By GARRY RAYNO, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD — In a primary like no other, conventional wisdom may not be that conventional as candidates square off under the weight of a pandemic most had hoped would be contained by now.
With Secretary of State William Gardner predicting a record turnout and with about 100,000 absentee ballots to count, the results are likely to be later than usual Tuesday evening.
The key race for the Democrats is for the gubernatorial nomination pitting two Concord attorneys with State House experience against each other.
Executive Councilor Andru Volinksy was the successful lead attorney in the Claremont education lawsuit against the state. Volinksy has focused on education funding during the campaign, has refused to take the state’s infamous pledge to veto broad-based taxes and emphasized his environmental record.
Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes is a former legal assistance attorney who believes additional money for education can be realized by closing business tax loopholes, and he touts his legislative work both on the state budget and paid family and medical leave, which incumbent GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has vetoed.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is facing token opposition with two candidates running against her, while First District Congressman Chris Pappas is unopposed and Second District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster has token opposition from one candidate.
There are six Democrats running to replace Volinksy in the Second District Executive Council seat, two candidates for the District 3 seat being vacated by GOP Councilor Russ Prescott, and three candidates for the District 4 seat held by GOP Councilor Ted Gatsas.
Democrats have three contested races for state Senate seats.
The key race for Republicans is who will take on Shaheen, as four candidates are facing off for their party’s nomination.
Attorney Corky Messner, a successful national attorney once based in Denver, moved to the state several years ago although he has long maintained a summer home here. He has been endorsed by President Donald Trump in the race.
The other major candidate is Retired Brig. General Don Bolduc who argues he has deep New Hampshire roots and the experience needed for the job.
Sununu is facing opposition from long-time conservative activist and Franklin City Councilor Karen Testerman as well as “Nobody
from Keene, formerly Rich Paul.
Both Congressional races have primaries.
In the First District, long-time Republican activist Matt Mayberry is in a heated contest with former NH Republican Party and Trump administration official Matt Mowers, who the president has endorsed. Three other candidates are also running in the primary.
In the Second District contest, several familiar names are trying to win the nomination and take on Kuster, former Reps. Steven Negron and Lynne Ferrari Blankenbeker, along with two other candidates.
Republicans have primaries in four of the five Executive Council races with only Gatsas unopposed.
In District 1, former councilor Joe Kenney is running again but is being challenged for the nomination.
Two candidates are vying for the District 2 seat and three for the District 3 seat.
In District 5, two familiar names are vying for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent Debora Pignatelli, former state Sen. Bob Clegg and former councilor David Wheeler.
The GOP has six state Senate primaries to be decided today.
Despite the pandemic, most early reports have the polls running smoothly.
Garry Rayno may be reached at email@example.com