Updated: Buckley stresses 2020 redistricting in reelection bid announcement

CONCORD – Announcing his candidacy for a fifth term as New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman, Raymond Buckley on Monday praised the party’s accomplishments over the past several election cycles, said the party held its own during a tough 2014, but also looked ahead – far ahead.

 

For Buckley, one of the most important efforts Democrats can make over the next several years is to continue to win the governor’s seat and regain majorities in the New Hampshire House and Senate.

 

The key, he said in an email to members of the Democratic State Committee, obtained by the New Hampshire Journal, is to be in control when the redistricting process takes place in 2020.

 

“2016 and 2018 are important years,” he wrote, “but we know our sustained success in the future is all about 2020. Every single New Hampshire Democratic leader should be obsessed with the year 2020. Everything we do over the next 6 years needs to be in preparation for the 2020 election.

 

“2020 is not only a Presidential and Senate election, it is the year we will elect the Governor and Legislature who will control the redistricting process,” Buckley wrote.

 

“The Bill O’Brien legislature did much long-term harm to our state, but one of its worst legacies is the gerrymandered Executive Council, State Senate and House districts it created. Once we are able to unscramble that mess in a fair way, we are on our way to permanent majority status. We cannot allow the Republicans to distort the districts again; and we will not!”

 

The reference was to former House speaker O’Brien, who led a House with a GOP super-majority after the 2010 midterm election.

 
Buckley, who is also a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee and chairman of the Association of Democratic State Chairs, was first elected state party chairman in 2007. His party swept to big wins in 2008 as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen won her first Senate term, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter won the 1st District House seat and Democrats took control of the state House and Senate.

 

But in 2010, the pendulum swung and Republicans took control of the Legislature, although Democrat John Lynch did win a fourth term as governor. During that key legislative session, the once=every-10-years redistricting the state’s congressional, Executive Council, state House and Senate districts took place – always a volatile process and one that is often subject to whatever party controls the Legislature at the time.

 

The Democratic State Committee will elect party officers at its state committee meeting on March 7. The deadline for filings of candidacies for state party officers is Jan. 15.

 

Buckley on Monday afternoon wrote in an email to fellow state committee members:

 

“Thank you for all you do for our party and for the trust you have put in me to serve as Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party; it is an honor. I ask for your vote on Saturday, March 7th, for another term. Let us continue the great progress.”

 

His full email to the state committee  follows:

 

“In 2014, compared to our friends in purple, and even blue, states New Hampshire Democrats had much to celebrate. While the bad news is we didn’t win every race, the good news is those losses are temporary.

 

“2016 is shaping up to be a great year for NH Democrats. For 20 years we have done well in the presidential election years and delivered our four electoral votes to the Democratic nominee in five of the last six contests. But throughout this time we struggled during mid-term national Republican waves; and often times they became tsunamis here in New Hampshire. We were consistently wiped out.

 

“But in recent cycles, we have begun to hold our own starting in 2010 with the re-election of Governor Lynch.

 

“This past cycle, we not only held the Governor’s Office – the ninth victory in the past ten gubernatorial elections– but also our US Senate seat – our first Senate re-election since 1972! Tom McIntyre and, now, Jeanne Shaheen are the only New Hampshire Democrats to serve a second term in the Senate since the Civil War!

 

“In 2010, we lost both Congressional seats, this year only one; and Carol was much closer this time. In 2010 we lost all three of our seats on the Executive Council, this year only one. In 2010 we lost nine seats in the State Senate, this year only one. In 2010 we lost 120 seats in the House, this year only 60. And we fared better in county races, too, with Democrats even re-electing two County Sheriffs!

 

“Clearly, we learned from our past mid-term defeats and are getting better at winning in Republican wave years. In 2014 we saw Republican turnout was essentially stagnant from 2010, while Democrats turned out an additional 30,000 voters leading to record turnout for a mid-term election in New Hampshire. This made the difference for Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, and countless down-ballot candidates.

 

“While we turned out those 30,000 voters who sat home in 2010, unfortunately it wasn’t done uniformly across the state, or even across a county. It was in pockets. Some communities did better than expected and others were not so good. But let’s be honest, if every local team did as well as our best ones, we could have held Carol’s seat, kept the Council and House majorities, and gained seats in the Senate.

 

“If we continue to treat mid-term elections like we do Presidential elections and if we continue to focus our work on grassroots organizing, we won’t lose any seats in 2018…even if it is a Republican wave year. Think about that. New Hampshire is in the midst of a massive change – Red to Blue – and we are at the heart of that. Because of our hard work, it is all heading in the right direction.

 

“We must  renew our commitment to building strong, dynamic, and active local and county organizations in every corner of our state. That is the foundation for our future.

 

“2016 and 2018 are important years, but we know our sustained success in the future is all about 2020. Every single New Hampshire Democratic leader should be obsessed with the year 2020. Everything we do over the next 6 years needs to be in preparation for the 2020 election. 2020 is not only a Presidential and Senate election, it is the year we will elect the Governor and legislature who will control the redistricting process.

 

“The Bill O’Brien legislature did much long-term harm to our state, but one of its worst legacies is the gerrymandered Executive Council, State Senate and House districts it created. Once we are able to unscramble that mess in a fair way we are on our way to permanent majority status. We cannot allow the Republicans to distort the districts again; and we will not!

 

“Let’s start now to build, grow, empower, train, and support every one of our local and county organizations. Working together, we will continue to make a difference for New Hampshire.

 

“In 2016 let’s defeat Kelly Ayotte, win back the first CD, hold the second CD, the governor’s office, carry NH for our presidential nominee and win back the majorities on the Council and in the House and Senate.

 

“Thank you for all you do for our party and for the trust you have put in me to serve as Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party; it is an honor. I ask for your vote on Saturday, March 7th for another term. Let us continue the great progress.”

Author: John DiStaso

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