It has not been a smooth start for the gubernatorial campaign of Ted Gatsas.
The Republican Manchester mayor announced his campaign late last week to little fanfare. On Thursday at 1:06 a.m., the “Ted Gatsas for Mayor” Facebook page became “Ted Gatsas for Governor.” Later that day, he filed with the secretary of state to officially become a candidate.
The Facebook announcement seems to have been unintended. The campaign acknowledges the page switched to “Ted Gatsas for Governor” and supporters started to take note prior to Gatsas’ official announcement later in the day.
While the campaign did not hold an announcement event for supporters, Gatsas issued a press release and was interviewed by media outlets across the state. The Gatsas campaign tells NH Journal the launch went as planned, and they were “excited and pleased by the rollout.”
The early morning Facebook announcement has not been the only technology challenge the campaign has faced. One week after launch, the campaign homepage still links to a nonexistent Twitter account with the message: “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”
NH Journal was able to find the campaign’s official account through links posted by other Manchester Republicans.
In Gatsas’ written announcement, critics have been quick to take note there is no mention of “The Pledge” against a state personal income tax or general sales tax. Such a pledge has been a central part of New Hampshire politics for 50 years. While Gatsas told the Union Leader he supports the pledge this week, it was too late to avoid a Sunday editorial from his hometown paper critical of the omission in his announcement.
Gatsas’ announcement did touch on the need for strong leadership battling the opioid epidemic. Critics have pointed out that Manchester is an epicenter of New Hampshire’s drug problems. In his State of the City address just one day before his campaign announcement, Gatsas noted there were already 26 fatalities in Manchester from overdoses this year.
Gatsas has expressed his disappointment with Gov. Maggie Hassan for her failure to stem the crisis, and in particular had called for Hassan to act more quickly in appointing a new drug czar after the previous appointee resigned February 1 amid criticism. Hassan announced this week that she has chosen James Vara, New Hampshire’s senior assistant attorney general, to fill the position. Gatsas supports the choice.
A spokesperson for the Gatsas campaign explains that the mayor has been the most outspoken candidate on the opioid crisis and that he has taken every opportunity available as mayor to address the issue by working closely with Manchester police. Serving as governor, the campaign explains, would give Gatsas the opportunity to do far more and apply what he has learned as mayor of New Hampshire’s largest city.