U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) (Photo courtesy of Chris Pappas for Congress)
New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas on Tuesday defended his state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
“It’s certainly a tradition, and New Hampshire is one of the first states to open up its process and say the party bosses shouldn’t be selecting our presidential candidates, the people should have a direct say in who the party nominees are,” Pappas told the Washington Blade during a telephone interview from D.C. “That’s something we can all celebrate.”
Pappas noted the parties have chosen New Hampshire and three other states — Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina — to go first in the nomination process because they “represent the diversity of this nation.”
“It’s important that there are states with a smaller scale that go early in the nominating contest to make sure that candidates can hear directly from the people and that there are authentic conversations that happen,” he told the Blade.
Pappas also noted New Hampshire’s role in educating candidates on issues, such as the opioid and addiction crisis that came to the forefront ahead of the state’s 2016 primary.
“Candidates came into our living rooms and heard some really heartbreaking stories in New Hampshire,” he said. “There is value to the process that New Hampshire is a part of. I really hope the rest of the states following will continue to have these types of conversations and will be a part of the process too.”
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Pappas, 39, has represented New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, which includes Manchester, the state’s largest city, since 2019.
Pappas’ family owns the Puritan Backroom restaurant in Manchester. Pappas is one of nine openly LGBTQ members of Congress.
Pappas on Monday voted absentee ballot at Manchester City Hall before he returned to D.C.