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


Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan had a stronger fundraising quarter than her U.S. Senate rival, incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Coming on the heels of last year's prolonged budget fight, with negotiations stretching months longer than usual, the 2016 session of the New Hampshire Legislature can't help but seem a bit sleepier. But, in fact, it was a busy few months for lawmakers.

Things kicked off early, actually, with a special session in November to address the state's opioid crisis. Lawmakers eventually worked through more than 1,000 bills, wrapping things up late last month. 

When the owner of Coed Sportswear in Newfields introduced Chris Sununu during a tour of the business a few weeks back, he included a line Sununu’s probably used to hearing by now. 

“He comes from a political family that has a long history of, from my perspective, making the right decisions for our country,” Mark Lane told his staff at the sportswear company, listing off one of several reasons he wanted Sununu to speak to them.

The long-running drama over Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server during her time as secretary of state came to some resolution today as FBI Director James Comey announced that while Clinton was "extremely careless" in handling classified information, she should not face charges.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Among the Democrats running for governor this year is Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. He's a candidate who's no stranger to running political campaigns and is now seeking statewide office for the first time.

 Fourth of July events can draw huge crowds - and in an election year, those crowds can draw candidates. If you're looking to learn a little bit more about New Hampshire political hopefuls before you see them in parades or catch their ads on TV, NHPR's newsroom has something that might help.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Donald Trump was back in New Hampshire Thursday. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a private, town hall style event at a shuttered light bulb plant in Manchester.

It was Trump’s second trip here in just the last few weeks, and behind the scenes, there’s been a shakeup in his New Hampshire campaign since his last visit.

Michael Brindley/NHPR

“Keep it simple. Get it done.” That's the slogan Republican Ted Gatsas is using in his campaign for governor. It’s a theme the Manchester Mayor has turned to time and time again throughout his political career. 

Jason Moon for NHPR

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called for the U.S. to scale back its trade deals with foreign nations during an invitation-only speech in Manchester yesterday. Trump used a now shuttered light-bulb factory as the backdrop.

As Donald Trump events go, it was a modest affair. Only about 150 supporters sat on folding chairs in a parking lot nestled around back of the former Osram Sylvania plant in Manchester. But as Trump made clear again and again, the setting was the point.

Donald Trump roared into Bangor Wednesday afternoon into the collective embrace of about 5,000 loyal supporters at the Cross Center. The audience applauded the presumptive Republican nominee’s promises of great trade deals, expanded job opportunities and a no-exceptions immigration policy that he says will make America safe.

All of the campaign hoopla played well in the heart of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, where large numbers of conservative voters could hand Trump one Electoral College vote if he carries the region in November.

Casey McDermott for NHPR

New Hampshire's Executive Council has approved state funding for Planned Parenthood.

The 3-2 vote on a family planning contract comes ten months after the council rejected an almost identical contract by the same margin.

Chris Sununu has voted for state contracts with Planned Parenthood , and he's voted against them.

This one, which would send $638,000 to seven clinics, five run by Planned Parenthood. It would subsidize low cost birth control, STD testing, and cancer screenings. 

The fight over the contract could prove a big moment in the race for governor. Democrats, including fellow councilor and gubernatorial candidate Colin Van Ostern are pushing Sununu, who identifies as pro-choice, to support the contract. 

via C-Span

Mark Connolly is running for Governor. Today, he runs his own small investment company. But his resume runs the spectrum from financial executive to deputy secretary of state.

There are a lot of reasons to run for office. Ideological convictions. Hunger for power. A sense of duty to serve. But Connolly seems driven by a desire to improve what he sees as the technical and structural weaknesses in Concord.

A newspaper correspondent observing Abraham Lincoln's second inauguration in March 1865 — delivered to a crowd "as far as the eye could reach" — noted that the president laid his right hand on a Bible and, facing Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon Chase, swore to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

"Then," the reporter noted, "solemnly repeating 'So help me God!' he bent forward and reverently kissed the Book."

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

A small group of Republicans is planning an effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican nomination for President. Members of this group are concerned that Trump’s inflammatory statements and poor fundraising figures could cost the GOP both the presidency and seats in the House and Senate. 

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

There are four candidates in the 2016 gubernatorial Republican primary, most with several years’ experience in New Hampshire politics. Then there’s Frank Edelblut. The first-term state lawmaker from Wilton is casting himself as a business-savvy outsider who understands the evolving economy.

josh rogers/nhpr

The state reps gathered in the house well. They mostly talked about how the nation needs to break the gridlock on the gun debate. Jackie Cilley represents Barrington.

"It is a war zone, and there are practical, sensible solutions that we can promulgate and legislators, nationally and in this state that will make it a little less so."

When Governor Hassan joined the sit in, she spoke briefly, but pointedly on guns.

"It is absolutely essential that we expand background checks, so that known and suspected terrorist can't buy guns at gun shows or online."

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

There's a wide fundraising gap between two of the Democrats hoping to become New Hampshire's next governor.

Candidates are not required to file campaign finance reports until Aug. 24, less than a month before the Sept. 13 primary. But Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and businessman Mark Connolly filed reports Wednesday, a deadline for non-candidate committees to file.

In the wake of last week's mass shooting in Orlando, the debate over guns and how to keep them away from potential terrorists has been center stage in the U.S. Senate.  And so has New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte.

A bill she helped draft Monday aims to bar suspected terrorists from buying guns, and the issue of gun control is looking to be key to her re-election effort this year. But Ayotte’s involvement with gun policy and politics extends farther back that her six years in the U.S Senate.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire Rep. Annie Kuster joined dozens of Democratic colleagues who took over the floor of the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday to call for a vote on gun reforms.

“We have got to take a stand,” Kuster said Wednesday, during the gun discussion. “We can be silent no longer. We need a vote on the floor of this House.”

It’s easy for Americans to see the Brexit debate as a British issue. But the personal finance website Bankrate.com says if Britons vote tomorrow to exit the European Union, European vacations will likely be cheaper, mortgage rates might fall, the stock market could drop, and it would be harder to find a job in Britain.

Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins talks to economist Diane Swonk about the impact of Brexit on Americans.

What is your opinion on the Brexit? Let us know in a Here & Now poll:

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Among the Democrats vying for the title of New Hampshire governor this year is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand. He's hoping his mix of political and fiscal experience will win over voters in the Democratic primary this September.

Things are not going well for Donald Trump.

On Monday, he fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski ran the campaign on a shoestring budget and a strategy that was largely built off and fueled by the candidate's say-whatever personality and brand.

In the runup to this election season, The Party Decides seemed to be on every political science nerd's reading list.

As the U.S. Senate debates measures to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, New Hampshire's Senator Kelly Ayotte is throwing her support to a proposal drafted by Maine Senator Susan Collins.

The plan would bar people on the TSA's no-fly and selected lists from buying guns. It also creates an appeals process where people wrongly blocked from buying gun could recover legal fees from the federal government.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Following outcry over the role of superdelegates in the party’s presidential nomination, New Hampshire Democrats voted to reform the delegate selection process ahead of the 2020 presidential primary. 

Paige Sutherland / NHPR

Sen. Jeanie Forrester, a Republican candidate for governor, holds one of the most powerful seats in the State House: She’s chair of the influential Senate Finance Committee, with a big say in how every state dollar is raised and spent.

But you won’t hear Forrester talk too much on the campaign trail about her work in Concord. Rather, Forrester is pitching herself as more community leader than State House insider.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

By the end of the day at the New Hampshire Democrats’ state convention, it was hard to miss the message that party leaders were trying to pitch to their grassroots activists, heading into the general election this fall.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today lawmakers approved a 1.5 million dollar statewide drug enforcement program known as Granite Hammer.

After a lengthy procedural debate in the House over whether to proceed with the special session, members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill. The legislation, based on a Manchester Police Department initiative, would create a grant program to fund drug enforcement efforts at county and local police departments.

As the general election shifts into high gear, a pair of Republican governors and a 15-term representative this week voiced their frustrations with the party's presumptive presidential nominee and have decided they cannot get onboard the Trump train.

Fred Upton, R-Mich., joins Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and also Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran for president against Donald Trump.