger.
Executive Councilor Chris Pappas announced his bid Thursday for the open U.S. House seat in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. The Democrat from Manchester said the nation is currently headed in the wrong direction.
“I think the system in Washington frankly is broken and I don’t think we can tolerate it any longer," Pappas told NH1 News on Thursday. "I really feel the call to serve. I really feel the opportunity is here to try to put things back into focus and solve problems."
Some of those problems he said are rollbacks on environmental protections, attacks on women's rights and the opioid crisis.
Pappas added he will work for the citizens of New Hampshire on the issues most important to those in the Granite State.
“New Hampshire means everything to me, and if elected to Congress, I’ll be on the front lines fighting for the people, communities, and Main Street businesses that make our state the best place to live," Pappas said in a statement issued Thursday.
The 37-year-old said he wants to “to be part of a new generation of leadership to turn things around."
Pappas is currently serving his third term on the Executive Council. He also runs the Puritan Backroom, owned by the Pappas family for more than 100 years. If elected, he would become New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress.
“It’s an important part of who I am obviously," he told NH1. "It’s something that I don’t hide from, that I’m certainly proud of. And I think that anytime someone breaks down a barrier, it tells everyone that the political arena is open to you, that you have a part in this community."
The congressional seat will be vacated next fall by four-term Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, who said she will not seek re-election in 2018.
Pappas joins state Rep. Mark Mackenzie, of Manchester, a former longtime New Hampshire AFL-CIO president, in seeking the Democratic nomination.
Minutes after the announcement by Pappas, MacKenzie’s campaign unveiled an endorsement by the United Steelworkers Union. Iraq War veteran and former Obama Pentagon official Maura Sullivan of Portsmouth, former Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati, and Rochester City Attorney Terence O’Rourke are also declared Democratic candidates. State Rep. Minidi Messmer of Rye is likely to jump in to the race in coming days, and Somersworth Mayor Dana Hilliard is also seriously considering a bid.
State Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford and former state law enforcement official Eddie Edwards are the two Republican candidates who have launched campaigns. Former New Hampshire Republican Party Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry is also likely to announce a bid in the near future.