Blog: Politics & Policy

Josh Rogers/NHPR

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While the New Hampshire Primary has been humming along at top speed for months, it’s easy to overlook the fact that two basic details have yet to be wrapped up: the actual date of the Primary election, and the official candidate names to appear on the ballot. At least one of those should start looking a bit firmer this week.

When the Department of Education released its latest round of state-level reading and math scores this week, it was cause for cheer in New Hampshire. The state ranked in the top two or three states in every category and grade-level tests.

Those kind of high marks have been common in New Hampshire for years. But a recent report suggests the state’s status as one of the nation’s top test-takers should come down a few notches. 

GIF created using footage from CNBC

So, what did we learn from Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate? The candidates are happy to chime in as media critics, particularly if they don’t feel like answering the question before them.

Chris Jensen/NHPR

Here's an issue with bipartisan consensus: Both parties agree the opioid epidemic is one of the most pressing challenges facing New Hampshire. But Democrats and Republicans in the State House are not quite yet reading from the same script on how to tackle this problem.

Last week we examined the campaign money landscape in the New Hampshire Primary, both how candidates are raising money in the state, and how they're spending it.

But what do those dollars mean against the national campaign fundraising picture?

Jim Cole / AP

If you’d like to understand what a decline in civics education means for the future of the country’s political system, David Souter suggests a sports analogy.

“As somebody said a while back – you know, if you go to a baseball game and you don’t know what the rules of the game are, it’s incomprehensible. If you know something about the three strikes rule, it’s maybe a little bit more comprehensible,” the retired United States Supreme Court justice told an audience at Nashua Community College Monday afternoon. “Well, the same thing goes for government.”

Screenshots from Brigade App

Maybe you’re looking for somewhere to sound off on the fate of the Manchester teachers’ contract, or the expansion of rail service from Boston, or marijuana legalization — or even the future of the midnight voting tradition in Dixville Notch. Well, you’re in luck: There’s an app for that.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

New Hampshire voters might not have seen much of Lincoln Chafee before he bowed out of the presidential race Friday. If you happen to be involved with your local Democratic town committee, however, you might be on a first-name basis with the former candidate.

Back in May, right after Chafee announced he was mulling a run for president, the members of the Amherst and Milford Democrats wasted no time reaching out.

“We picked up the phone and called his home number,” committee chair Shannon Chandley recalled Friday. “’Do you want to come to our potluck?’”

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill co-sponsored by Sen. Kelly Ayotte that’s meant to address one particularly troubling side effect of the nation’s opioid crisis: growing drug dependence among infants.

The bill requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review how it deals with “neonatal abstinence syndrome” (or “NAS”). It also calls upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help states improve public health monitoring and data collection around NAS.

istock photo

Following a recent wave of mergers in the insurance industry, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is raising “serious concerns” about the potentially harmful impact of these deals on consumers. She nodded specifically to the projected effects of the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger on New Hampshire’s insurance market.

Turn on the television in New Hampshire these days, and you won’t have to wait long before Jeb Bush, John Kasich or Chris Christie pops up on your screen. 

 The 2016 race for New Hampshire governor is rapidly gathering momentum, even with Election Day more than a year away. Candidacies are being launched by the day, it seems. Pledges made. Priorities listed. Promises floated.

And now we have the first campaign ad of the race. It comes courtesy of Republican Frank Edelblut, a state legislator who's apparently hoping to ride-share his way to the governor's office. 

I am I.A.M. via Flicker Creative Commons

There’s been a particularly competitive, expensive campaign season brewing in recent months that could have implications for the future of North American policies on trade, energy, the environment, immigration and more.

We are, of course, referring to the race playing out among our neighbors to the north. Canadian federal elections were held Monday — and, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, voters provided the country's Liberal Party with enough seats to upend the Conservatives. 

Credit Kinder Morgan / http://www.kindermorgan.com/content/docs/TGP_Northeast_Energy_Direct_Fact_Sheet.pdf

It's one of the more, shall we say, parochial questions presidential candidates have faced on the campaign trail this year: What do you think of the proposed gas pipeline that may be routed through New Hampshire?

The pipeline is officially known as the Northeast Energy Direct Project.  And the question of whether it should run through the southern part of the state has been posed to a number of both Republicans and Democrats, including Jeb Bush. 

Republican donors in New Hampshire are beginning to loosen their purse strings for their party’s primary contenders.

Granite Staters contributed more than $220,000 to GOP presidential candidates in the third quarter of 2015. That’s $70,000 more than Democrats took in, and a big change from earlier in the year, when Republican candidates were out-raised in New Hampshire by a two-to-one margin.

UNH Communications and Public Affairs

Last week we told you about Dante Scala and Andy Smith, the UNH political scientists who occupy a rarefied niche in academia that makes them precious commodities every four years.

That’s in large part due to their impressive resumes.

The pair have both authored books on the New Hampshire primary, and they've developed networks of sources to keep them informed on the state's political landscape.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

It’s hard to find housing in New Hampshire, according to those who spoke at a summit on the issue in Manchester on Friday — but it’s particularly challenging for young professionals, older adults and those with limited incomes.

Addressing this is a key part of ensuring the state’s economic viability in the long run, according to the local officials who spoke at the event.

File photos

It’s unclear when Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and second-place finisher in the 2004 New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, is planning to return to the Granite State. But it's probably safe to assume he won’t be swinging by Bill Gardner’s office anytime soon.

GIF created using footage from CNN

The Democratic party’s five major presidential candidates gathered in Las Vegas for their first debate Tuesday night.

But for all intents and purposes — as summed up by POLITICO and a good chunk of the mainstream media — it may as well have been billed as “the Hillary and Bernie Show.”

Via Flickr/Center for American Progress / https://flic.kr/p/8znzKY

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid just made a whole lot of New Hampshire enemies. It didn't take much. He simply insulted the First in the Nation Primary.

Paul Young/Lindsey Graham campaign

As presidential candidates flock to New Hampshire every four years, it's our duty as local reporters to fire questions at them and hold them accountable.

But while covering a recent visit from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, it wasn't questions I was firing -- it was a rifle, my first time shooting a gun. And my coach that day? The candidate himself.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Every four years or so, someone proposes replacing Iowa and New Hampshire as the first two states on the presidential nomination calendar, raising the hackles of activists and politicos in both states. This year the call is perhaps more newsworthy, since it came from Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus, in an interview with National Journal.

Michael Jolly / Flickr

The fight continues to add more debates to the Democratic presidential primary calendar. There's even now an official coalition in New Hampshire focused on bringing another debate to the Granite State before the February primary.

Political candidates send lots of emails as the end of a fundraising quarter approaches. New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta is no exception – though there’s a bit more to his story than what’s in the message.

Associated Press

For as long as New Hampshire has hosted the nation’s first presidential primary contest, it seems outsiders have been trying to dilute the state’s influence. The latest such attempt comes from the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus.

In an interview with the National Journal, Priebus says he’s been supportive of early nominating states like New Hampshire and Iowa in the past, but “I don’t think anyone should get too comfortable.”

Linda Kaiser

In the spring and summer of 1999, then Ohio Congressman John Kasich was in the midst of his first presidential campaign in New Hampshire. As we've reported elsewhere, it was a campaign with some striking similarities to his current run.

Despite the fact that Kasich's earlier presidential bid lasted just a few months, it created its fair share of iconic New Hampshire Primary moments. 

It wasn't long ago when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was at the top of the polls in Iowa.

Now, Walker's out of the race.

So which Republican candidate will reap the benefits?

"It’s kind of hard to tell," Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters told NHPR's Morning Edition. "Political talent here is just stretched so thin because of all the Republicans presidential candidates. Both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaigns are saying they’re picking up some support."

modernfarmer.com

Listen to enough political punditry, and you could easily conclude that America's rural areas are vast swaths of Republican support, with little variety in political opinion or voter demographics.

But recent research from the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy undercuts that assumption. In fact, rural America is actually surprisingly varied, researchers found -- at least when it comes to election results.

Map: 2016 Candidate Campaign Offices in N.H.

Sep 18, 2015
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will open two new campaign offices in New Hampshire this weekend: one in Portsmouth, the other in Manchester. According to the campaign, that brings Sanders' Granite State offices to four. 

WBUR

WBUR released a new poll of the Republican presidential field this morning. The results mirror other recent polling of the GOP race: Donald Trump and Ben Carson bunched at the top, the rest of the field far below.

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