Rep.Chris Pappas made it clear he believes his political future lies in Washington not Concord in announcing he will run for re-election in the 1st Congressional District.

“It’s more important than ever to have a representative who will keep fighting on behalf of Granite Staters so we fully recover and build a better future for all of our families," Pappas said in an announcement Friday. "I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished by delivering vaccines and relief to Main Street, a tax cut for more than three-quarters of New Hampshire families, lower health care premiums, and a bipartisan infrastructure program that is a game changer for New Hampshire. But there’s more to be done and I’m eager to continue this work.”

The Democrat starts a 14 stop weekend road trip Saturday morning through the current First Congressional District with stops in Bedford, Brentwood, Dover, Durham, Hampton, North Hampton, Laconia, Manchester, Merrimack, North Conway, Portsmouth, Somersworth, and Wolfeboro.

Pappas had been mentioned as a possible challenger to Gov. Chris Sununu in the 2022 gubernatorial campaign but that was likely just wishful thinking, according to Dean Spiliotes, SNHU Civic Scholar and Founder of NH Political Capital.

"The speculation that Pappas might run for governor was not based on any real signals from his camp," Spiliotes told Seacoast Current.

(L-R) Republican Congressional redistricting map, Democratic Congressional redistricting map
(L-R) Republican Congressional redistricting map, Democratic Congressional redistricting map (NH House of Representatives)
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District Facelift?

The district could be getting a major facelift if the redistricting plan approved by the House Special Committee on Redistricting is approved.

"The map proposed by state House GOP would significantly alter the partisan complexion of CD1," Spiliotes said.

The proposed map would shift several towns that lean Democratic including  Dover, Durham, Portsmouth, Rochester and Somersworth into the second Congressional district and move Republican Atkinson, Hudson, Pelham, Salem and Windham into the first.

Pappas said in an interview with WMUR the potential shift is not a concern.

From left, Victoria Sheehan, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), US President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) walk across the NH 175 bridge spanning the Pemigewasset River on November 16, 2021 in Woodstock, New Hampshire
From left, Victoria Sheehan, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), US President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) walk across the NH 175 bridge spanning the Pemigewasset River on November 16, 2021 in Woodstock, NH ( John Tully/Getty Images)
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Shot Across the Bow at Republicans

The Manchester native took a shot at the six Republicans running in their primary to oppose him in next year's general election, three of whom have played up their connections to the Trump White House.

"New Hampshire needs a leader in Congress who is rooted in our state and gets up every day fighting for our families. We can't afford the kind of divisive agenda that undermines our democracy or endangers public health and safety -- I'll leave that to the other candidates in this race who prioritize extremism and performative politics over what's best for New Hampshire," Pappas said.

The GOP candidates — Julian Acciard, state Rep. Tim Baxter, Gail Huff Brown, Karoline Leavitt, Matt Mowers and Gilead Towne, the latest candidate to join the race — wasted no time taking to Twitter to fire back at Pappas. No Democrats have announced for the primary.

"Chris Pappas’s political career is over. He realized he would lose a run for Governor against Chris Sununu so he’s decided that the less embarrassing route is losing his congressional seat and likely become a lobbyist," Acciard said in a tweet.

"Pelosi’s puppet is a radical far-leftist and votes like a squad member. Trillions in spending, gun control, and the largest tax increase on the middle class in American history - that’s his agenda," Baxter tweeted.

"Under Pappas-Pelosi-Biden, America is faced with spiraling inflation, skyrocketing debt, lawless streets, an open border and failing schools. We need a change in direction and a new voice representing New Hampshire. I look forward to your support," Huff Brown tweeted. Her husband Scott Brown served as Ambassador to New Zealand under Trump.

"Actions speak louder than words and there is absolutely nothing bipartisan about Chris Pappas’ voting record. I’ve spoken with countless business owners and Granite Staters who were betrayed by promises Pappas didn’t keep," Leavitt said in her tweet.

The former Trump White House assistant press secretary later blasted Pappas for his comments to NH Journal not backing BIden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

"AKA - I support this unlawful power grab but I know I'm toast in #NH01 if I say it," Leavitt tweeted. "Voters see right through this non-committal crap. They want fighters, not wishy-washy sheep!"

"Chris Pappas left New Hampshire and he’s forgotten why people sent him to Washington in the first place. We will hold Pappas accountable for his disastrous record," Mowers, a former Trump advisor tweeted. In Congress, I will look out for the middle class and always fight for Granite Staters.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hosted a fundraiser for Pappas, a former advisor to the potential 2024 presidential candidate.

Towne made no social media mention of Pappas' announcement.

Pappas made no specific mention of President Joe Biden or congressional leadership in his announcement. He supported Biden's Build Back Better plan.

"Declining presidential popularity tend to be a drag on support for House members of the same party," Spiliotes said. "The economy is a top issue for voters, and another COVID variant surge raises more challenges for the recovery.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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