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The Dartmouth
June 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington enters 2024 New Hampshire gubernatorial race

Warmington, the lone Democrat on New Hampshire’s five-person Executive Council, is running on a platform of reproductive justice, housing reform and increasing access to mental health resources.

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On June 1, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington announced her campaign for the 2024 New Hampshire gubernatorial election. Warmington is the first Democrat to enter the race, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Government professor and state representative Russell Muirhead, D-Grafton, Warmington is an “ultra-conscientious public servant.”

“Cinde Warmington has made the business of the Executive Council legible to her own constituents and people all over the state,” Muirhead said. “She has publicized her work on the Council more successfully than any Executive Councilor that I know of in the time I’ve been watching New Hampshire politics, and it’s wonderful that she’s running for governor.” 

Warmington has served on the Executive Council since 2020, when she defeated Republican Jim Beard with 54% of vote, and she was then reelected in 2022. According to Muirhead, the Executive Council is an “odd” part of the state legislature. 

“In New Hampshire, the Executive Council has a lot of power,” Muirhead said. “It has power over executive appointment confirmations, and it also approves really big contracts the state enters into and the money that it spends.” 

During her tenure on the Executive Council, Warmington voted against the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and she advocated for reproductive access. According to New Hampshire College Democrats president Prescott Herzog ’25, the Executive Council has tried on multiple occasions to shut down Planned Parenthood and restrict access to abortion. 

“New Hampshire is a majority pro-choice state,” Herzog said. “People don’t want complete bans on abortion. It’s nice to see a candidate who represents the majority public opinion running for the governorship.” 

Warmington’s electoral strategy of focusing on increasing reproductive access reflects a national  “trend” seen in the Democratic Party, according to Rockefeller Center for Public Policy lecturer Julie Kalish.

“Democrats are really capitalizing on this talking point because a full-on abortion ban is scary to a lot of Americans,” Kalish said. “I think it’s really smart of her to make part of her campaign about reproductive rights.” 

In addition to reproductive rights, Warmington has focused her campaign on countering “Republican overreach and extremism,” according to her campaign website.

Dartmouth Conservatives member Malcolm Mahoney ’26 said he believes that Warmington will not win the governorship by using Democratic Party talking points about extremism.

“I definitely think [these talking points] will play well for that Democratic base, especially if she is going to face a primary candidate, but I’m not sure it’s a winning strategy for her in the general election,” Mahoney said.

If incumbent Republican New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu were to run for reelection, it would be “really tough” for Warmington to capture his base of independents who lean Republican, according to Mahoney. Sununu’s moderate positions would be more appealing to New Hampshire independents, he added. 

Sununu has yet to announce whether he is running for reelection in 2024.  

Dartmouth Conservatives member Cooper Hyldahl ’26 said that he sees the Warmington campaign as only geared toward a Democratic primary. According to Hyldalh, Warmington does not go beyond “typical” Democratic policy issues such as “abortion access and affordable housing.” 

“This could be a problem for the general election because she’s probably going to have a state Senate or a state House that are not completely all Democrats,” Hyldahl said. “I haven’t seen her reaching out to voters who are not registered Democrats.” 

Along with increasing access to affordable housing, Warmington has vowed to increase funding for mental health resources. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire has some of the highest fentanyl-related deaths per capita in the country. The state has also consistently faced opioid-related deaths higher than the national average. 

“I really like that she included taking on fentanyl deaths on her platform,” Mahoney said. “It’s reassuring to see that this issue is something both Democrats and Republicans care about and are willing to work to address head-on.” 

According to Mahoney, the race is only in its “initial stages,” and most voters have yet to start paying attention to the gubernatorial race. 

“Warmington is definitely passionate about New Hampshire politics,” Mahoney said. “And so are Chris Sununu and other prospective candidates. Time will only tell just what this race turns out to be.” 

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