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Gavin Newsom works to bolster Biden in a swing-state tour that could boost both their ambitions

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Gavin Newsom works to bolster Biden in a swing-state tour that could boost both their ambitions


HOOKSETT, N.H. (AP) — For years, Gavin Newsom stayed far away from New Hampshire by design.

The ambitious California governor understood that any visit to a bastion of presidential politics would fuel speculation that he might be eyeing President Joe Biden’s job. But on Monday, with Biden fighting an existential political crisis, the embattled president dispatched Newsom to New Hampshire to help rescue his flailing campaign.

It was the latest and perhaps most significant stop in a multi-state tour for Newsom, who has emerged as Biden’s most prominent battleground-state defender.

“I decided instead of just rolling over and giving up, that I would step up and pick up the fight,” Newsom told reporters at a highway rest stop in his first public appearance in the state as an elected official. He said of Biden, “He’s going to be our nominee.”

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It’s a pivotal moment both for Newsom and his Democratic Party, which has been consumed by infighting and uncertainty in the wake of Biden’s disastrous debate performance just 11 days earlier.

Biden insisted again Monday that he would not suspend his campaign. But a growing number of elected Democrats in Washington and even here in New Hampshire are calling on the 81-year-old president to step aside, warning that he is too weak to defeat former President Donald Trump this fall and may not be able to lead the country effectively for another four years even if he wins.

Many Democratic officials believe Vice President Kamala Harris is best positioned to replace Biden. But the short list of top-tier alternatives is led by Newsom, a big-state governor with big ambitions who is as comfortable talking policy as he is mixing it up with leading Republicans.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore are also part of the replacement debate playing out privately among donors, strategists and elected officials. All of them have been vocal Biden advocates in recent days.

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Speaking ahead of a closed-door fundraiser for New Hampshire Senate Democrats, Newsom said the party’s current divisions were unhelpful and distracting.

He also brushed aside a question about whether he would seek the party’s nomination at next month’s national convention should Biden leave the race.

“I think that’s a legitimate question and I respect it, but it’s also exactly the question that Donald Trump is hoping everyone asks as he’s out on the golf course,” Newsom said. “So to me, that is not a question I’m going to respond to, because Joe Biden is our nominee, he’s our president. … And I look forward to voting for him.”

At the most vulnerable moment of his presidency, Biden has never kept Newsom so close.

Since the debate June 27, Newsom has campaigned on Biden’s behalf in Michigan, Pennsylvania and now New Hampshire, which is known both for its traditionally early primaries and as a tiny swing state in general elections with four Electoral College votes.

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Earlier Monday, Newsom was featured on an all-staff Biden campaign conference call in which he insisted voters continue to care deeply about Biden despite their fears and anxiety.

Newsom and his team have been overwhelmingly deferential to Biden. In recent days, Newsom’s staff referred all questions about his travel schedule and political plans to the Biden campaign.

Within both camps, the Biden-Newsom relationship is viewed as mutually beneficial.

Newsom, 56, offers Biden credibility and excitement as one of the Democratic Party’s brightest rising stars with close ties to California’s powerful donor network. And Biden offers Newsom a platform on the biggest stage in U.S. politics to help boost his brand ahead of a potential 2028 presidential bid of his own.

But there are risks, especially for Newsom.

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Former New Hampshire State House Speaker Steve Shurtleff said he’s “very impressed” by Newsom and sees him as top-tier presidential prospect. But Shurtleff, once Biden’s chief supporter in the state, now believes the president must step aside and wondered aloud whether Newsom is picking the wrong side in what he described as “a profile-in-courage moment” for party leaders.

“He’s shown that he’s been very loyal to the president and the administration. And that, I think, could hurt him,” Shurtleff said of Newsom.

Overall, few New Hampshire Democratic officials have called for Biden to leave the race, but it is no secret that Biden’s relationships in the state may be strained.

It was Biden who pushed the Democratic National Committee to bypass New Hampshire earlier this year as the opening contest on the presidential primary calendar for the first time in decades.

Even before the historic shift, New Hampshire Democrats weren’t Biden’s biggest supporters.

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He finished in fifth place in the state’s 2020 primary behind the likes of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, now-Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Biden did, however, defeat Trump here in the general election by 7 points.

State Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said Newsom electrified a sold-out crowd at the evening fundraiser, where the California governor touted Biden’s record.

“New Hampshire Democrats are not bedwetters,” Buckley said. “We are strong, united and determined to reelect Joe Biden.”

Still, Biden’s Democratic critics have been increasingly vocal.

“The party needs to honor and thank the president for his five decades of service, but swiftly embrace new leadership before it is too late,” said New Hampshire attorney Jay Surdukowski, who is active in Democratic politics, pointing to a “deep bench” that includes Newsom, Harris, Whitmer and Buttigieg.

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He referenced Biden’s halting debate performance and his subsequent statement that he’d limit his events after 8 p.m.

“Democrats like to say President Trump is a threat to democracy,” Surdukowski said. “A president who can’t form coherent sentences and goes to bed at 8 p.m. may be the greater threat.”

There was no sign of such criticism at the rest stop off Interstate 93, where Biden’s campaign had invited a handful of local party officials to attend Newsom’s unannounced appearance.

One of the invitees, Jennifer Buck, 78, chair of the Webster town Democrats, said she likes what Newsom has done in California. But she doesn’t think he should replace Biden on the ticket.

If Biden does step aside or is “pushed out,” she said, Harris should be the party’s nominee.

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In that, Newsom may agree.

The California governor predicted that the vice president would beat Trump in a hypothetical matchup when asked.

“I have no doubt about that. And that’s from someone that’s also known her longer than most, before we were both in politics,” he said. “But I don’t expect it’s going to come to that.”

___

Peoples reported from New York.

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New Hampshire

NH Lottery paying out two sets of prizes after Pick 3, Pick 4 error

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NH Lottery paying out two sets of prizes after Pick 3, Pick 4 error


CONCORD — Due to an error, New Hampshire Lottery announced it is paying out prizes for two sets of numbers in its Saturday, July 20 Evening Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawings,

On Saturday night, NH Lottery’s announced, a vendor for the drawings entered incorrect winning numbers for the July 20, Evening Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawings. NH Lottery stated it soon after alerted its vendor, which made the correction.

The error that occurred was the Pick 3 Day and Pick 4 Day winning numbers were re-entered for the evening drawings. They were 8-3-5 and 5-7-3-8.

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The correct winning numbers for the July 20, Evening drawings were 8-5-4 for Pick 3 and 3-4-3-2 for Pick 4.

The NH Lottery announced it will pay prizes on both sets of numbers for the Saturday, July 20 Evening drawings.

Winning tickets of $599 and less bearing the Pick 3 numbers of 8-3-5 and Pick 4 numbers of 5-7-3-8 may be validated and paid at any NH Lottery retailer, officials announced. Players who have winning tickets, regardless of prize amount for the Pick 3 numbers of 8-5-4 and Pick 4 numbers of 3-4-3-2 must mail or come to Lottery headquarters for ticket validation and prize payment.

For information, call NH Lottery on Monday at 603-271-3391 or go to nhlottery.com.

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New Hampshire governor signs bill banning transgender girls from girls’ sports

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New Hampshire governor signs bill banning transgender girls from girls’ sports


Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has signed a bill that would ban transgender athletes in grades 5-12 from teams that align with their gender identity, adding the state to nearly half in the nation that adopted similar measures.

The bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature would require schools to designate all teams as either girls, boys or coed, with eligibility determined based on students’ birth certificates “or other evidence.” Supporters of the legislation said they wanted to protect girls from being injured by larger and stronger transgender athletes.

Sununu signed the bill Friday, saying in a statement it “ensures fairness and safety in women’s sports by maintaining integrity and competitive balance in athletic competitions.” It takes effect in 30 days.

Megan Tuttle, president of NEA-New Hampshire, a union representing public school employees, criticized Sununu.

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“Public schools should be safe, welcoming environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said in a statement. “Shame on Governor Sununu for signing into law this legislation that excludes students from athletics, which can help foster a sense of belonging that is so critical for young people to thrive.”

Sununu also signed a bill Friday that would ban gender-affirming surgeries for transgender minors. That takes effect on Jan. 1, 2025. The care has been available in the United States for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations.

“This bill focuses on protecting the health and safety of New Hampshire’s children and has earned bipartisan support,” Sununu wrote.

Sununu vetoed another measure that would have allowed public and private entities to differentiate on the basis of “biological sex” in multiperson bathrooms and locker rooms, athletic events and detention facilities. Sununu noted a law enacted in 2018, that banned discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing based on gender identity. He said the challenge with the current bill “is that in some cases it seeks to solve problems that have not presented themselves in New Hampshire, and in doing so, invites unnecessary discord.”



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New Hampshire

New Hampshire governor signs bill banning transgender girls from womens’ sports

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New Hampshire governor signs bill banning transgender girls from womens’ sports


New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed legislation Friday that prohibits transgender girls from competing on school athletics teams that match their gender identity while also approving another bill that bans gender reassignment surgery for minors.

Sununu also vetoed a bill that would have permitted some businesses and government entities to restrict bathroom access to individuals on the basis of biological sex.

New Hampshire HB1205 requires schools to use a student’s biological sex at birth when determining eligibility for participation in youth sports. Schools would be required to use a birth certificate “issued at or near the time of the student’s birth.” Students who provide birth certificates that do not list the sex of the student would be required to provide other evidence of their biological sex at the time of birth at their own expense. The law leaves designated coed sports and activities untouched but creates a cause of action for students who have been “deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffer[ed]…direct or indirect harm as a result of a school knowingly violating [the bill].” The law applies to sports from grades 5-12.

The second bill, HB619, bans gender reassignment surgery for minors but leaves exceptions for reconstruction or removal surgeries to address “malformations, malignancy, injury, or physical disease” as well as male circumcisions.

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The bill Sununu vetoed, HB 396, would have rolled back protections enacted in 2018 that specifically addressed discrimination based on biological sex. In the veto statement, Sununu wrote:

In 2018, Republicans and Democrats passed legislation to prevent discrimination because I said at the time, it is unacceptable and runs contrary to New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die Spirit. That rings true today. The challenge with HB396 is that in some cases it seeks to solve problems that have not presented themselves in New Hampshire, and in doing so invites unnecessary discord.

Civil rights organizations GLAD and the ACLU denounced HB1205 and HB619 as unconstitutional and vowed to fight the enactment of the bills.

Laws concerning transgender rights have varied widely throughout the US with Texas upholding a ban on gender-affirming care for minors while California recently passed a law that prohibits schools from informing parents if their children choose to change pronouns.



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