WASHINGTON — New Hampshire Executive Council member Chris Pappas is well-positioned to become the Granite State’s first openly gay member of Congress after winning the First District Democratic primary on Tuesday.
“Chris Pappas continues to smash long-standing political barriers for LGBTQ New Hampshirites — and his victory is emblematic of the pipeline of LGBTQ leaders who continue to rise through the ranks to better serve their constituents,” Annise Parker, president & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement.
Parker added: “Democratic primary voters are demanding authentic, values-driven leaders who prioritize policies over politics — and they found that leader in Chris. He was born and raised in the district, is a fierce advocate for fairness and equality, and will fight tirelessly to push forward policies that advance those principles.”
Pappas, 38, defeated 10 challengers in Tuesday’s contest, taking 42 percent of the Democratic votes. He will face former South Hampton police chief Eddie Edwards, a Republican, and Libertarian Dan Belforti in the general election. Edwards, who owns a consulting business, defeated five challengers in the primary and got 48 percent of the votes, with 99 percent of the districts’ results reported so far. If Edwards wins the general election, he would become the first African-American to represent New Hampshire in Congress. Belforti owns an investment company.
Pappas, who owns a small business in Manchester, has served on the Executive Council since December 2012. He served as Hillsborough County Treasurer from 2007-11. Pappas served as a state representative from 2003-07.
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat, has represented the First Congressional District since January 2017. Last fall Porter-Shea announced she would not seek re-election.
The district, which includes much of greater Manchester, is considered one of the most competitive in the nation. It has switched hands four times since 2007.
The outcome of the race could help decide whether Democrats pick up the 23 seats needed to retake the House this fall.