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Tang Williams, Mansharamani Lay Out Path to Victory in NH-02 GOP Primary Debate

Republican candidates Lily Tang Williams and Vikram Mansharamani see a chance to get to Congress representing the Democrat-leaning Second Congressional District, thanks to President Joe Biden’s mishandling of the economy.

“For the first time in 12 to 14 years we have a chance to win this seat,” Mansharamani said.

Mansharamani and Tang Williams met Monday night for the NHJournal CD-02 Primary Debate at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. One other Republican, Hanover businessman William Hamlen, was invited to participate but declined.

The two Republicans kept the conversation civil, and both focused on the theme that the economy is a mess and Republicans can fix it.

“The voters are in pain. It’s economic pain, it’s pain from inflation created by the government. We have to get control of inflation,” Mansharamani said.

Biden’s disastrous economy “is stealing the American Dream from Granite Staters, and especially young people,” Tang Williams said. People cannot afford groceries, or heating fuel, or health care; young people cannot afford to rent or buy their own home; and immigrants are coming to an America that is now longer the free and prosperous nation they sought.

“I feel obligated to save the American Dream,” Tang Williams said.

Democrat Rep. Annie Kuster’s decision not to seek reelection caught most in Granite State political circles by surprise — with the possible exception of former Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, who promptly announced his candidacy and was immediately endorsed by Kuster. Van Ostern is facing former Biden administration official Maggie Goodlander, wife of Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Add an open seat to the turmoil caused by Biden’s poor performance of late, and the Second Congressional District could be a GOP pick up opportunity. Mansharamani and Tang Williams hit their marks when asked about Biden and his apparent cognitive decline.

“It’s a total mess, it’s a disaster, our president is incapacitated and the world is on fire,” Mansharamani said.

Tang Williams, who talked about watching her mother die after suffering dementia, said she felt sorrow for Biden and anger at the Democrats who hid his seeming infirmities from voters.

“The Democratic machine wants to use a senile man to gain power,” she said.

They both argued Republican policies, in the wake of the economy under Biden, could draw voters across the aisle to back their candidacies.

“I don’t know any Democrats who appreciate inflation,” Mansharamani said. “Republicans have a wonderful message and it works.”

Tang Williams and her firebrand, patriotic personality were on display. During a light-hearted question asking her which superhero she would want to be, she answered “George Washington.”

“I didn’t grow up here. I admired him. He could have become king and he said no,” she said.

She stayed on message throughout the debate with her story of fleeing the repressive Communist regime in China to find freedom and opportunity in the U.S. 

“I’m on the Chinese Community Party blacklist. How more American do you want me to be?” Tang Williams said.

Entrepreneur Mansharamani is running as a business-world political outsider who can make free-market reforms, close the border, and bring fresh ideas to Washington. He also picked Superman.

“I’m an optimist. I believe we can solve these problems,” Mansharamani said.

One obstacle could be the Democrats fundraising advantage. Last week, Van Ostern announced raising $1 million, only to be trumped by Goodlander’s announcement that she’s raised $1.5 million. Asked if he would have the resources to be competitive in November, Mansharamani offered a one-word answer:


Tang Williams said she has $300,000 in cash on hand, and that her large social media following could make up any financial deficit.

“Money can buy ads, but money cannot buy votes,” she said.

Both Tang Williams and Mansharamani are relatively recent transplants to the Granite State, but that does not make them carpetbaggers, they said. Former Libertarian Tang Williams said she fell in love with New Hampshire and its state motto, “Live Free or Die.”

For Mansharamani, New Hampshire is where he found a place for his family. His special needs daughter got a place in a school in Lincoln where she was embraced and thrived. Mansharamani could see the community was home.

“We moved our life out here to make her life more possible,” he said.

Neither Tang Williams nor Mansharamani supported Donald Trump in the 2024 FITN primary (Mansharamani backed Nikki Haley, and Tang Williams declined to endorse any candidate). But both said they would support the former president.

“Nobody’s perfect, but America needs a leader now,” Tang Williams said.

Mansharamani used Trump talk to take a back-handed swing at Tang Williams, who ran for U.S. Senate in Colorado as a Libertarian Party candidate in 2016. Saying he supported Ambassador Nikki Haley in the primary, Mansharamani said he’d vote for Trump in the general election because he’s always voted Republican in every election. 

“I am a lifelong Republican; I have always voted Republican, and I will vote for the Republican nominee,” Mansharamani said.