It’s a district that has switched between Democrats and Republicans at every election for the last decade, labeling it the title of the “swingiest” district in America, and on Tuesday, voters in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District head to the polls in one of the final primary contests of the year, reports NBC News.
With the current representative, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, retiring at the end of her term, the primaries have been more hard-fought than usual. While the seat may have flipped between the two parties, suggesting that it’s had several representatives in the time, it’s traded hands between the same two representatives, Shea-Porter and Republican Frank Guinta but both are not running in the primaries this year.
Neil Levesque, the executive director at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, described the district as a “bellwether to what happens in the future” when he spoke with NBC News.
One very notable candidate in the race is Bernie Sanders’ son Levi Sanders running as a member of the Democratic Party, unlike his father who runs as an Independent. But Sanders is not expected to win this race, having been outspent by his opponents and having not received an endorsement from his father, who won the presidential primary in the state.
On the Democratic side, there are two candidates expected to challenge for the nomination, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas and veteran Maura Sullivan. The battle between the two has reflected a battle that has been seen in several primaries this cycle, a battle between the establishment candidate and the outsider, typically a woman or a minority candidate.
As Pappas represents the establishment and has been a big part of the district’s Democratic Party for many years, he has received endorsements from most of the high profile Democrats in the state, including both of New Hampshire’s senators. Pappas’ chances are also helped by being a well-known figure in the district for his popular restaurant the Puritan Backroom.
On the other hand, Sullivan is the outsider. She has built her campaign on challenging the status quo and of representing women in the district and the country. Sullivan is such an outsider that she only moved to the district last year, something that Pappas has tried to use to his advantage in the race, with CNN reporting she has been described as a “carpetbagger.”
In an interview with Reuters Dante Scala, political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said that Sullivan fits the national mood of the party.
“Democratic women are angry, Sullivan is a good candidate who fits the national mood among Democrats.”
Despite the two candidates on the Republican side, State Senator Andy Sanborn and veteran and former police chief Eddie Edwards, being largely in agreement on issues with Donald Trump advisors endorsing both of them, the race has been an angry and bitter fight.
Edwards has said that he will not endorse Sanborn if he wins the race, claiming that “we care about character” in an interview leading into the election.
There is history on offer for both Edwards and Pappas. Should Edwards win, he would be New Hampshire’s first African-American congressman while Pappas would be the first openly gay congressman to represent the state.
With 40 percent of New Hampshire voters registered as “undeclared,” both primaries are sure to be tight but for America’s “swingiest” district, and things are definitely about to change.