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Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro to headline New Hampshire Democrats’ convention

The first-term governor's visit to an early presidential nominating state comes amid buzz that he may one day seek the Oval Office.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference on June 11, 2023, in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks at a news conference in Philadelphia on June 11.Joe Lamberti / AP file

The New Hampshire Democratic Party announced Tuesday that Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro will headline its convention next month, marking the first-term governor's initial visit to an early nominating state.

Shapiro plans to tout his support for President Joe Biden’s re-election while talking up electoral wins in his state, including last year’s landslide victory over Republican Doug Mastriano in the governor’s race.

“In Pennsylvania, we defeated extremism and showed the rest of the country what it looks like to come together behind a vision for a better future — one where we create real opportunity while defending our rights and advancing real freedom for all,” Shapiro said in a statement Tuesday. “New Hampshire voters face a similar choice next November — they will decide a critical open race for Governor and play a central role in reelecting President Biden and retaking the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Ray Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, tied Shapiro’s visit to the state’s brewing gubernatorial battle now that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is not running for re-election.

“Hearing from Governor Shapiro on his record of accomplishment and success is the perfect kick off to our 2024 election efforts,” he said in a statement.

As governor, Shapiro has garnered national attention for having overseen the quick reopening of a key stretch of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia after it collapsed.

The convention, which is scheduled for Sept. 30, comes as both Biden and former President Donald Trump hold commanding primary leads in New Hampshire surveys. In a head-to-head matchup, a recent Emerson College poll showed Biden with a 7-point edge over Trump.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak to Granite Staters at this critical time for both New Hampshire and our nation’s future and rally with them behind Democratic candidates who, like me, believe government can be a productive force for good,” Shapiro said in Tuesday's statement.

The visit also is the first to New Hampshire for Shapiro, a former state attorney general, who is likely to play a key role in Democrats’ 2024 efforts and is considered by some to be among the party’s top contenders for its presidential nomination in 2028.

Shapiro, 50, has batted down questions about any presidential ambitions dating to his campaign for governor last year. Asked by NBC affiliate WGAL of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, this month about a potential 2028 bid, he said: “I’m interested in leading here in Pennsylvania.”

“I am governor,” he added, “and God willing will continue to be governor for a long time.”

Pennsylvania law limits governors to two consecutive four-year terms.

Meghan Meehan-Draper, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, said in a statement Tuesday that Shapiro "knows how to win tough races."

"We’re excited to see him bring his winning record to New Hampshire, one of the most critical battlegrounds in the country," she said, "where Granite Staters have a chance to elect a governor who will defend their rights and tackle the most pressing challenges facing their state.”