State of Democracy

NHPR's reporting initiative focused on the impact of politics and public policy on the residents of New Hampshire and beyond. Learn more here.

Kate Harper

Recent polls have Hillary Clinton trailing Bernie Sanders in the Granite State Democratic presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped New Hampshire Democrats from joining forces to raise money with the former Secretary of State.

Brady Carlson for NHPR

Robie's Country Store in Hooksett has become an almost ritual stop on the New Hampshire presidential primary campaign trail — one of those places where anyone who is running is pretty much guaranteed to make an appearance. The business isn't what it once was, but presidential hopefuls keep showing up.

The store has stood on the bank of the Merrimack River, between Concord and Manchester, since 1887. When the candidates get there, most know what's expected.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Throughout the 2016 presidential season, NHPR is bringing you profiles of the people and places behind the scenes of the New Hampshire Primary. In our latest installment, we catch up with Jim Cole, the Associated Press photographer who has covered every New Hampshire presidential primary since 1980. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The presidential field is crowded: sardine-can crowded. Voters trying to keep up on the race have more than twenty candidates to follow. On the Republican side alone, there are more candidates (17) than there are voters in Dixville Notch. With such a packed GOP field, the leaders are often only polling in the teens, and there is little daylight between clusters of candidates.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Presidential candidates usually hit the campaign trail carrying a long list of issues they hope to talk about. But lately, voters in New Hampshire have been forcing an issue of their own into candidates’ stump speeches: the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

With the state’s budget stalemate now in its second month, the impacts of the current stopgap spending plan are starting to come into view. But because it’s been a dozen years since the state last found itself in this situation, navigating these budgetary waters is proving a challenge -- both for state agencies and for those who rely on their services.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

In this year’s Democratic primary, several candidates have made action on climate change a major part of their campaign. This time around they think it could be a winning issue for them in the general election, and they’re also more comfortable using it to draw distinctions between each other.

File photo by Allegra Boverman for NHPR

If you attend any Republican presidential campaign event these days, you are all but guaranteed to hear a voter ask this:

“What would you do about illegal immigration?”  

N.H.'s Civic Health Could Use a Boost

Jul 30, 2015
Allegra Boverman for NHPR

As hosts of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, Granite Staters often claim a reputation for political sophistication and civic engagement. But a new report finds that relatively few residents are politically involved and, when Election Day rolls around, they are more likely to accept the status quo and stay home rather than cast a ballot.  

When it comes to 2016 presidential campaign spending in New Hampshire, there’s one clear winner so far: The state Democratic Party. 

Roughly 30 percent of total candidate spending in New Hampshire so far this year has gone to the state party, and it came as a single, $100,000 expense: Hillary Clinton’s purchase of the party’s so-called "voter file." 

NHPR's recent interactive map showing how Granite Staters are donating to the 2016 presidential candidates is a unique visual guide to campaign fundraising.

On first glance, a couple of obvious geographic partisan disparities jump out. For instance, Republican donors are heavily concentrated in southern Hillsborough County and Rockingham County. There's also a pocket of Republican donors in the Lakes Region.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Throughout the 2016 presidential season, NHPR will bring you profiles of the people and places behind the scenes of the New Hampshire Primary. We start with Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop, an iconic campaign stop in Portsmouth for candidates looking to meet voters - and maybe sample a lobster roll.

Nearly two thirds of the contributions from New Hampshire residents to presidential candidates since January went to Democrats, with Hillary Clinton collecting more from Granite Staters than all the Republicans combined.

Via the NH Rebellion on Facebook

As they make their way around the Granite State, the presidential contenders being met by potential voters frustrated with the political influence of wealthy donors.

NHPR’s digital reporter Brian Wallstin has been reporting on the issue of money in politics and where the candidates stand, and he’s here to talk about what he’s learned.

Even when most Americans regard the next presidential election as a distant rumor, people in New Hampshire, with its first-in-the-nation primary, and Iowa, with its even-earlier-than-that caucuses, are attentively tuned to the twists and turns of the campaigns. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of the Republican-backed state budget bill has dominated State House news in recent weeks. But Hassan’s veto pen has seen plenty of non-budget action this session, as well.

At campaign events, house parties and town hall meetings across the state, presidential contenders are being met by potential voters who want to know what they plan to do about the role of money in politics.

And the candidates aren’t shying away from the question.

Democrats have taken aim at Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that struck down limits on independent expenditures by corporations and unions.

Four Things You Should Know About Money in Politics

Jul 9, 2015
Beverly via Flickr CC

What are the limits on presidential campaign funding? Can I really spend whatever I want to help my candidate get elected?

Campaign Finance Reformers Find Voice on 2016 Trail

Jul 9, 2015
Courtesy Emma Stein

In December 1999, six weeks before the 2000 New Hampshire primary, John Rauh watched as Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Bill Bradley met in Claremont to denounce the role of money in politics.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire is struggling to improve its mental health system, as it agreed to in a $30 million dollar lawsuit settlement. 

A court-appointed monitor finds, one year into the settlement, the state is lagging on nearly every benchmark. 

The Hechinger Report

Here at State of Democracy, we love a good graphic. Maps, charts, tables -- any illustration that displays lots of data in a clear, informative manner earns a gold star from us. Here's one recent example that caught our eye: a map showing the graduation rate for nearly every school district in the United States in 2013.

Independence Day means fireworks, BBQs, flags – and, in New Hampshire, presidential politics.

The three-day weekend has lured at least eight candidates for president to the Granite State. The candidates, Republican and Democratic, will appear up and down the state, Friday through Sunday. So, if you've always wanted to discuss foreign policy with the future leader of the Free World while holding a sparkler, now might be your chance.

www.merrimack4th.com

You may be planning a lazy holiday weekend this Fourth of July. But for many presidential candidates, the Fourth is just another opportunity to work for votes, though with one big difference: On Independence Day, the campaign trail is likely to follow a parade route.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The House and Senate have officially passed a budget for the next two years – a plan that Governor Maggie Hassan promises to veto. Here’s a breakdown of how the governor’s budget proposal compares with the Legislature’s on a few of the major policy and funding points.

NHPR Staff

Funding for public higher education is a core issue in the budget battle now being waged between the Governor and the Legislature. Meanwhile, budget woes are brewing on the state's community college campuses, too, where students, faculty, and senior administrators don’t agree on how to balance the books.

The financial partnership between local governments and the state of New Hampshire has splintered since the recession. 

Jennifer Cochran / Flickr/Creative Commons

Amherst Public Works Director Bruce Berry was a happy man last spring when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the first increase to the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

The legislation promised to double the money the state doles out to repair municipally owned bridges, from $6.8 million a year to $13.6 million. At the time, Amherst had three bridges “red-listed” as structurally deficient, including one on Manchester Road that had been closed for 18 months.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Negotiators in the House and Senate agreed to a compromise version of the next two-year budget earlier this week. Here's a summary of how the deal was reached.

Jack Rodolico

As the next state budget takes shape, Gov. Maggie Hassan and legislative leaders have been debating how to fund New Hampshire's mental health system. The state spends more than $100 million each year providing these services, and one word sums up the sentiment in the mental health community right now: uncertainty.

  Case in point, a construction site at New Hampshire Hospital.

Two proposed changes to the the state's education funding formula have been passed by the two chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature. Both seek to increase or lift altogether the state's cap on growth in per-pupil spending. And both would pay for such it by reducing so-called "stabilization grants," created in 2011 to keep certain school districts from losing huge amounts of funding after the last round of changes to the base aid formula.

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