Democratic 1st District congressional candidate Shawn O’Connor will be speaking to a group of young progressive Democrats Monday night in New York City.
O’Connor is listed as the special guest of Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, which describes itself as “an independent organization of young, progressive New Yorkers.
“Since 1993,” its web site says, “DL21C has been dedicated to increasing the political awareness and participation of a new generation of New Yorkers. DL21C is the premier political group for young people in New York and serves as a model for grassroots organizing nationwide.”
The group also says it is “not affiliated with the Democratic party and does not endorse candidates.”
“Rather, it is an independent forum where New Yorkers with an interest in politics can go to network, have the opportunity to hear from and ask questions directly to America’s top elected officials, candidates, policymakers and authors and, most importantly, have fun!”
The event tonight, at a Madison Avenue address in Manhattan, is not a fundraiser but is instead the first installment of the group’s “meet the candidates” series, where members speak with candidates and policy makers.
“They asked me to come and speak as a young person seeking office and I’m honored to do that. It is a group trying to encourage young people to try to get involved in politics and I was honored to be asked,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor in February filed with the Federal Election Commission a statement of candidacy for the 1st District U.S. House seat now held by Republican Frank Guinta and formerly held by fellow Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, who has not ruled out another run against Guinta in 2016.
Just last week, O’Connor announced the hiring of 11 top Washington consultants for his campaign.
At the same time, a group of Democrats have launched an effort to draft Executive Councilor Chris Pappas to run for the seat, presumably if Shea-Porter decides not to run.
While it is doubtful that Pappas would take on Shea-Porter in a Democratic congressional primary, it is likely that with O’Connor running, there will be a party primary for that seat in September 2016.
O’Connor is a former resident of New York, where he began his college testing preparation business, Stratus Prep, to Bedford. In 2013, he expanded the business to Bedford.
The rap on O’Connor by some local Democrats is that he has not been involved in NHDP activities, such as fundraisers, caucuses and did not attend the recent state committee meeting.
“I don’t think that’s true at all,” O’Connor said. He said that he was a member of Gov. Maggie Hassan’s inaugural committee and attended the inaugural ball. And he said that he attended an event prior to the midterm election last November at New Hampshire Democratic Party headquarters, attended by party chairman Raymond Buckley.
As for the possibility of a primary, O’Connor said, “My focus is on beating Frank Guinta, sending him home forever.”
O’Connor has also told the New Hampshire Journal that has been a resident of New Hampshire for three years and has been involved in community activities, such as the Red River Theater in Concord and City Year New Hampshire.
He said he has been touring the district with informal house parties in Bedford, Manchester, Goffstown and Portsmouth. “I think it is really important to listen to the voters. My message is about breaking gridlock and finding common sense, New Hampshire solutions.”