Thursday January 22, 2004

Colin Van Ostern
Five State Reps and Other Prominent Gephardt Supporters Join Wave of New Support for John Edwards

MANCHESTER, NH - On the heels of John Edwards' second-place finish in Iowa, thousands of New Hampshire voters, including dozens of Dick Gephardt backers, are throwing their support behind Edwards.

Attracted by Edwards' optimistic, detailed plan to change America, and by his proven ability to reach voters in all parts of the country, Granite Staters are packing into Edwards' events and flooding his offices with requests for more information and offers to volunteer.  Since Monday more than 300 volunteers from across the country have signed up to campaign for Edwards in New Hampshire, joining hundreds who are already volunteering in
the state.

"Voters in New Hampshire are tired of politics as usual and the petty sniping that has dominated this primary battle. They deserve a candidate who believes in America and who believes in them, and who has real policy ideas to get our country back on track," Edwards said. "We are past the preliminaries. It's time to choose a president."

Among the voters who are rushing to Edwards are elected officials and staff members who previously backed Gephardt.

House Minority Leader Peter Burling noted that Edwards truly understand the problems facing middle class people. "John Edwards absolutely stands out in my mind as a man who can both feel the anxieties and concerns of the American people, focus his extraordinary intellect on how to respond to the concerns, and then articulate a position, which people can both understand and rally behind," said Burling. "John Edwards has got the bounce, and he knows what to do with it. In my view John Edwards is going to play brilliantly across this country."

"I've admired John Edwards, the policies he's fought for and the positive way he's run this campaign," said State Representative Jackie Pitts (D-Portsmouth), a Gephardt supporter. "But what convinced me is seeing him on the campaign trail.  He has a and honest sincere passion and a natural ability to connect with voters of all stripes."

"John Edwards, like Dick Gephardt, has spent his life fighting for regular Americans.  Both men came from humble beginnings and both have never forgotten who they are fighting for," said State Representative Ed Mears (D-Berlin).

The following New Hampshire elected officials and activists have recently switched their support to John Edwards:

- Rep. Peter Burling, Cornish - State Representative, House Democratic Leader
- Rep. Jim Craig, Manchester - State Representative
- Rep. Robert Theberge, Berlin - State Rep., former mayoral candidate for Berlin
- Rep. Ed Mears, Berlin - State Representative
- Rep. Jackie Pitts, Portsmouth - State Representative
- Elizabeth Cary, Derry - Democratic activist
- Richard Daschbach, Westmoreland - Treasurer of Cheshire County Democrats
- Virginia Daschbach, Westmoreland - Democratic activist
- Lyn S. Davies, West Lebanon - Democratic activist
- Tom and Rosalyn Kociemba, Portsmouth - Democratic activists
- Stacey McGonigol, Concord - Democratic Activist
- Mike Matoon, Deputy Field Director and Labor Director, Dick Gephardt for President
- Tom Oppel, Canaan - Secretary of the Grafton County Democrats
- Russell Ouellette, Manchester - Manchester School Board member
- Barbara St. George, Derry - Derry activist
- Leslee Stewart, Manchester - Manchester School Board member

"I am honored to have the support of so many distinguished New Hampshire Democrats," Edwards said. "With their help we will continue this momentum in New Hampshire and build an America that works for all of us."

Edwards will campaign in New Hampshire every day from now until the January 27 primary. He will continue to lay out his positive vision to change America so that there are no longer two health care systems, two school systems, two tax systems and two governments in Washington.

"More than anything, Democrats want a nominee who can beat George W. Bush. My performance in Iowa proves that I am the only candidate who can beat Bush in every part of this country, including the North, East, West, Midwest, and in the South," Edwards continued.