Hillbilly Elegy in N.H.: Victoria Sullivan’s Kentucky Connection

Failed Mayoral Candidate Closely Tied to Ron Paul/Rand Paul Movement

Jon Hopwood
4 min readMay 15, 2023
“Landslide Vicky” lost her New Hampshire race despite endorsement by a US Senator from Kentucky

MANCHESTER, NH — Victoria Sullivan, who has been a resident of the Queen City for around baker’s dozen years but believes her earlier residency in neighboring Goffstown should count towards making her a true Manchesterite, is politically bound to Kentucky, the state that spawned Republican Senatorial candidate J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy.

“Landslide Vicky” Sullivan was endorsed for her political race in New Hampshire by Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator, Rand Paul. I guess the cross-border appeal wasn’t strong enough.

A Border State that flirted with joining the Confederacy, the culture of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is very different than that of New Hampshire. Kentuckians are not New Englanders, let alone the French Canadian Catholics that her Republican opponent Rich Girard has accused Sullivan of slurring.

Approximately 10% of Catholics, with Louisville’s Catholic population exceeding 17%. This is rock-rib whitelight, low church Protestant country.

About one-quarter of Manchesterites are served by the Diocese of Manchester, according to its website. That is the same as the average for the state, which is 26% according to a Pew research survey. That places the Granite State in the Top 10 of states as ranked by the Catholic population.

Kentucky ranks #39, with 10%.

By contrast, Kentucky ranks #3 in terms of evangelical Christians as part of the population, with 49%. New Hampshire ranks 45th, with 13% of Granite Staters identifying themselves as evangelicals.

Rand Paul started out in life being baptized as an Episcopalian, which his father, former Congressman Ron Paul, belonged to until he quit the church over its stand on abortion. Ron Paul now attends a Baptist church, and his son Rand attended a Baptist college but wound up Presbyterian.

The Washington Post reported that he did aggressively court evangelical voters during his run for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. His father had a great deal of evangelical Christian support during his 2012 presidential run, second only to Rick Santorum, a Catholic.

Victoria Sullivan is a Catholic, as she pointed out in a Facebook rebuttal to Rich Girard’s complaints over her comments about “French Canadian Catholics.”

The Blue Grass Stae overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, awarding nearly 63% of its vote to the Republican challenger to Hillary Clinton.

Trump did almost as well in 2020, racking up 62% of the vote to Joe Biden’s 36%. (Four years earlier, Hillary Clinton did not break the 33% threshold.)

In 2016, Hillary eked out a victory over Trump by 2,736 votes, 47.62% to 47.25%. Biden did much better, racking up nearly 53% of the vote to Trump’s 45%.

The Republicans hold 75 seats in the 100-member State House of Representatives and 30 of the 38 Senate seats in Kentucky. The pay of state legislators at $188.22 a calendar day plus a per diem of $166.10, both of which nearly equals the entire pay for the two-year terms of New Hampshire legislators, $200.

The Democratic party controlled Kentucky state government’s three branches — House, Senate and governorship — through the year 2000, when Republicans asserted themselves and won a share of power, sometimes controlling all three branches.

Liek New Hampshire, Kentucky is overwhelmingly white — 87.5% to 89.8%. The black population is 8.3% to 1.9%. The Granite State has less than a third of Kentucky, it’s 1.4 million people ranking it as the 41st most populous state whereas Kentucky is 26th with 4.5 million.

Not one of the original 13 colonies, Kentucky started out as a trans-Appalachian county of the new state of Virginia in 1776, which had large territorial ambitions, as did many of the original states. Kentucky might have been admitted to the Union in 1788 but for the anomaly that the petition was considered by Congress on the day before news of new Hampsbire’s ratification making the U.S. Constitution binding came before it. Since admitting Kentucky would have been under the Articles of Confederation, Congress decided to hold off until it could be done under the Constitution.

Kentucky became the 15th state in 172, soon after Vermont was admitted as the 14th. Aside from tobacco and the famous horse race that is the Kentucky Derby, it claims to be the birthplace of bluegrass music.

Unfortunately for Victoria Sullivan, her Kentucky connection left her singing the blues. She lost to Mayor Joyce Craig for the second time in a row and announced that she would not run for the office in 2023.