Van Ostern Tops Plaistow Democratic Straw Poll for Governor

Outgoing New Hampshire Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern was the top pick for New Hampshire governor in a Plaistow, N.H., straw poll this weekend. However, nearly a quarter of Democratic voters remain undecided.

New Hampshire Democratic voters who attended the Old Home Day event, Saturday, placed Van Ostern, current District Two executive councilor, at the top among Democratic gubernatorial primary candidates with 46 percent of the vote, according to Plaistow Democratic Town Committee Chairman George Hamblen. “Undecided” came in second with 23 percent of the vote. The rest of the field finished with former Deputy Secretary of State and Director of New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation Mark Connolly at 22 percent and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand with 10 percent.

“The very active Democrats have strong sense of who they like for governor. However, the casual observer appears to be undecided. These numbers will likely change as the candidates get their message out,” Hamblen said in a statement Sunday. Results for “declared” Democrat gubernatorial candidate Derek Dextraze, a children’s book author, were not provided.

Current two-term Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is not running for re-election. Last October, she announced her campaign for U.S. Senate in 2016 against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Meanwhile, in addition to Van Ostern, fellow Executive Councilor Christopher T. Sununu, representing District Three and son of former Gov. John H. Sununu, is among a field of four declared Republican gubernatorial candidates. Others include Manchester Mayor Ted Gastas, state Rep. Frank Edelblut and state Sen. Jeanie Forrester.

Independent candidates include Jilletta Jarvis, a Sandown resident and a “regulatory training project manager for financial company” and Jon Lavoie, a “sales/marketing manager.”

The New Hampshire state primary will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13.