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. 

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.

Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House became the first legislative body in the United States to pass a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use.

The legislation faces numerous – some would say intractable - hurdles, beginning with Thursday’s public hearing before the House Ways & Means Committee.

Ed Brown via Flickr CC

Here is a roundup of reactions to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech from the New Hampshire Congressional delegation and political organizations.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte:

Washington Examiner1 / Flickr Creative Commons

For an hour and five minutes, President Barack Obama addressed the country for his 5th State of the Union address.  Obama lauded progress the country has made from decreasing unemployment to smaller deficits. He talked about recent successes of the Affordable Care Act and spoke out about progress that still needs to be made: higher wages for women, and raising the minimum wage. And he showed a little extra swagger saying that if congress won’t go along with his ideas, then President Obama will go at it alone.

JV via Flickr CC

Update: The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved SB 366, 4-1, this morning. Sen. Bob Odell, R-Lempster, was the lone vote in opposition to the bill, which would license two casinos. Senate President Chuck Morse said the legislation will now move to the full Senate. Morse said the Senate will likely table it and wait for the House to act on its own gambling bill. That legislation, drafted by members of the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authorityenvisions a single casino, which Gov. Maggie Hassan supports.

Department of Safety Road Toll Bureau

A year after failing to agree on how to pay for a long list of road and bridge improvements, lawmakers will take another shot at bolstering the state’s chronically underfunded infrastructure this session.

Several bills are on the table, including one that would channel proceeds from a casino into the state’s highway fund.


On the Political Front this morning, NHPR's Josh Rogers previews today's first House session of 2014. The debate over Medicaid expansion is likely to be at the forefront.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

On a recent afternoon at the Common Grounds Cafe, 200 yards from the New Hampshire border in Methuen, Mass, a handful of men sit along a short counter or at several tables in the back of the cafe.

Eyes moving back and forth from their pink and white betting slips to two wall-mounted video monitors, they wait for the next drawing of a popular electronic lottery game called Keno.


As we look back at 2013, we’re struck by the number of mishaps made by politicians, celebrities, athletes and companies…followed of course, by the oh-so-heartfelt public apology. Word of Mouth's senior producer Maureen McMurray and producer Taylor Quimby join Virginia Prescott to talk about the year of saying sorry…or in some cases, the year of the non-apology.

From the early days of the 2012 primary, influential liberals referred to Jon Hunstman, U.S. Ambassador to China, and Singapore before that, as “the sane Republican”.  Huntsman’s foreign policy chops and statesmen-like manner were frequently cited during his brief run, often by the candidate himself.  

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers talks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about how the Democratic members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation - all facing re-election next fall - are now supporting changes to the Affordable Care Act.  

The New Hampshire Republican Party has made two new, high-profile appointments.

The party has hired Matt Mowers as its executive director and Bobby Collins as state field director.

Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn made the announcement Wednesday.

Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons

PolitiFact won a Pulitzer Prize for fact-checking statements made by politicians, lobbyists and special interest groups.  Their new venture called PunditFact will cast a wider net to rate the veracity of talking heads, bloggers and columnists…a pretty big job in the blustery airspace of opinion journalism. 

Aaron Sharockman is Deputy Government and Politics Editor for the Tampa Bay Times. He is also a writer and editor for Politifact.

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers discusses the legacy of longtime Executive Councilor Ray Burton.

Burton, a Republican from Bath, announced over the weekend that he would not be seeking reelection after learning that his kidney cancer had returned. 

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is asking the Obama Administration to extend the deadline for enrollment in the new Obamacare health exchanges.  This move follows the rocky rollout of the insurance registration website.  

Politics Of The Shutdown

Oct 17, 2013
jessie owen / Flickr Creative Commons

Granite State politicians weigh in on the politics in Washington that led to the shutdown, as well as the way forward.


  • Ray Buckley- Chairman of New Hampshire Democratic Party
  • Gene Chandler- Republican House Minority Leader from Bartlett.
  • Andy Smith - Director of the UNH Survey Center and Associate Professor of Political Science


  • Tim Carter - Leader of the Lakes Region Tea Party
DavidWilson1949 via Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire is getting ready to furlough some state workers whose salaries depend on federal funding.

The Hassan administration and the union that represents most state workers have reached a deal that both sides say will prevent layoffs.

Under the agreement, the federal shutdown qualifies as a “emergency” that will allow workers to be furloughed rather than laid off. State Employees Association president Diana Lacey says the deal holds the promise of saving the state money and saving workers benefits that would be lost if they were laid off.

NPCA via Flickr Creative Commons

The poll taken last week found 49 percent think Republicans are responsible for the ongoing gridlock in Washington, 30 percent think it’s President Obama’s fault,  and 16 percent blame the President and Republicans equally.

NEC poll director Ben Tafoya says people who identified as Democrats tended to blame republicans and people who identified as Republicans tended to blame the President.  Self-described independents, meanwhile, mostly blamed the GOP.


The New Hampshire Republican party is complaining about an incident of vandalism that occurred on their Concord headquarters. “WWJD Healthcare for Everyone” was written in green spray paint on the side of the building.

Matt Slater is the party’s executive director.

“Healthy debate of the issues is what makes our country great, but when folks cross this line, that’s just a line that unfortunately puts a nasty light on the whole political process.”

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte expressed frustration with the budget stalemate and debt ceiling crisis on “Face The Nation” Sunday morning.  Host Bob Schieffer began by asking her where she thinks negotiations are since House Republicans' failed bid to defund Obamacare.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

With the government shutdown now in its second week, there’s growing bipartisan concern in New Hampshire about the impact on state tourism and the local economy.

But there’s a difference of opinion on who’s to blame in Washington.

With Columbus Day weekend approaching, nearly two dozen campgrounds on federal land in the White Mountain National Forest remain closed due to the shutdown.

State Representative Warren Groen of Rochester says the state’s tourists and business owners are paying the price.

Republican Dan Innis, dean of the University of New Hampshire's business school, is running for Congress in the state's First District.

Innis, who also owns a Portsmouth inn with his husband, announced his campaign via an online video Wednesday. Though he's never run for office, he tells The Associated Press that the national situation is so dire with the growing deficit, national debt and Washington gridlock, that he's determined to do something about it. He says too many members of Congress let Washington change them instead of the reverse.

dimmerswitch via Flickr Creative Commons

Congressional approval rating hit a new now of 10.5 percent this week. If you’ve found yourself yelling at the radio and TV news coverage of the government shutdown and plotting revenge at the next election, you may not have to wait until 2014.

Last month, two of Colorado’s Democratic state senators became targets of a successful recall after voting for more restrictive gun legislation, adding to the increasing number of recall campaigns launched over the past two years. 

Seth Masket is a political scientist at the University of Denver, and a regular contributor to Pacific Standard.  He spoke with us about his article “The Recall is the New Normal”. 

Brandon Burris via flickr Creative Commons

We like to think of the Word of Mouth Saturday show as a convenient, one-hour public radio field trip. So pack a special picnic lunch and grab a buddy, here's what's on the itinerary this week:

  • Bill Maher Love him or hate him, it really doesn't matter, Bill Maher is a great interview.
  • Field Trips Jay Phillip Greene explains his recent study on the power of the school field trip. Turns out they have real and powerful educational value.

Ayotte, Shaheen Split Over Avoiding Government Shutdown

Sep 27, 2013
Via shaheen.senate.gov

New Hampshire's U.S. senators were split on a vote to keep government operating past Tuesday.

Republican Kelly Ayotte opposed the measure that, if approved in the House, will avoid a threatened government shutdown. Democrat Jeanne Shaheen voted in favor of the bill. It passed the Senate 54-44 Friday afternoon but faces an uncertain future in the house as the high-stakes stand-off continues into the weekend.

Ayotte says she opposed the measure because it exceeds spending caps and only lasts two months. She says that means the whole crisis will be repeated.