Mitt Romney’s decision to skip a third run for president leaves the New Hampshire's GOP presidential primary without a clear early front-runner.
Mitt Romney had been publicly flirting with a 2016 run for the past three weeks. On Wednesday he made a campaign-style trip to Mississippi, but little more than a day later he used conference calls to tell his staunchest backers that he’s decided it is best to clear the way for others leaders in his party.
Jim Merrill ran both of Romney’s N.H. campaigns. He said he didn’t see this coming.
Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas told lawmakers he will make up most of the $58 million hole in his budget through $45 million in cuts and savings, including trims for community health centers and family planning programs.
But the issue rankling lawmakers the most is $7 million of payment cuts to nursing homes.
Toumpas told the legislature’s fiscal committee those cuts were a tough call.
“I just had not a whole lot of options, in terms of what we needed to do.”
New Hampshire's top health official warned lawmakers his department’s current budget has what amounts to an $82 million shortfall. The legislature’s fiscal committee meets Friday to consider a proposal by the Governor to balance the state budget by July.
As he briefed the house finance committee, Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas stressed what many lawmakers already know – that his department faces a tough balance sheet.
Two progressive groups – Democracy for America and MoveOn.org – launched a campaign in New Hampshire this weekend to urge Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president.
On Saturday, around 75 fans of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren packed a small conference room in one of Manchester’s mill buildings. Many held signs that promoted a presidential candidate as much as it did a populist cause.
GOP candidates clockwise from top left: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
Credit NHPR Staff/Photo of Jeb Bush courtesy World Affairs Council, Chris Christie photo courtesy NJ National Guard
The state budget is facing a $30 million dollar shortfall, according to the Legislative Budget Office. Legislative budget assistant Jeff Pattison briefed lawmakers today. He stressed that the number could grow or shrink between now and the end of the fiscal year.
“We are looking at about a 30 million dollar problem, but that’s as of January 14th. There are a lot of things that are going to be happening between now and June 30th. My expectation is these numbers will still be changing when we get to the committee of conference in June.”
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a likely Republican presidential candidate, is returning to New Hampshire with a full day of events including meetings with lawmakers, activists and business leaders.
Paul's visit will begin Wednesday with a breakfast in Manchester with state legislators. He'll then meet privately with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, attend a pro-Second Amendment rally, speak at a forum on Common Core, tour a charter school and end the day meeting with business leaders and activists.
NHPR’s Josh Rogers joins Rick Ganley Monday mornings to discuss developments on New Hampshire’s political front.
Governor Hassan has begun her second term. Republicans voted Saturday to give Jennifer Horn another turn as party chair. And back to work for lawmakers in Concord. Let’s start with the GOP state committee meeting over the weekend, the re-election of Jennifer Horn. Significant?
Today, Governor Maggie Hassan begins her second term facing a far different political landscape than she faced two years ago. Scroll down for real-time updates from the Statehouse featuring news, tweets from NHPR reporters and photos by Allegra Boverman. Click through additional photos in the gallery above.
Visit the official inaugural committee website here.
The New Hampshire House rejected an effort by backers of former Republican Speaker Bill O'Brien to install him as House majority leader. But O’Brien says he’s still moving forward with plans to form his own leadership team.
Backers of O’Brien knew they faced long odds in trying to get a House majority to reject the course it set just last month when members chose Shawn Jasper as speaker, but that didn’t stop them.
Steve Stepanek of Amherst told colleagues the very future of the house depended on ensuring that caucuses -not any speaker - get final say on who should lead.
Legislators can again carry concealed weapons on the floor of the N.H. House and in the legislative office building after the Republicans-led house voted to undo a prohibition on the practice put in place two years ago by Democrats.
The 228-149 vote came following a debate where Democrats like Len DiSesa, former deputy police chief in Portsmouth, argued allowing guns in the chamber risks public safety.
“The only people who should be armed in the House of Representatives are trained police officers.”
Fights over Republican leadership and whether to allow guns in the House chamber will take center stage during the opening day of the New Hampshire legislative session.
House and Senate members meet Wednesday to officially begin the session. Sparks are likely to fly among two factions of House Republicans, as backers of Rep. Bill O'Brien will attempt to install him as the majority leader by changing House rules and going against Speaker Shawn Jasper. House members will also vote on whether to allow concealed weapons in the chamber.
Governor Maggie Hassan’s inaugural committee says it’s raised more than $200,000 dollars. State law permits such donations to remain private but a spokesman for the committee says the names and contribution amounts will be made available.
State law has never required the disclosure of inauguration donors, but one governor – John Lynch -- took the step of filing reports with the secretary of state’s office anyway.
Each Monday, NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins me on Morning Edition for On The Political Front, a conversation about the week ahead in politics.
Listen to the segment below, or scroll down to read the interview.
Governor Hassan will be inaugurated for her second term Thursday. The legislature holds its first session day Wednesday. Let’s start with the governor. She faces a different political landscape than when she first won office in 2010.
A lawsuit pitting the Libertarian Party against the State of New Hampshire passed a crucial test this week.
The lawsuit seeks to overturn a law passed in 2014 that gives third party candidates less time to collect the necessary signatures to run for Senate or Governor.
That time limit makes it nearly impossible for third party candidates to run for those offices, alleges the Libertarian Party, which is being represented in this case by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.
The state budget will serve as the political battleground between Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican lawmakers in the upcoming session, with state spending on universities, prisons and services for vulnerable populations at the center.
The state is facing more than $100 million in new costs driven by one settlement with hospitals over a controversial tax and another with the federal government over mental health services.
The man appointed by House Speaker Shawn Jasper to lead House Republicans held his first GOP caucus on Wednesday. Brookline lawmaker Jack Flanagan says he expects resistance from some backers of former House Speaker Bill O'Brien, but expects the controversy over who is the rightful leader of Republicans in the House to fade.
On Wednesday afternoon, Flanagan caucused privately with about 100 House Republicans. Flanagan said the stated goal was to gather input of policy priorities for the next two year session.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper was censured Monday night by the executive committee of NH's republican party.
The censure resolution, which was adopted on a 17-9 vote, says Jasper placed his own interest above the interest of the Republican party when he opposed former house speaker Bill O'Brien in the race for the house's top job.
The censure carries no penalty but won adoption over a weaker sanction that sought to express the GOP's "unqualified disapproval."
Jasper's censure comes as he prepares for a house republican caucus meeting called for Wednesday.
Newly elected New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper is planning to announce committee chairs for the upcoming legislative session.
Jasper, a Republican who won the speakership largely with support from Democrats, has promised to appoint only Republicans to serve as chairs and vice chairs. He will announce his appointments Thursday. The House has 21 committees, ranging from criminal justice and public safety to health, human services and elderly affairs.
Former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina is returning to New Hampshire to discuss proposed solutions to the economic challenges facing the state and nation.
Fiorina, a Republican and former candidate for U.S. Senate in California, has made several trips this year to New Hampshire, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. On Friday, she'll be the keynote speaker at a breakfast meeting hosted by the Independent Business Council of New Hampshire and Republican Frank Guinta, who was elected to the U.S. House last month.
The discovery of 21 so-called "phantom ballots" in Maine's state Senate District 25 has Democrats crying foul. All 21 ballots were cast in Long Island for Republican Cathleen Manchester. Some Democratic officials are calling on Maine's Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to intervene. But Dunlap says the outcome of the disputed election is up to the Maine Senate.