THE FALLOUT from Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster’s (NH-02) surprise retirement announcement last month continues and the primary contests for both parties are starting to take shape.

The original long list of Republican candidates has been winnowed down to three announced contestants. Chinese immigrant and human rights advocate Lilly Tang Williams was planning to run whether Kuster sought reelection or not. She ran in the Republican primary for the same seat in 2022 and came in third place, receiving a quarter of the vote. She has earned strong support among many grassroot conservatives.

Lincoln entrepreneur Vikram Mansharamani jumped into the race shortly after Kuster’s announcement and demonstrated early fundraising and organizational prowess. His campaign says he raised $200,000 within the first 72 hours and released a stout list of prominent GOP supporters. Sources say Democrats view Mansharamani as the biggest threat to their ability to retain the seat in November.

And then there’s Bill Hamlen, the former commodities trader from Hanover. He’s a bit of a mystery man. He officially filed as a candidate with the Federal Elections Commission on April 5th. These filings are typically accompanied by some kind of press announcement. But Hamlen has been silent. He also identifies himself as a candidate on his LinkedIn page.

So far, GOP activists I’ve spoken to question whether Hamlen will mount a serious effort. They point to the fact that was a registered Democrat as recently as this year. He appears to have voted in the Democratic presidential primary in January. And the campaign treasurer listed on his FEC Statement of Organization also served as treasurer for disgraced former Congressman George Santos.

On the Democratic side, former Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern’s quick decision to jump into the race and secure Kuster’s endorsement failed to clear the field. Progressive state Senator Becky Whitley is in the race. U.S. Department of Justice attorney Maggie Goodlander hasn’t ruled out a run.

Guttmacher head scratcher

Speaking of Senator Whitley, something she said recently still has me scratching my head. She labelled a measure in the state Legislature “horrifying and dystopian” because it would permit the state to gather basic statistical information about abortion procedures in New Hampshire. It was a strange objection because forty-six states in the union collect this information, including many progressive states I assume Senator Whitley believes are handling abortion the way she would consider appropriate. It was strange also because the best clearinghouse for this kind of information is the pro-abortion research outfit the Guttmacher Institute.

Guttmacher uses estimates to track abortions in New Hampshire (because the state keeps no data) and reports that abortions in the Granite State have increased by 15% since 2020. This would seem to suggest that the state’s abortion law, which allows abortions through six months of pregnancy and took effect on January 1, 2022, has not restricted access to abortions in the Granite State, as Democrats claim.

Nutt job

Will Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joyce Craig ever be made to distance herself from Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, who enthusiastically endorsed Craig within moments of her entering the race?

Healey’s Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt told a sympathetic left-wing audience on April 10, “once I say it, it is now a policy.” And what she says is that “we’re going after all the people who should be giving us money.”

“I’m going to talk about potentially charging more for package deliveries, charging more for payroll tax,” Tibbits-Nutt said, “basically going after everybody who has money.” She also hinted she was going to get rid of pick-up trucks and place tolls along the Massachusetts state border.

Healey distanced herself from Tibbits-Nutt’s remarks, but specifically denounced only her toll idea. Healey then said she still has confidence in Tibbits-Nutt(job) and had no plans to fire her.

Global Warmington

Craig’s primary opponent, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, released her CLEAN Energy Economy Plan earlier this month. Warmington has the ambitious goal of zeroing out carbon emissions in the Granite State by 2040. No one believes that is achievable, but it indicates where a Democratic administration’s focus would lie.

Warmington’s plan is so all-encompassing it would require a complete state takeover of every aspect of New Hampshire’s economy. Still, give her credit for going bold.

Patrick Hynes is president of Novus Public Affairs. He can be found on X @patjhynes.