From Paul Steinhauser in the 603 - what to watch:

  • Buttigieg on a roll as he returns to NH

  • Following in Obama’s footsteps?

  • Delaney targets his 2020 rivals

  • Likely Trump primary challenger downplays Mueller findings 

  • More speculation of a third Shaheen-Sununu showdown

Candidate on the rise

Pete Buttigieg returns to New Hampshire next Friday and Saturday (April 5-6) for the first time in a month. And the South Bend, Indiana mayor returns in a very different situation.
When he was last here, he impressed the audience at ‘Politics and Eggs’ with a strong performance, but Buttigieg was still very much considered a long shot for the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, he’s gone from long shot to legitimate contender in a matter of weeks. From large crowds on the campaign trail to buzz on social media to an explosion of coverage by the political press and a bump in the polls, the 37-year-old Afghanistan War veteran who would be the nation’s first openly gay president if he made it to the White House is a candidate on the rise. And Buttigieg says he first noticed the wave during his last stop to the first-in-the-nation primary state. (Plus he hints that “we think we’re going to have an approach on digital campaigning that will be pretty new and pretty fresh.")
Fox News 
LISTEN: Buttigieg, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper and Bill Weld on the latest edition of NH Talk Radio’s ‘On Background’ 

New York state of mind

The Concord Monitor learned that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is coming to Concord next weekend. The two-day Friday and Saturday Granite State swing by the New York Democrat on April 5-6 will include a town hall in Concord on Saturday (location and time still to be determined) and an event in Carroll County, with more stops to be added to the senator’s itinerary. It’s Gillibrand’s fourth trip to New Hampshire since launching a presidential exploratory committee in January and the first since she formally declared her candidacy last weekend.

Following in Obama’s footsteps

Sen. Cory Booker will give a commencement address for online students at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) on Sunday May 12. And his campaign pointed out that then-Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois gave a SNHU commencement address in May of 2007, as he was a candidate on the rise in his marathon and historic battle with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of Illinois for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Of course, Obama’s top political New Hampshire adviser at the time was Jim Demers. Fast forward to present day, and the veteran Democratic consultant has been advising Booker for nearly a year, as he’s guided the senator around the state.


Delaney takes aim at 2020 rivals

Former Rep. John Delaney worries that some of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination are moving too far to the left. “You have to put forward ideas that make sense,” the Maryland Democrat said Thursday as he sat down for an interview during a jam-packed two-day swing through the state that holds the first primary in the White House race. Delaney charged that many of the other 2020 presidential candidates are “running on things that aren’t real solutions.”
Fox News 
Keene Sentinel

Weld says Mueller report news doesn’t hurt his primary challenge chances

The initial findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report could make the uphill climb of primary challenging Republican President Donald Trump even steeper. But former two-term Massachusetts governor Bill Weld argued that much-anticipated news of the report won’t impede his likely primary challenge against Trump. “I wasn’t really counting on the president getting caught in the soup for having said ‘I hope the Russians find more emails’ during the heat of the campaign,” Weld said in an interview during a busy week long swing through the Granite State
Concord Monitor 
 Weld on ‘Pints and Politics’ 

Newest presidential contender plans NH trip

The latest entrant into the crowded Democratic presidential field is the mayor of a city of nearly 150,000 who says that many of his competitors for his party’s nomination are “Washington insiders” who have shown an inability to solve the major challenges facing the country. Wayne Messam was elected earlier this month to a second term as mayor of Miramar, Florida, and immediately launched a presidential exploratory committee. He made his candidacy official on Thursday and is planning a trip to New Hampshire.

Sen. Kamala Harris wants to give teachers a pay raise

In the first major proposal of her presidential campaign, the Democrat from California unveiled a plan Tuesday to eliminate the teacher pay gap and give the average teacher a $13,500 per year raise. The price tag for the ambitious plan? $315 billion over 10 years. The Harris campaign touted that the boost in salary would be “the equivalent of a 23 percent pay increase” for the average Granite State teacher.
Union Leader 


Mad dash for campaign cash

It’s a very quiet weekend in New Hampshire when it comes to the 2020 race, and relatively sedate in the other early voting states (save a Heartland Forum in Storm Lake, Iowa focusing on rural voters that’s attracting some of the candidates). One reason for the lack of activity – a focus on campaign cash as the first quarter of fundraising in the 2020 race comes to a conclusion on Sunday.
Fox News

Jersey guy returning 

He’s not running for president in 2020, but 2016 Republican White House hopeful and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie returns to New Hampshire on May 22 to keynote Merrimack County GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at Concord's Grappone Center. Christie, who seems to keep coming back to the Granite State with regularity, was last here just before the 2018 midterms, to headline a New Hampshire GOP pre-election event.

Shaheen-Sununu 2020 showdown?

Gov. Chris Sununu is increasingly taking aim at Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, sparking renewed speculation that the two-term Republican governor is seriously mulling a GOP challenge in next year’s election. Sources close to the governor say that Sununu’s been repeatedly approached by leading Republicans in the nation’s capital and in the Granite State about the possibility of challenging Shaheen. While the conventional wisdom was that an announcement by Sununu would come after the 2019 legislative session had concluded and the state’s next two-year budget was signed, sources say a decision could possibly come earlier.
Concord Monitor

That's all we've got. Please follow Paul here & contact THE 603 here. Have a great weekend! 

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