Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Ohio governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich is coming back to New Hampshire this weekend — this time to lend a hand in a downticket race.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and vice-presidential candidate Bill Weld are campaigning in New Hampshire today. They'll be holding a rally in Concord's Eagle Square at 5:30. Earlier this afternoon they paid a quick visit to a frequent campaign stop-- the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. 


For political observers and journalists, there is something appealing about the idea of a bellwether town -- a place whose vote in an election consistently matches up with the statewide totals. Journalists can patrol the main streets of bellwethers for man-on-the-street interviews, confident they will feel shifts in the broader political winds.

But the data shows that true bellwethers are an endangered species in many parts of the country. 

NHPR

Democrat Colin Van Ostern and Republican Ted Gatsas are leading the cash race in the contest for governor.

Campaign finance reports filed Wednesday show Van Ostern has raised just over $1 million and Gatsas just below that amount, not including a $75,000 personal loan. The totals are significantly higher than their competitors. The primary is Sept. 13.

Republican Rep. Frank Edelblut has contributed $750,000 to his own campaign, giving him the highest cash on hand at this point.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Donald Trump will be back in New Hampshire Thursday.

The Republican presidential nominee is scheduled to hold a campaign rally at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester at 1 p.m. This will be his second trip to the state this month.

His visit comes after a major campaign shakeup: Trump last week named Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon as his campaign CEO, and promoted pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.

Campaign chairman Paul Manafort also stepped down.

When Governor Maggie Hassan talks about why she got into politics her explanation tends to center on her son, Ben.

“Right after he was born Tom and I learned that Ben had severe and pervasive physical disabilities.”

Less emphasized is the role of her father, Robert Wood, a pioneering academic and who held top government jobs -- and even considered his own run for United States Senate in Massachusetts.

Josh Rogers/NHPR

While campaigning in Manchester, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence reminded the audience that New Hampshire is where Trump got his first victory.  And he worked to reassure the crowd that despite reports to the contrary, the GOP nominee’s campaign has never been stronger.

Pence told the crowd he didn’t hesitate when Donald Trump asked him to be his running mate, because as he put it-- Donald Trump gets it. Pence suggested that those who don’t get that won’t ever understand.

New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster says hackers may have accessed her personal information as part of a breach that targeted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Democrat tells WMUR-TV she's working with the FBI and national security experts. She says "we're increasing our own security on all of our systems."

Jason Moon for NHPR

The political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England waded into the Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday morning when it endorsed Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. The move has exposed a disagreement among abortion rights activists over the role they should play in this election.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Donald Trump's New Hampshire campaign is adding staff, but the GOP nominee's local campaign still has far fewer paid employees than that of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Trump-Pence campaign has named three new hires, including Mark Sanborn, who will serve as the GOP ticket's state political director. Sanborn has experience in New Hampshire politics, including stints working for U.S. Senator Bob Smith and Congressman Charlie Bass.

The Trump campaign has also added a local coalitions director and a communications director.

josh rogers/nhpr

You can verify that New Hampshire is a presidential battleground by the campaign schedules of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. You can also see in in the attention Granite Staters are getting from vice presidential candidates.

When vice presidential candidates work the campaign trail, the goals tend to be straightforward: rally loyalists, raise money, attack the opposing party's nominee -- and avoid gaffes. By that standard, consider Senator Tim Kaine’s two days in New Hampshire a success.

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence will campaign in New Hampshire this week.

The Indiana Governor is scheduled to hold a town hall-style meeting at the Executive Court banquet center in Manchester Thursday.

It's Pence's first trip to the Granite State since being added to the ticket of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Natasha Haverty

Let’s just get this out of the way: it’s okay if you’ve been so distracted by the presidential race that you forgot about the state primary coming up in September. But now that we’re good, let’s look at one big question hanging over those smaller, state races:  what impact will the top of the ballot—the campaign everybody is thinking about—have on local elections? 

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

One-third of New Hampshire’s 24 senators are retiring this year, leaving 8 vacant seats. That’s a lot by recent standards, and it puts a big question mark over New Hampshire politics after Election Day. But those state Senate races haven’t exactly been in the spotlight in this busy election season.

Even the candidates acknowledge it.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Wednesday presented her proposals for how she would keep New Hampshire and the country safe if elected to the U.S. Senate this fall.

National security has been a hotly contested issue in the race between Hassan and her opponent, incumbent Sen.  Kelly Ayotte, who has questioned Hassan’s grasp of the topic.

Jason Moon for NHPR

A crowd of roughly 1500 supporters greeted Donald Trump at his campaign stop in Windham Saturday night. And while their enthusiasm was clear, many also expressed trepidation over the way Trump made headlines last week.

AP Photo / Evan Vucci

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used a speech in Windham last night to criticize his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Speaking to a crowd of several hundred supporters in a gymnasium at Windham High School, Trump went on the offensive, using a line of attack usually employed by Hillary Clinton against him.

“So ‘unstable Hillary’ she lacks the judgement, temperament and moral character to lead this country. She is a dangerous liar – her greatest achievement is that.”

Kate Harper for NHPR

A new WBUR poll of New Hampshire voters shows that Democrat Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over her Republican rival Donald Trump in this year’s general election. The poll also has good news for Democrat Maggie Hassan’s bid to unseat Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte. Steve Koczela joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to dissect the results of the poll. Koczela is president of MassINC Polling Group, which conducted the WBUR survey.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Each year since 2010, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity has asked New Hampshire candidates to sign onto a “pledge” vowing to cut taxes and spending, as well as to oppose the Affordable Care Act.

And usually, the Republicans running for governor are quick to sign on. That's not the case this year.

Jason Moon for NHPR

New Hampshire’s largest public employee labor union is throwing its weight behind Democrat Colin Van Ostern in his bid for governor. It’s the latest in a spate of union endorsements in the race.

Jason Moon for NHPR

As Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Philadelphia last night, supporters in New Hampshire took in the moment at watch parties across the state.

Inside the offices of the Portsmouth Democratic Committee, about 30 people sat in folding chairs to watch the Democratic National Convention unfold.

As they waited for Hillary Clinton’s speech, the group heard from former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and spoke via speakerphone to New Hampshire delegates on the convention floor.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Even as she sat in the lobby of her hotel Thursday morning, hours before the convention was scheduled to gavel in, just a simple question was enough to move Judi Lanza to tears.

What would it be like for her, in the stands tonight, to watch Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic Party’s nomination?

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Ask around long enough on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and you’ll find plenty of critiques about New Hampshire’s place in the presidential nominating contest.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, a retired Navy rear admiral with New Hampshire ties described Donald Trump as too erratic to lead the nation’s military.

John Hutson, who served as dean of the UNH School of Law for a decade, criticized the Republican nominee for endorsing torture and for proposals he says would require U.S. troops to commit war crimes.

“This very morning, he personally invited Russia to hack us,” Hutson said. “That’s not law and order; that’s criminal intent.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State Senator Martha Fuller Clark was the only one of New Hampshire's eight superdelegates to support Sen. Bernie Sanders.

That's despite Sanders' 22-point victory in in the state in February. 

She cast her vote during Tuesday night's roll call at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

But now that Hillary Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee and Sanders has endorsed her, Fuller Clark says it's time for all Democrats to rally behind the former Secretary of State.

Back in February, Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by 22 points in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

But in the end, when the roll call took place on the floor of the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, the Granite State was a tie: Its 32 delegates to the convention ended up splitting evenly between Sanders and Clinton.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen  says it's time for Bernie Sanders supporters to unite behind presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

"We can't afford to have people sitting on the sidelines complaining," Shaheen said, speaking to NHPR's Morning Edition from Philadelphia.

"I am reminded of the 2000 race between Al Gore and George W. Bush when people who were not happy with Al Gore in New Hampshire voted for Ralph Nader and swung the state’s four electoral votes to George W. Bush and that was the election," Shaheen said.

Senator Bernie Sanders closed out the first night of the Democratic National Convention with a prime-time speech where he urged his supporters to carry on the campaign’s legacy while also uniting around Hillary Clinton.

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.

Allegra Boverman/NHPR

N.H. Democratic National Committeewoman Kathy Sullivan says she's "outraged" by leaked emails that seem to show Democratic National Committee officials favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders during the primary.

"I think somebody was asleep at the switch because when you have a neutrality rule in place, you’re supposed to follow the neutrality rule closely," Sullivan told NHPR's Morning Edition. "I was very disappointed to see that it was not followed at the DNC."

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