HAMPTON FALLS — Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards will be attending a summer picnic at the Ahearn home on Sunday, Aug. 26.
The Democratic presidential hopeful will be attending the picnic, sponsored by the Hampton Democratic Committee, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, and two children Emma Claire and Jack. The picnic is being held rain or shine from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Pitlochry Farm, the home of Elaine and David Ahearn of Hampton Falls. David Ahearn is the Rockingham County treasurer.
Hampton Democratic Committee Chairman Gary Patton is excited to have the senator and his wife be a part of the 10th annual picnic.
"It's exciting because he's one of the top tier candidates," said Patton.
Picnic host and Hampton Falls Democratic Committee Chairwoman Elaine Ahearn is equally excited to see Edwards as she is his wife. "Elizabeth Edwards is an amazing woman," she said.
Patton agrees. "It's not only Senator Edwards, it's his wife, Elizabeth. She is very much admired."
Elizabeth has Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, which is considered incurable. In a previous news conference in March, the couple vowed to continue their normal lives and have carried on in pursuit of the Democratic presidential bid.
Senator Edwards was a trial lawyer before entering politics. He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Fairclough in North Carolina's 1998 Senate election. He eventually became the Democratic candidate for vice president, the running mate of presidential nominee and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. After the election, Edwards began working full time at the One America Committee, a political action committee he established in 2001, and was appointed director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law.
On Dec. 27, 2006, Edwards announced his entry into the 2008 presidential election.
In addition to a speech by Edwards, local Democratic officials will be given an opportunity to speak at the picnic.
Other prominent Democrats expected to attend include Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Executive Council member Beverly Hollingworth, State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, State Sen. Maggie Wood Hassan and House Speaker Terie Norelli; as well as state representatives and office holders from the region. Three Democrats, Dr. Jay Buckey, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, and Dr. Katrina Swett, who are seeking the Democratic party's nomination for the United States' Senate, have also been invited.
In past years, the picnic has featured many significant Democrats, including Joe Lieberman in 2002, former Gov. Jean Shaheen in 2003, Gov. John Lynch in 2004, Tom Vilsack of Iowa in 2005 and last year was Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania.
"It's nice because normally town committees don't do all those kinds of speakers," said Patton.
Both Ahearn and Patton hope to have a wonderful sunny day, with good food and all are welcome. According to Patton, "we draw from as far away as Derry in the West. We draw from Dover and Strafford County also," he said. "It's strictly not a local event."
Even Republicans are welcome to the picnic, Patton said. "This is wide open for anybody with $10," he said. "Republican, Democrat, non-partisan, all are welcome."
For more information or tickets to this event, call Hampton Democratic Committee chairman Gary Patton at 926-9358 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.