CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster told supporters on Tuesday that she will seek re-election to a fourth term in Congress to help restore decency, integrity and opportunity as American values.
Kuster, who is running unopposed in the primary, made her official bid for another term representing the 2nd District at the Statehouse before more than 100 supporters. Dozens of people chanted “Annie” as she walked down the hallway to the Secretary of State’s office, where she signed her re-election documents.
During a rally outside the Statehouse, she spoke about the opioid epidemic, veteran rights, affordable health care, voter suppression and protecting sexual assault victims.
“I’m seeking re-election because America needs our help now more than ever,” Kuster told the crowd. “Let’s focus on restoring integrity, clearly in short supply.”
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Kuster said she has worked with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to advance policies important to New Hampshire.
She said the issues she is focusing on include getting care for New Hampshire veterans, expanding economic development in rural parts of the state and continuing progress on combatting the opioid crisis. Kuster co-founded and serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Heroin Task Force in Congress.
Four Republicans are seeking the 2nd District seat. They are Robert Burns; Stewart Levenson; Jay Mercer; and Steven Negron. Libertarian candidate Tom Alciere also filed. The filing period ends Friday.
Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, said that for any of the candidates to beat the incumbent, they would need to overcome several obstacles, including financial.
Levesque said Kuster is a proven fundraiser, and a Republican candidate would need to generate enough resources to challenge her.
The political analyst also said President Donald Trump could have a negative impact on her opponents because it may bring more Democratic voters to the polls.
“I think it is very likely that Congresswoman Kuster will win re-election based upon some of the factors like fundraising, name recognition, and the fact that the 2nd district definitely leans Democrat,” Levesque said.
Levenson, 60, of Hopkinton, was one of the doctors behind a whistleblower complaint about care at New Hampshire’s only veterans’ hospital last year. He accused Kuster, whom he approached about the issue, of being slow to act on it. Levenson later went to The Boston Globe, which published a report about substandard conditions and treatment at the Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Kuster, a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said Tuesday she stood by her record, and that she has protected the rights of whistleblowers to make sure issues that are brought up are heard.
She also said that she was one of just two Democrats to co-sponsor the VA Mission Act, which was signed into law by Trump last week. The bill provides special eligibility for community care to veterans in states without a full-service veterans’ hospital, including New Hampshire.
The primary is on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
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