Politics

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

FutUndBeidl

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Concealed weapons would again be allowed in and around the N.H. house chamber under a policy endorsed Thursday by the House rules committee.

Goffstown republican John Burt sponsored the change, which would restore polices in effect at the N.H. House from 2011 to 2013.

"When you have a gun free zone it’s a false sense of security. It really is, you know some people might feel good and say we are safe in there. We are really not."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

josh rogers/nhpr

Republicans loyal to former House Speaker Bill O’Brien say they won't recognize the Majority Leader named by House Speak Shawn Jasper.

About 100 House Republicans met behind closed doors to discuss how to make Bill O’Brien the official leader of the Republican caucus.

According to Bill O’Brien the goal is to ensure the House hews to a conservative agenda.

Under state GOP rules, O’Brien  is the Republican leader because he was the Republican Caucus's nominee for Speaker.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A number of familiar faces will lead key New Hampshire House committees.

Kelli True / NHPR

New Hampshire Republican Party chair Jennifer Horn is seeking a second term.

According to multiple media reports, Horn sent out an email to the state GOP Executive Committee this morning confirming her candidacy.

The party holds its annual meeting on Jan. 10 in Derry, when the chair will be formally elected.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

Via Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper has named former state Supreme Court Justice Chuck Douglas as House legal counsel.

Douglas's resume includes a term Congress, representing New Hampshire's 2nd district, and a stint as legal counsel for former governor Meldrim Thomson.

Douglas has also been counsel for the New Hampshire Republican state committee.

He now leads a Concord law firm, where he's  represented plaintiffs in lawsuits against the state on matters ranging from sexual harassment to judicial pensions.

NHPR’s Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition each Monday to talk about developments in New Hampshire Politics.

The implications of Shawn Jasper’s win over Bill O’Brien in the House Speaker election last week continue to emerge, don’t they?

Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It took multiple votes and more than 7 hours, but the NH House did choose a new speaker Wednesday – Hudson Republican Shawn Jasper.

Support from Democrats lifted Jasper to an upset win over former Speaker Bill O’Brien, who Republicans nominated to lead the House last month.  

The first sign that yesterday might not end well for Bill O’Brien, came early, when Republicans tried to alter the proposed rules for electing a Speaker.

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.

This story appears courtesy MPBN News.

NHPR Staff

As she presented the cuts to the legislature’s joint fiscal committee, Governor Hassan told lawmakers there are two things driving New Hampshire’s growing budget shortfall.

"This is a challenge created by both tax law changes and increased demand and federal law changes in our Medicaid caseload."

These issues are familiar to budget watchers. Medicaid caseload are up – the publicity surrounding Medicaid expansion is one reason. Another are federal changes that have increased eligibility.

NHPR Staff

U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is praising outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel while criticizing President Barack Obama.

Ayotte, a Republican who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, opposed Hagel's confirmation in 2012 but said Monday he should be honored for his service to the country.

She also said the "national security failings" of the Obama administration rest with the president, not Hagel.

Her colleague on the committee, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, said she has the utmost respect for Hagel, who resigned Monday.

Courtesy Shaheen.Senate.gov

New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators are split on President Obama’s executive order on immigration preventing nearly five million people in the country illegally from being deported.

During a visit to Portsmouth Friday, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said there’s legal precedent for the president’s action.

But Shaheen said there’s more to work to be done.

“I think Congress needs to act. That’s the way to address this issue and to get it done in a way that addresses our border security and addresses our visa system – all of the aspects of immigration.”

NHPR Staff

School's now in session for New Hampshire's newly elected state representatives, who are spending two days touring the State House and learning the ropes of legislative procedure.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of two independents in the Senate. Now, the self-described socialist says he may run for president.

Sanders is aligned with Senate Democrats, but he has spoken lately of a problem with the Democratic coalition that elected President Obama. He says working-class white voters have abandoned Democrats in large numbers. The party, he says, has "not made it clear that they are prepared to stand with the working-class people of this country, take on the big money interests."

Brady Carlson

Republican Bill O'Brien has been nominated by fellow Republicans to become the next speaker of the New Hampshire House.

O'Brien, who served as speaker from 2011 to 2012, narrowly defeated Gene Chandler – also a former house speaker -- on Tuesday.

Prior to the vote, O'Brien told the GOP caucus by working together they could “turn NH into the crown jewel of New England.”

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Texas Governor Rick Perry’s itinerary  -- meetings with core Republican activists, stops at colleges, and a speech at an event celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps – was very much that of a candidate. 

In his remarks at the Marine event, Perry cited Russia, Iran, and ISIS, as reasons why the U.S. cannot afford a foreign policy, that is, as he put it, “lacking in clarity.” 

The secretary of state's office is preparing to recount ballots in 19 New Hampshire races, including one race for a state Senate seat. 

Officials will begin recounting ballots Wednesday in races in which candidates met the Friday 5 p.m. deadline for requesting a recount. 

Any candidate may request a recount if the difference between winning and losing is 1 percent or less. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A Republican wave may have swept across the country Tuesday night, but the red tide hit a granite breakwater in New Hampshire. Democrats here held three of four seats at the top of the ticket. Strategists are looking closely at what made the difference for Democrats here, and for lessons that can be taken forward.   

This election ran against former House Speaker Tip O’Neill’s dictum that “all politics is local”. In this case deep dissatisfaction with President Obama powered the GOP to gains in Congress and the retaking of the Senate majority.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

With her re-election now behind her, Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan’s second term comes with the challenge of working with a Republican-led Legislature and Executive Council.

During her campaign with Republican Walt Havenstein, Hassan often said her opponent’s fiscal policies would take the state back to the "devastating Bill O’Brien era."

With Republicans taking control of the House Tuesday, the governor may now have to work with the former House speaker, should he reclaim the post.

Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan buck national Republican trends; state republicans pick up seats in the State House and a look at the strength of the Democratic party's local political machine.  NHPR's senior political reporter Josh Rogers discusses some of the key midterm results with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley  on this special edition of On the Political Front.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The polls had predicted this race would be tight, and for a time last night, even after media outlets had declared Jeanne Shaheen the winner, Scott Brown briefly held a slim lead. But by nights end, it was Shaheen and her backers savoring a win in a contest party leaders here and in Washington wanted dearly.

“Tonight, tonight, the people of NH chose to put NH first.” 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democrat Maggie Hassan defeated Republican Walt Havenstein to claim a second term as governor. Despite a solid showing by Havenstein it was one of the first state races to be called last night.

Standing before her supporters in Manchester, Hassan cited familiar priorities and stressed that much work remains to be done.

“Together we will make it easier for our families to get ahead, by continuing our healthcare expansion, by holding down the cost of higher education, and by restoring or increasing the minimum wage in New Hampshire,” she said.

Governors in New Hampshire are rarely tossed after a single term, but this race ended up being tougher than expected. Walt Havenstein started a thirty point underdog, but the race became increasingly closer as the season progressed.

“To go from a standing start – 7 percent name recognition and Judy didn’t know who they were – to bringing this race to a competitive finish is an incredible accomplishment,” remembered Havenstein as he conceded defeat, “and you should all be proud of what you have done.”

Havenstein, who led two defense contracting firms, including BAE systems, dropped more than $2 million dollars of his own money into this race, but even so top Republicans knew Havenstein faced long odds.

“This contest was a little bit David and Goliath as I think everybody knows,” said State Senator Jeb Bradley, “Our David, Walt Havenstein fought the fight of his life, and came very close tonight,”

Kuster Wins Second Term

Nov 5, 2014
Melanie Plenda for NHPR

Democratic Congresswoman Anne Kuster won a second term last night, handily beating Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia in New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District race. With a margin off 55 to 45 percent, with 88 percent of the vote counted, Kuster’s victory was the most lopsided of the contests at the top of the ballot.

Even before Garcia called her to concede, Kuster took the stage at her Concord headquarters to declare victory. New Hampshire, she told her supporters, had taught the nation a lesson:

Marc Nozell via Flickr CC

Former state Rep. Kevin Avard upset Democrat incumbent Sen. Peggy Gilmour on Tuesday, adding at least one seat to the Republican’s majority in the New Hampshire Senate. 

Avard took 50.8 percent of the 21,335 ballots cast in the District 12 contest to beat Gilmour by 323 votes. The narrow margin gives Republicans a 14-10 majority in the Senate, with at least one race that was too close to call.

In District 7, Democratic incumbent Andrew Hosmer had a lead of about 100 votes over Republican challenger Kathy Lauer-Rago.

Election Day 2014: A Look At The Issues

Nov 4, 2014
Sara Plourde / NHPR

The mid-term elections are almost but not quite over - with polls still open in some New Hampshire communities.  This hour on The Exchange, as we wait for results to come in, we’re reflecting back on some of the major themes at play in 2014. 

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