Credit Daniel S. Hurd

NHPR's political coverage from the New Hampshire State House to the First In The Nation Primary, Town Meeting, and the Congressional Delegation. Stories by Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers, Digital Journalist Brian Wallstin, and the NHPR News team. 

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

  Republican candidate for Governor, Walt Havenstein, toured the factory floor of an aluminum casting company Wednesday. The visit marks the start of a series of similar tours as part of his Republican primary campaign.

N.H. GOP Director Testifies In 'Bridgegate' Scandal

May 20, 2014
NHPR Staff

  The Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party answered questions in New Jersey on Tuesday regarding his role in the George Washington Bridge scandal involving Governor Chris Christie.

Matt Mowers testified before a special committee investigating whether lane closures on the bridge last September were an act of political retribution after the mayor of Fort Lee Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, declined to endorse Christie.

Mowers was a Christie campaign staffer at the time. He denies any involvement.

Sean Hurley

Although Police Commissioner Robert Copeland submitted a letter of resignation earlier today, the people of Wolfeboro worry about the possible long-term impact the racial controversy could have on their town. NHPR's Sean Hurley spoke with residents over the weekend, before Copeland’s resignation and looks more closely at what led to today’s events.

On Sunday Joanne Parise sat on the shore of Wolfeboro Bay.  On nearby Main Street, families lined up for ice cream, gazed in shop windows, and consulted maps and guidebooks.  The summer tourist season has already begun. 

Todd Bookman / NHPR

At his latest campaign stop, U.S. Senate hopeful Scott Brown aimed to win over female voters.

The former Massachusetts Senator rolled out his ‘Women for Brown’ leadership team at an event inside his Manchester headquarters. Maureen Mooney, a former New Hampshire State Representative, is one of three co-chairs. She argues Brown is listening to his constituents, and will be an independent voice in Washington.

“Now on the other hand, our current senator, Shaheen, how can she possibly win? She voted for Obamacare,” says Mooney.

Amanda Loder / NHPR

New Hampshire's House has twice passed legislation to repeal the death penalty with the governor's blessing, but the second attempt has cost them a key supporter in the Senate.   Republican Sen. Bob Odell, who voted for repeal, said Friday that he won't vote to take up the issue again.  The first bill stalled in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last month, but supporters may have overplayed their hand by sending a second bill to the Senate for a vote Thursday. The Senate has the option of passing the amended bill, killing it or asking the House to compromise.

Goldeneye via Flickr CC

New Hampshire officials are getting hit with calls, emails and tweets reacting to racist comments made by a town police commissioner.

Jim Bouley, mayor of the capital city of Concord, said the reaction from as far away as California included threats to cancel vacations in New Hampshire. The calls started Thursday after news reports detailed comments by Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who admitted using the N-word to describe President Barack Obama.

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill to include household pets in orders protecting victims of domestic violence. 

The bill expands the orders to include pets in cases involving stalking and domestic violence. The bill would allow judges to grant custody of any domestic pets or farm animals to the victim and issue an order barring the abuser from harming or disposing of the animal. 

The bill passed Thursday on a voice vote without debate. It now goes to the House for review. 

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

There was movement on energy policy in both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature today. While reforming the approval process for power plants sailed through the House, rules encouraging burial of power lines got hung up in the Senate.

After making a few changes to a Senate version, on a voice vote the New Hampshire house passed changes to how proposed power plants get a permit. That means if the Senate agrees to the House version beginning in July, new projects will need to increase the amount of public outreach they do before submitting applications to be built.

Sara Plourde

 The New Hampshire arm of Americans for Prosperity continues to pound away at Democrats over the Affordable Care Act.

The conservative non-profit's latest volley is a new television ad attacking New Hampshire’s 2nd District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster for her support of so-called Obamacare.

Sara Plourde

 In the pitched political battle over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on one issue: Anthem’s so-called narrow network of providers.

From GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a wide array of voices have complained that Anthem’s decision to exclude 10 hospitals from its plans sold through the new federal health exchange harms patients.

On Wednesday, one of those patients, an East Rochester woman named Margaret McCarthy, will get a long-awaited hearing on the matter at the state Insurance Department.

Sara Plourde

Gov. Maggie Hassan is expected to sign legislation making it illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving or stopped in traffic.

The bill, passed by the New Hampshire House last week, represents “the most comprehensive distracted driving bill in the nation,” according to legislative testimony from Earl Sweeney, assistant commissioner of public safety.

Update: The New Hampshire Republican State Committee has submitted a complaint to the Federal Election Commission, alleging the Shaheen campaign "engaged in coordinated political advocacy communications that amount to illegal contributions." 

Republicans are claiming the campaign of New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen broke federal election law by helping to craft a television ad paid for by a Democratic super PAC.

The latest television ad attacking Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., for her support of the Affordable Care Act features a statistic on premium increases in New Hampshire that's been widely disputed.

The 30-second spot, paid for by Americans for Prosperity, focuses primarily on the so-called narrow network of providers in New Hampshire, which excludes 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals.

Upupa 4me via Flickr CC

The 193-141 vote means the state’s gas tax will rise 4.2 cents, the first increase to the state’s current 18-cent per gallon levy on gasoline and diesel since 1991.

The battle over NH’s gas tax has been pitched in recent years. When Governor John Lynch was in the corner office, he promised to veto any increase to the gas tax.

Last year the democratically- controlled N.H. House passed a 12-cent tax hike that was rejected by the GOP led State Senate.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is giving a talk on leadership at the University of New Hampshire law school.

Giuliani, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2011, will deliver a presentation called "Leadership in the 21st Century" on Tuesday in Concord.

Afterward, Concord Mayor Jim Bouley will present Giuliani with a key to the city.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

N.H. Republicans have a new candidate for Governor, former defense contractor Walt Havenstein, of Alton.

Havenstein launched his campaign in Concord.

He offered a forceful denial to claims that he is ineligible to run due to a time he listed Maryland as his primary residence on tax documents.

"This is my home and has been for 15 years. This is my domicile, which it the criteria to run and serve as Governor."

Don't Tread On Me
Sidknee23 / Flickr Creative Commons

Political conservatives including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee addressed Granite Staters in Manchester yesterday at the Freedom Summit.  Many of the speakers criticized so-called "Obamacare" and the administration's handling of Benghazi.  But Utah Senator and Tea Party favorite Mike Lee implored attendees to move away from complaining about policies, and start rallying around an agenda.

NHPR Staff

A House panel is holding a hearing on a proposed amendment to New Hampshire's constitution that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously and if three-fifths of the House agrees, it would go before voters in November. The constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex and national origin. The amendment would add sexual orientation.

The state already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in statute, but supporters want to enshrine the protection in the constitution.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is visiting a bridge in Berlin, N.H., to talk about the need to strengthen investment in the state's transportation's infrastructure.

She's visiting the Hillside Avenue Bridge on Wednesday. She says the replacement of the bridge is an important project for traffic, safety and commerce in the area. Hassan said the replacement would be accelerated by the transportation funding bill that recently passed the Senate.

The bridge visit is taking place Wednesday afternoon.

 A state senator who has tried for years to persuade New Hampshire lawmakers to legalize a casino is going to try again despite a House vote to reject one last week.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro plans to ask the Senate to amend his bill Thursday to add the regulatory scheme in the defeated House bill and send it to the House in hopes his proposal will have a different outcome.

Tom Vagliery via Flickr CC

The bill was endorsed by its house committee as a way to protect the minors from skin damage that could contribute to cancer, but on the house floor it provoked a heated debate over parental rights and the proper role of government.  Steve Vaillancourt is a Republican from Manchester.

"A young women if this bill passes can get an abortion, but not a tan, an abortion would be legal but a tan would not, think of it."

Moments later the House voted 175-154 to both kill the bill and bar the issue from coming up again this year.

NPR's Mara Liasson

Mar 17, 2014
Stephen Voss / NPR

Mara Liasson will discuss the White House and upcoming elections, as well as how changes in both political parties over the past six years have affected such key issues as the Affordable Care Act, the debt-ceiling debate, and immigration reform.


  • Mara Liasson – national political correspondent for NPR. She joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter, later working as a congressional correspondent, and then the White House correspondent.


Via Flickr CC

The state Senate voted 14-9 Thursday to raise New Hampshire’s gas tax by about 4 cents.

Jimmy Wayne via Flickr CC

Utah lawmakers have advanced a bill that would move the state’s presidential primary ahead of New Hampshire’s.

Legislation approved by the House Monday gives lawmakers the option of holding an online election, provided it is “held before any other caucus, primary, or other event selecting a nominee in the nation.”

If approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, the bill, HB 410, would require the state to fund the Western State Primary, at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.

Republican Joe Kenney and Democrat Mike Cryans will face off in a special election March 11 to replace longtime District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton, who died in November.

A retired colonel in the United States Marine Corps, Kenney spent 14 years as a state legislator, in both the House and the Senate. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 2008 and lost to Democrat John Lynch. Kenney won a three-way Republican primary in January.

A bipartisan plan to expand Medicaid that is scheduled for a vote in the New Hampshire Senate this week has strong support from Granite Staters, according to a new poll.

New England College asked 774 registered voters if they would support a proposal backed by Gov. Maggie Hassan and a majority in the New Hampshire Senate “to extend private insurance to low-income residents, without passing the cost of coverage on to businesses.”

On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks about what the political implications of the looming Medicaid expansion deal could be for Republicans and news of another Republican considering a run for governor.     

Dave Collier via Flickr CC

New Hampshire employers could not prohibit their workers from discussing how much they are paid under a bill passed by the House.

The House voted 183-125 Wednesday to send the Senate a bill that allows employers to pay workers different amounts based on such factors as seniority, merit, production and education. Supporters argue the bill is a step toward ensuring men and women are paid equally for comparable work.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers recaps Gov. Maggie Hassan's State of the State speech from last week and looks ahead to the action at the Statehouse in Concord this week.

Chris Jensen, NHPR News

Gov. Maggie Hassan will deliver her first State of the State address Thursday to a joint session of New Hampshire lawmakers.

Hassan ended her first year in office with decent job-approval ratings – 51 percent versus 21 percent who disapprove, according to a recent poll.

She begins her second with a heightened national profile: In December, she was elected vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association, which spent heavily to help her defeat GOP challenger Ovide Lamontagne in 2012.