Former Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern may be racking up endorsements within the Granite State’s Democratic establishment, but his primary opponent in the race to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster is bringing in some political heavyweights of her own.

Former Biden administration official Maggie Goodlander showed up at the secretary of state’s office in Concord on Wednesday to formally file her campaign paperwork flanked by a group of supporters that included former Democratic U.S. Rep Dick Swett, former U.S. Ambassador Terry Shumaker, and Dr. Susan Lynch, wife of popular former Democratic Gov. John Lynch — and who is supporting Van Ostern.

Van Ostern was given frontrunner status in Granite State political circles when Kuster declared him her heir apparent, and he has a long list of endorsements from current and former Democratic officeholders. But Goodlander also has some big names on board, including 2018 gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly and former state Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick.

Asked about the perception that the state’s Democratic establishment is backing her opponent, Goodlander told NHJournal she’s running a “people-powered campaign” that is “lucky to have so many grassroots leaders.”

“We’re going to work our hearts out to earn every vote we can,” she added.

Swett, who held Kuster’s seat from 1991 to 1995, said Goodlander’s professional record outshines Van Ostern’s.

“If you look at Maggie’s record of accomplishment as a professional and compare that with (Van Ostert’s), I think you’re going to find a significant difference,” he said. “She’s a tough lady.

“She can go toe-to-toe, whether it’s impeachments (of former President Donald Trump) or other legal battles she’s waged over the course of her career, she has what it takes.”

That record includes time spent serving under U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland as a deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division. And Goodlander’s not shy about drawing attention to her role as counsel during the first Democrat-led House impeachment of Trump over abuse-of-power allegations stemming from a phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Archie, a young Maggie Goodlander supporter, greets her at the NH SOS office.

“In a time of deep national, constitutional instability, Second District voters should want a skilled, experienced congresswoman like Maggie whose background in all branches of our constitutional government, including in the armed services, will benefit our state and the country,” said Mike Lewis, a litigator and law professor who has engaged in major litigation on behalf of the civil rights of children.

Supporters greeted Goodlander with signs reading, “A Woman’s Place is in the United States House.” Several expressed disappointment in Kuster’s decision to abandon a career of promoting women candidates to back Van Ostern. Kuster is a founder of the Elect Democratic Women PAC.

Asked about the snub — and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s notable quote, “There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help each other!” — Goodlander offered a diplomatic answer.

“Madeleine Albright said a lot of really great things, and one thing that she did say that I think about every single day, is that we’ve got to balance optimism with worry,” Goodlander told NHJournal.

She also referenced Albright’s upbringing in what had been Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. “And I think she said that because she knew from her own experience what it looked like to grow up in a place that was not a democracy. So I’m going to fight every single day for our democracy, to stand up to extremists because that’s exactly what I’ve done,” Goodlander said.

Former Congressman Swett’s wife, Katrina Swett, offered a more pointed response to Kuster’s decision.

“I think that people are scratching their heads because we do need more women in Congress,” she said. “A woman’s place is in the House, and in the Senate, and the White House — all of those things are true.

“It would be great if Annie Kuster put her money where her mouth was and decided to support her.”

Goodlander’s mother, Betty Tamposi, who served as a Republican in the New Hampshire House and ran for the Second District seat in 1988, was also on hand Thursday. Goodlander, who used the Tamposi name in her campaign launch but rarely mentions it today, is counting on her Nashua roots to overcome the “carpetbagger” attacks that are all but certain to come.

In 2018 Goodlander and her husband, Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, bought a home in Portsmouth, located in New Hampshire’s other congressional district, valued at $1.2 million. Goodlander recently signed a lease on a Nashua property located inside Kuster’s district which created headlines after she said “there should be more renters in Congress.”

“As a Second District voter myself, I believe strongly this race will be decided by the people of our district – not by wealthy or powerful interests from outside our state,” Kuster recently remarked .

Goodlander brushed off those criticisms.

“I got into this race to fight for the values I learned growing up here, and no one does democracy like the state of New Hampshire, and no one believes in freedom more than the people of the Granite State,” Goodlander said. “The freedom to have a fair deal for hardworking people to be able to afford a life and to live the American Dream.

“I want to fight for these things on day one in Congress.”