Biden national security adviser’s wife launches run for House seat in key swing state

A former Biden Administration senior official, and wife of the president’s national security adviser, is launching a bid for Congress in a key northeastern battleground state where she was born and raised.

Maggie Goodlander, the wife of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and a former top lawyer in Biden’s administration who served as a deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, on Thursday announced her candidacy for the open seat in New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District.

“I know how to get things done and deliver for New Hampshire,” Goodlander said in a statement. “I’ll be a workhorse for the people of the Second District and I’ll never stop fighting for a freer and more just Granite State.” 

The announcement is likely to elevate an already high-profile race to succeed longtime Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster in a blue-leaning, but competitive, district in a key general election battleground state.


Maggie Goodlander, former deputy assistant US attorney general, at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC, US, on Monday, March 27, 2023. Goodlander was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice where she oversaw the international, appellate, and policy work of the Antitrust Division.  (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Goodlander joins a burgeoning field of candidates aiming to succeed the six-term Kuster, who announced in late March that she would retire from Congress rather than seek re-election.

Goodlander could face plenty of scrutiny over Biden administration polices — both domestic and international — over her ties to Republicans, and over her residency. Goodlander’s congressional campaign will also likely draw national attention to the New Hampshire race and possibly garner high-profile endorsements.

Goodland married Sullivan nearly nine years ago when he was working as a foreign policy advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign. The couple’s wedding, attended by prominent political figures including Clinton, now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, was a snapshot of the couple’s long history in Democratic politics.


Sullivan worked as Klobuchar’s chief counsel before serving as an adviser on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign and later on former President Barack Obama’s general election presidential campaign.

He served as deputy chief of staff to Clinton during her years as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. After Clinton departed the administration, Sullivan became then-Vice President Biden’s top security aide. 

Sullivan speaks at White House daily briefing

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, March 18, 2024.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Sullivan then served as a top adviser on Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Four years later, he was one of Biden’s first appointments following the 2020 presidential election.

While not as well known nationally as her high-profile husband, Goodlander hails from a prominent New Hampshire family.


Her grandfather, Sam Tamposi, was a major player in state Republican politics. Her mother, Betty Tamposi, ran for the House in 1988 in the Second Congressional District but lost in the GOP primary.

In some ways, Goodlander’s story mirrors that of Kuster, the woman she’s trying to succeed in Congress. Kuster’s parents were prominent Republicans in New Hampshire, but she ran as a Democrat.

Rep. Annie Kuster announces she'll retire rather than seek re-election this year

Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire (NH-02) marches in an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2022, in Amherst, N.H.  (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

Goodlander, a Yale University and Yale Law School graduate, served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve and worked as an adviser to late Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. 

She also served as a law clerk to Attorney General Merrick Garland during his tenure as chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Goodlander joins a Democratic primary field that includes Colin Van Ostern, who worked as Kuster’s campaign manager in 2010 during her first run for Congress, and who later won two terms as a New Hampshire executive councilor before winning the 2016 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. 

Van Ostern launched his bid the day after Kuster’s retirement announcement and was endorsed by the incumbent a couple of weeks later.

While Van Ostern has landed a good deal of Granite State support, Goodlander’s entry into the race could potentially shift the landscape.

“I mean, it’s pretty rare to have someone of this caliber who is 37, with pretty unimpeachable roots in the district, a vast national network, and a demonstrable bipartisan record, who isn’t already an elected official. It would be a really exciting dynamic in one of the nation’s top congressional races,” a veteran Democratic operative in New Hampshire who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely told Fox News.

State Sen. Becky Whitley, a progressive Democrat, is also running to succeed Kuster.

Eight Republicans, including 2022 Senate candidate Vikram Mansharamani and Lily Tang Williams, who’s making her second straight bid for the congressional nomination, are running. 

Goodlander’s campaign announcement highlighted her roots in Nashua, “the city her family has called home for over 100 years.”

A video announcing her campaign also spotlights those roots, with Goodlanders’ mother explaining that she gave birth to Maggie after voting in Nashua on Election Day.

But for years, Goodlander and Sullivan have spent much of their time in the nation’s capital because of work.

The couple owns a home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. While the port city on the New Hampshire Seacoast is located in the state’s First Congressional District, the geography won’t prevent Goodlander from running in the Second District. The U.S. Constitution only mandates that a candidate must reside in the state in which they are running in, not the specific congressional district.


The most recent high-profile example of a Democratic congressional candidate in New Hampshire campaigning in a district outside their residence was six years ago, when Levi Sanders — the son of Sen. Bernie Sanders — ran in the First District even though he lived in the Second District.

While Goodland grew up in the Second District, records reviewed by Fox News Digital show that the last time Goodlander voted there was by absentee ballot for the 2008 presidential primary and general elections.

Goodlander registered to vote in New Hampshire’s First District in 2016.

Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this report

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.


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