Molly Kelly features a Message for Republicans: ‘Do Not Underestimate Me’

Established Democrats have found themselves under siege by the left in which year, with several prominent lawmakers falling to more liberal challengers. Molly Kelly, a former state senator, avoided in which fate in brand new Hampshire on Tuesday night, defeating a progressive opponent to become the 15th woman to win her primary for governor in which season.

nevertheless in November, Ms. Kelly, 68, will be a decided underdog: Her Republican opponent, Chris Sununu, can be one of the most well-liked governors inside country.

Like most politicians, however, she can be optimistic about her chances and also also also undaunted by the challenge ahead.

Ms. Kelly spoke to The Times about her victory, brand new Hampshire’s history of voting for women and also also also what she thinks about President Trump.

The following can be an edited and also also also condensed style of the conversation.

Q. Congratulations again on your big win. Were you out late celebrating?

A. the item was a great night and also also also an evening with so many friends and also also also supporters and also also also my family. nevertheless you know, the most important thing can be we are up ready to go in which morning.

Where inside state are you in which morning?

We’ve headed out to Manchester to meet with voters and also also also start campaigning.

No rest for the weary?

No, I don’t think we could anyway. I’m excited, and also also also in which can be where we wanted to be in which morning. So I am happy to be busy and also also also back campaigning.

in which can be a state in which Senator Bernie Sanders won inside presidential primary by 22 points. nevertheless in a year when some Democrats are losing to more progressive candidates, you bucked in which trend. Why do you think in which was? can be brand new Hampshire over Bernie-ism?

No, Sydney. I have been progressive my entire life, before I was inside State Senate and also also also during the State Senate. I think in which the voters clearly saw in which. I have championed women’s rights, women’s reproductive rights, my entire life and also also also will continue as governor to ensure in which brand new Hampshire does not go backwards on reproductive rights.

Being progressive, being bold can be not brand new to me.

Does the item say something specifically, culturally, about brand new Hampshire in which voters seem to be willing to elect women?

I think they trust women. We have been out there working hard. I have throughout my career as well. I think we have worked hard, and also also also also our messages about putting people first, creating sure the economy works for everyone, not just a few, can be important.

Today as well, I truly believe in which women will not be silenced, and also also also they were not last night.

You are 68 and also also also running against one of the most well-liked governors inside country. Why are you doing in which to yourself?

Oh, I am not doing in which to myself. I am doing in which for the people I represent and also also also will serve here in in which state. We think about paid family medical leave as an issue and also also also a bill in which I will make a reality for the people here in brand new Hampshire. We have Chris Sununu who calls the item a vacation.

I am moving forward with 100 percent renewable [energy] to ensure we have clean air, clean water — creating sure in which all future generations live in a climate and also also also environment in which’s healthy for them. These are the things I’m focusing on.

the item sounds as if you are not daunted by your opponent inside general election?

Look, I’ve been underestimated before. and also also also I think the item’s a clear message to Chris Sununu and also also also others as well: Do not underestimate me.

I’ve been underestimated when I was a young single mom with three smaller children, raising them myself and also also also creating sure in which I could go back and also also also finish my education, and also also also living on a college campus with my children and also also also taking on all of those challenges and also also also raising them myself and also also also working my way through college. I managed an apartment complex in which my children and also also also I lived in and also also also then I waitressed one night a week at Papa Gino’s and also also also even had a rural paper route in Peterborough, brand new Hampshire. I know what challenges are about, and also also also I was underestimated then and also also also rose to in which occasion, took on those challenges. I am not afraid of a challenge when I know the item’s the right thing to do.

How much help by Democratic Party leaders do you expect to get?

I think the Democrats are going to all come together after last night. I know in which they are. I’m hearing by them during the evening and also also also all day today.

Who have you heard by specifically?

We could be here way too long, Sydney, if I started off to make a list for you. Just do know in which the item can be leaders in our state, leaders in our community, which can be most important. National leaders as well. We are energized.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some potential 2020 candidates campaigned in which fall with you.

We live in brand new Hampshire. the item’s a very political state, and also also also people do come here and also also also pound those sidewalks. So we’ll see what happens.

Let’s talk about in which election cycle’s elephant inside room. What do you think of President Trump?

I can’t think of one thing I could agree with him on. As governor, if there are opportunities and also also also funding to our state to deal with — issues like the opioid epidemic and also also also in which are inside best interest of the people of brand new Hampshire — I’m sure I could work with federal agencies to make in which happen.

I think you said earlier in which year in which you could be willing to work with the White House, feelings about Mr. Trump aside. Do you still feel in which way?

If there can be some funding in which can be inside best interest of the state in regard to the opioid epidemic, of course, because my priorities are the people here in brand new Hampshire.

What about the economy? The president likes to say the item can be “the strongest the item’s ever been inside history of our country.” Are people in brand new Hampshire feeling in which?

The economy can be not working for everybody in brand new Hampshire.

I want to fund public education and also also also invest in job training, invest in our work force. in which’s what’s important to me. People are telling me in which they are looking for change, and also also also if the economy can be not working for them, they want to see a governor who will work for them and also also also make sure in which we have a livable wage and also also also children have health care and also also also families do, and also also also access to quality education.

Lots of voters say in which a key issue for them can be gun control. Where do you stand on in which?

I’ve always supported common sense gun safety. Our children need to be able to leave and also also also go to school and also also also know in which they’re safe.

I have four children, and also also also believe me, I didn’t worry about if they could be affected by gun violence when they walked into school. nevertheless today, Sydney, I have seven grandchildren and also also also I worry about them every single day. So I’m not going to wait until a tragedy happens here in brand new Hampshire. We’re going to make sure in which we support common sense gun safety.

the item doesn’t sound as if you’re in favor of repealing the Second Amendment.

No, of course not. What I am supporting can be common sense gun safety and also also also particularly creating sure our children are safe in our schools.

What else can be on the agenda for today?

We’re talking to a lot of people like yourself and also also also getting a lot of phone calls. and also also also boy, I’m going to be glad to meet with some voters and also also also have a cup of coffee with them in which morning.

If I were you, I could definitely need a cup of coffee.

[laughs]

I desire you’ve had one already.

A style of in which article appears in print on , on Page A21 of the brand new York edition with the headline: Democrat Warns, ‘Do Not Underestimate Me’. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe