In the Race

Maggie Goodlander, Jake Sullivan’s wife and former White House official, running for Congress in New Hampshire

Goodlander has more recently focused on domestic issues, but has a background in foreign policy

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Maggie Goodlander announced on Thursday that she is jumping into the race in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District.

Maggie Goodlander, a former White House official and wife of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, has jumped into the likely competitive race for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.

The district, rated by the Cook Political Report as “Likely Democrat,” is currently held by retiring Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH). Kuster chairs the center-left New Democrat Coalition.

Though she has more recently focused on domestic issues and policy, Goodlander has a background in foreign affairs. 

Earlier in her career, Goodlander served as a national security and foreign affairs adviser to former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), before going on to work for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). She was also a staffer for Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress, and an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserves.

While at Yale University, Goodlander conducted research fellowships in the Middle East, including in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Libya.

As a White House senior adviser, her most recent administration role, Goodlander focused on domestic issues, including opioid, mental health, big tech, veterans and cancer policy. She also served as an official in the Department of Justice under the Biden administration, tackling anti-monopoly cases.

She was previously a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and then-Chief D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland and as counsel on the House Judiciary Committee in the first Trump impeachment trial.

Goodlander faces stiff competition, including from Colin Van Ostern, a former member of New Hampshire’s state executive council who has endorsements from Kuster and a slew of current and former in-state officials

Van Ostern had raised $329,000 as of the end of March. Becky Whitley, a New Hampshire state senator, has also declared her candidacy.

Goodlander’s time out of state could raise an early potential hurdle — records show she hasn’t voted in the district since 2008, although she reportedly moved back to New Hampshire before she announced her congressional run. She was an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire from 2019 to 2021.

In her campaign announcement on Thursday, she highlighted that she was born in the district, that her family has lived there “for over 100 years” and that her mother served in the New Hampshire Statehouse and made a failed run for Congress in the same district.

Goodlander’s video also lays out her career in Washington, as well as a miscarriage, emphasizing “the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs” and a focus on abortion rights.

“The fact is, the bullies have too much power in America right now. Right-wing judges, extreme politicians, big corporations all have too much power,” she said. “I’m ready to take these bullies on.”

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