BEDFORD, NH. – Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro received a rousing welcome from New Hampshire Democrats on Saturday as he campaigned for President Joe Biden and a pair of Granite State gubernatorial candidates ahead of next year’s election cycle.
Speaking from the stage of a high school theater to a convention of about 500 party officials, volunteers and candidates, Shapiro painted political action as a moral imperative and a civic duty. Democrats must fight against extremists who push for strict abortion bans, attempts to limit voting rights and denial of the scientific truth of climate change, he said. And that means Democrats must work to ensure that Biden is elected to a second term and support whoever gets the Democratic nomination for governor of New Hampshire next year.
“It’s up to each of us to step out of the sidelines, to get in the game and do our part – to stand up for our rights, to defend our democracy. It’s up to all of us to break down arbitrary barriers to entry and create real opportunity for the good people of this country,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro touts his own credentials as an example of what is possible when ordinary people participate in the political process. While speaking about the need to support voting rights, he highlighted his record as a lawyer when he successfully defended the state in 40 lawsuits challenging Pennsylvania’s return in the 2020 election. When talking about creating good-paying jobs, he pointed to his executive order removing a requirement that candidates for most state jobs need a college degree.
“When the eyes of the nation were on Pennsylvania, we showed that we can do great things again. That’s who we are as Democrats.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro
Biden, he said, also delivered. He credited the 46th president for creating more than 13 million jobs in the country since taking office and making a historic investment in the country’s infrastructure. When a tanker truck crash destroyed an Interstate 95 overpass in Pennsylvania, the Shapiro administration found a way to reopen the highway in just 12 days. But that would not be possible without the financial support of the federal government. Biden, Shapiro said, personally checked in to make sure the state had what it needed to get the job done.
“When the eyes of the country were on Pennsylvania, we showed that we can do great things again. That’s who we are as Democrats,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro reiterated an emerging motto of his administration – a study in “finishing the s***.” He’s confident the 2024 Democratic nominee for New Hampshire governor — candidates Joyce Craig and Cinde Warmington also addressed the crowd Saturday — will bring that mindset, too. Each of them supports the construction of a stronger, more inclusive New Hampshire, and they will be a better candidate than anyone who appeared on the Republican ticket, he said.
“He’s going to make New Hampshire a leader in economic growth and job creation. Now, listen, you’re second to Pennsylvania, but it’s good. It’s good for you guys,” Shapiro said, drawing a hearty laugh.
Cindy Raspiller, a Mont Vernon Democrat who graduated from Lehigh University, said she follows Shapiro and political events in the Keystone State. The convention was her first time seeing him in person and she came away impressed by his heartfelt speech, she said.
“I thought he did a great job. I was impressed then and I’m even more impressed now,” Raspiller said.
Listing his own accomplishments could be a subtle way of laying the groundwork for his own presidential run. Political observers point to Shapiro as one of the party’s rising stars and a potential candidate in 2028. New Hampshire is an early primary state, and generations of ambitious politicians regularly travels to the Granite State to share his unique brand of retail politics. . However, Shapiro denied that he kicked the tires on a presidential run.
“I’m just happy to be here to support the party and share our message of progress in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said in brief remarks to reporters afterward.
It was not a warm welcome for Shapiro. Protesters who showed up to challenge his record in Pennsylvania on fracking and climate change tried to stop the speech by chanting and shouting. Shapiro tried to speak about them, but everyone was drowned out by the roar of the large crowd who wanted to hear Shapiro. Security eventually escorted the group of about a half-dozen people so Shapiro could deliver the bulk of his remarks.