Rising Stars of the Northeast

These four political leaders are making headway and have become representatives of their respective ideologies.

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Whether one is a Republican or Democrat, there are new, young faces that represent their respective parties. From far-left Progressives to Trumpian Republicans, there are representatives of every ideological thought.

Governor Chris Sununu (R-NH)

A lovable moderate Republican from the Granite State, Governor Chris Sununu has been able to successfully straddle the Trump base while simultaneously securing votes from both Independents and moderate Democrats. Running as a social moderate and economic conservative/libertarian in 2016, Sununu was able to rally disaffected Obama voters into joining his voting coalition and beat his opponent, Colin van Ostern 49% to 46.7%, a healthy 17,000 votes. In addition, he was able to run ahead of then-President-elect Trump by 2.5 percentage points, laying the groundwork for New England Republicans who will run for office in the near future. His crossover appeal is one of his biggest assets, as is his record as governor. The most important of his executive actions have been met with widespread approval, including when it comes to addressing the COVID pandemic. According to the most recent UNH survey, Governor Sununu has a 71% approval rating on COVID, and a 69% overall approval, netting him the #5 spot of most approved governors in the nation. 

It is uncertain what the future holds for him, as rumors have been circulating as to whether he will run for Senate in 2022, return to the governorship, or even be a VP contender in 2024.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

Whether you love her or despise her, it is undeniable AOC has taken Washington DC by storm. Winning unexpectedly during New York’s 14th District primary race immediately launched her into the spotlight, for various reasons. First, her opponent Joe Crowley was the 4th highest-ranking Democrat in the House and was rumored to be next in line for the speakership, a title very few have had the privilege of holding. Running to the left of a Hillary Clinton surrogate after 2016 in one of the most liberal districts in the country was a bet that paid off for Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. Now a 2-term member of Congress with a lot of media exposure, expect AOC to push for more reforms and more power in varying committees for herself and other progressive members.

It is also worthy to note that AOC has not ruled out a Senate primary of Chuck Schumer in 2022, which could be potentially catastrophic for Democrats if they are matched with a viable Republican contender. Although New York is a solid-D state, nominating a far-left Progressive would definitely put the seat in jeopardy, with potential Independents and moderate-leaning Democrats willing to vote Republican.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY)

Elected in the 2014 “red wave”, Congresswoman Stefanik has quietly but surely become one of the GOP’s rising stars in Congress. Running as a moderate Republican from Upstate NY, Stefanik cruised through her primary and general, winning by a healthy 20.5% margin. Pro-life and a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment, Stefanik has been a strong voice for social conservatives, even speaking during a primetime spot at the 2020 RNC Convention. At only 36 years old, the sky’s the limit for this young Congresswoman.

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT)

A young progressive elected in 2018’s “blue wave”, Congresswoman Hayes, a former Connecticut Teacher of the Year recipient, won by 11% in Connecticut’s 5th district. With a compelling story and an endorsement from former President Barack Obama, Hayes cruised through the primaries and general election against former Mayor of Meriden, Manny Santos. Since taking office, she has voted with the Progressive Caucus on many issues, including debt relief to those most at risk of falling into poverty. At 47 years old, there is a lot more to be expected from this experienced educator.

UNH Survey Center, “Sununu’s NH Job Approval Remains High; Handling of COVID-19 Falls 12/2/2020” (2020). All UNH Survey Center Polls. 628. 
https://scholars.unh.edu/survey_center_polls/628

“Governor Rankings.” Morning Consult, 4 Jan. 2021, morningconsult.com/governor-rankings/

 “Jahana Hayes.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Jahana_Hayes. 

“Elise Stefanik.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Elise_Stefanik. 

“Chris Sununu.” Ballotpedia, 2020, ballotpedia.org/Chris_Sununu. 

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