Library to host candidate forum

Three Democrats running for governor will take part

New Hampshire’s gubernatorial contest has been largely overshadowed by a downright bizarre presidential race and a high-profile battle for a U.S. Senate seat. But, with the state primary less than a month away, it’s time to study up on candidates for governor.

The Portsmouth Democratic Committee is hosting a forum for Democratic candidates for governor at Portsmouth Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 23. All three of the major Democratic contenders — Mark Connolly, Steve Marchand, and Colin Van Ostern — are expected to attend.

Connolly, of New Castle, is a businessman and former director of the state Bureau of Securities Regulation. He is also a former assistant secretary of state and deputy secretary of state.

Marchand, of Portsmouth, is a former small business owner, city councilor, and mayor who later became director of corporate relations at the University of New Hampshire.

Van Ostern, of Concord, is a current executive councilor and former business manager at Stonyfield Inc.

All three Democrats have been jockeying for the title of most progressive candidate for governor as they seek the party nomination. The winner will square off against the Republican nominee in a bid to take over the seat currently occupied by Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is running for U.S. Senate. Several Republicans are running in the primary as well, including Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, and state Sen. Jeanie Forrester.

The state primary takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

“We’re pleased to be hosting this forum with three great candidates,” Portsmouth Democratic Committee chair Larry Drake said in a press release. “We look forward to hearing their ideas.”

The forum is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 in the Levenson Community Room at Portsmouth Public Library, 175 Parrott Ave., Portsmouth. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.