Brian Wallstin

Digital Journalist

Brian has more than 20 years of experience in journalism.  He has done in-depth investigative reporting for a variety of publications, including The Houston Press where he was a staff writer for more than eight years.  As Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri, he taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Journalism.  He has held several editorial positions, including four and a half years as City Editor for  the Columbia Missourian, and has been a contributor to, notably during the 2012 elections.    Brian has a B.J. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  

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Wednesday is the deadline for candidates for state elected office to file campaign finance reports, detailing how much money they’ve raised and spent since the primary.


But these reports will give us only a glimpse of how the political dollars are flowing this year.


Following trends in recent elections, outside groups are expected to make a considerable investment to try and sway voters before they go to the polls less than three weeks from now.


Save the Children Action Network


Early-learning programs have always been a tough sell in New Hampshire. Child advocates and educators have tried for years to break lawmakers’ resistance to the idea, yet a proposal to put more 5-year-olds in all-day kindergarten can still roil Concord for months.

A Washington, D.C. political group with deep pockets, a team of lobbyists and a small army of volunteers wants to change that.

Spending by outside political groups in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race reached $50 million this week, fueled by a recent barrage of negative ads sponsored by a super PAC supporting Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte.

Granite State Solutions has booked an estimated $11 million in TV ads on Boston stations through mid-October. All 2,800 of the 30-second spots, which are scheduled to run through mid-October, attack Ayotte's challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan. 

Special interest groups spent nearly half a million dollars on the primary races for governor and state Legislature that ended Tuesday, led by a nonprofit social-welfare organization with ties to a prominent Concord lobbying firm.

Marc Nozell via Flickr CC

Control of the New Hampshire Senate in January is up for grabs after primary voters cast ballots for their party’s nominees yesterday. The results provided some clarity to general election races that will define many of the state's political and policy debates over the next two years.  


The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation is not your typical layover on the road to the Democratic nomination for governor. But if anyone can make the case for a former financial watchdog in the corner office, it might be Mark Connolly. 

He’s already written a book about it.

You might already be overwhelmed by the number of TV ads about this year's U.S. Senate race between Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan.  And if you're like a lot of people, you're confused about who's paying for all these 30-second commercials, and why.

Before you tune it out completely, here's a video guide to navigating the political advertising - and money - behind this important race.

 A substance-abuse treatment advocate who appeared in a political ad criticizing Gov. Maggie Hassan's handling of the state's drug crisis has resigned from the nonprofit she once led.

Melissa Crews stepped down from the board of HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery earlier this week, according to the Concord Monitor.

NHPR staff

Ted Gatsas isn’t the first candidate for governor to take advantage of a gap in New Hampshire’s election law that allows wealthy donors to dodge limits on campaign contributions.

But no one has benefited more from the so-called LLC loophole than the Manchester mayor.

For more than a year, Melissa Crews has been the public face of HOPE for New Hampshire Recovery, a non-profit that supports people struggling with drug addiction.

She’s authored op-eds, sat for newspaper and television interviews and appeared side-by-side with elected officials to lobby for more money for substance-abuse treatment.

Last week, she took on another role: mouthpiece for a Republican political group that blames Gov. Maggie Hassan for hundreds of drug-related overdose deaths.

As expected, the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan is on pace to become the most expensive political campaign in New Hampshire history. With more than three months to go before Election Day, the contest is already awash in cash: Total spending stands at $34 million.

istock photo

New Hampshire has joined a nationwide effort to block the proposed merger of Anthem and Cigna, the state’s two largest health insurers.

New Hampshire is one of a dozen states that have signed on to a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice, challenging Anthem’s plans to purchase Cigna for $54 billion. The suit alleges the merger would reduce competition for millions of Americans who receive health insurance from their employers or through the Affordable Care Act.


New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program finally got off the ground in April, with the opening of the state’s first cannabis treatment center. Three of the four state-licensed dispensaries are now operating, and more than 1,100 people with serious illnesses are approved to use the drug.

But many, if not most, of the New Hampshire residents who could potentially benefit from medical marijuana won’t be able to legally obtain it.

Physicians licensed to prescribe a medication that reduces cravings and eases withdrawal for people addicted to heroin and other opioids will now be allowed to treat more patients.


Under new rules announced Wednesday by the Obama administration, physicians who prescribe Suboxone can treat 275 patients at a time, up from 100.


Jeff Pearson became addicted to heroin more than 30 years ago. Along the way, he racked up 80 drug-related offenses, went to prison five times and made dozens of rehab attempts, including several years standing in line for his daily dose of methadone.

In January, Pearson received a prescription for Suboxone, a medication that suppresses the symptoms of withdrawal. Four months later, he’s still surprised he’s not foraging for drugs every day, like he did for so many years.

Talk to people on the front lines of New Hampshire’s opioid crisis, and most of them will agree that addiction is a chronic disease. Yet there is still resistance to using medication to treat it.

Tym Rourke, who chairs the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, says that some substance-abuse programs refuse to use methadone or Suboxone.

NHPR Staff

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday on whether a lawsuit over the state’s handling of child abuse and neglect cases should be open to the public.

The details of these types of lawsuits are almost always sealed by court order.

But attorneys for an adoptive family of two young victims of sexual abuse told the court that the case should be heard in open court.

All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with NHPR digital reporter Brian Wallstin, who has reported on this case and attended the hearing at the Supreme Court.

 A hearing before the state Supreme Court on Tuesday will center on a sensitive question: Should lawsuits involving child abuse and neglect be open to the public?


The issue stems from a series of high-profile cases in New Hampshire in which two children died and two others were sexually abused. Almost without exception, the details of these types of lawsuits are sealed by court order, making them among the most secretive legal proceedings in the state.


A non-profit organization that trains volunteers to represent child victims in neglect and abuse cases is asking lawmakers to grant it immunity from civil and criminal liability.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As a former lobbyist for the New Hampshire banking industry, Jerry Little had little trouble raising money for his 2014 campaign for state Senate.


Of the more than $100,000 in contributions Little collected, more than a third came from donors with ties to the financial sector. Little, a Republican, went on to win his race by a comfortable margin.


Three weeks after the First in the Nation Presidential Primary, nine months before the November election, and New Hampshire is already on to a new round of political ads.

It began today with a 30-second spot from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, which features her 11-year-old daughter, Kate.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Here's a twist in an election year in which the role of money is a dominant theme: A Super PAC created to blunt the influence of Super PACs in key political races is jumping into the Senate contest between Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Gov. Maggie Hassan.

With the 2016 presidential campaign now entrenched in Nevada and South Carolina, local television stations are closing the books on the New Hampshire Primary.

Sara Plourde/NHPR

One of the more closely-watched Senate contests of 2016 won’t be bound by a so-called people’s pledge after all.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the Republican incumbent, and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan have failed to reach an agreement to limit the influence of outside political groups in the race.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

For months after announcing his White House bid, Bernie Sanders didn’t run a single campaign commercial on television. But he was everywhere online: emails, social media posts and paid ads on desktop computers and mobile devices.

Sanders has spent $10 million building a presence on the Internet, more than anyone else running for president this year. While the Vermont senator has hardly turned his back on TV, he’s betting that the voters most likely to embrace his vision for the country are online, not in front of a 50” flat-screen.

Donald Trump likes to point out that, unlike everyone else running for president in 2016, he’s got the money to pay his own way to the Republican nomination.

Bernie Sanders may be running an unconventional campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. But to close the sale with New Hampshire voters, he has put his money on a rather conventional means: television advertising.

Brian Wallstin for NHPR

When Bill Binnie launched WBIN-TV in 2011, less than a year after losing the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, his goal was to bring more competition to New Hampshire political coverage.

Binnie had another incentive, of course: The tens of millions of dollars spent on political advertising during the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

Every four years, New Hampshire Primary candidates and their supporters buy up hours of commercial time on local TV in hopes of attracting potential voters.

But, this year, all the advertising has not translated into more support, especially on the Republican side.

NHPR’s digital reporter Brian Wallstin has been tracking the primary-ad war and he’s giving NHPR's All Things Considered the lay of the land.

So, here we are – a little more than two months before the primary. Are viewers sick of all the political ads yet?

Compared to some of his rivals, Marco Rubio hasn’t been seen much in the Granite State, either in person or on TV.

That’s about to change.