PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- It is one day before the most interesting New Hampshire presidential primary ever, but somehow the state's hot US Senate race found its way on the trail.
First, there as a quote in the Boston Herald this morning quoting longshot Democratic US Senate candidate Jay Buckey as saying he was leaning toward a vote for Barack Obama.
At an event in Portsmouth Hillary Clinton said she hopes that Buckey's rival, former Govenor Jeanne Shaheen, wins.
Both Shaheen and Buckey are hoping to take on Republican US Senator John E. Sununu.
MILFORD, N.H. -- Tonight over 3,000 Democrats are meeting for a fund-raiser that is the largest in state party history.
Barack Obama will be there. So will Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, and Dennis Kucinch. John Edwards sent his wife and decided to campaign at a town all event.
While there is a lot of attention to this fund-raising dinner -- broadcast nationally on C-SPAN -- it is important to contrast this night with what will happen later this weekend.
The state Republican Party wanted to have a blow out fund-raiser themselves. They do need the money. Until its current chairman the party was in debt and hardly could hire more than a few staff.
At this blow-out fund-raiser John McCain is not scheduled to attend. Nor are Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee or Rudy Giuliani. Nope. Just Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter.
At a time when many in the national media are focusing on the difference in caucus turnout in the parties in Iowa, there are differences in New Hampshire as well.
New Hampshire Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes recently hired for new staffers, including a new chief of staff.
Below is from the press release:
Matt Robison, Chief of Staff: Matt joins Congressman Hodes’ staff after five years in Congressman Michael Michaud’s office (ME-2), where he served as Legislative Director and Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to his service with Congressman Michaud, he worked for then-Congressman John Baldacci, and as a fellow for the House Committee on Appropriations. Matt has a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government.
Leigh Marthe, Community Representative: Leigh will be taking over the Congressman’s constituent service operation in Keene. Before joining Hodes’ staff, Leigh worked for over 20 years in higher education. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Education from Capella University. She will be in the office Mondays 9am to 2pm, Thursdays 2pm to 7pm, and by appointment. The Keene office is located at 29 Center Street in Keene.
Laurie Goodman, Community Representative: Laurie joins the Congressman’s Nashua office after a well-rounded career in the fields of marketing, education, and health care. Most recently, she worked as the Area Marketing Manager for Borders, Inc. Laurie will be taking over the Congressman’s community outreach and constituent services in the region. The Nashua office is located at 147 Main Street in Nashua.
Brooke Borkenhagen, Press Assistant: Brooke was a Keene based organizer on Congressman Hodes’ 2006 campaign. Since then, she has served in the Congressional office as Staff Assistant and Deputy Scheduler. She will assume the roll of Press Assistant, and will be the point of contact for all media inquiries.
Concord lawyer Jim Steiner, a Republican, is reportedly preparing for a Congressional run against Democratic freshman Paul Hodes.
Steiner, a West Point graduate and former Green Beret Captain, sent an email to friends last night and has set up a website, the Union Leader's website reported this afternoon.
A call to Steiner was not immediately returned.
Two other Republicans have been considering running against Hodes, but so far Steiner appears to be the most serious about it.
In just two weeks former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen was able to raise $187,000 for her newly announced bid for the US Senate, her campaign finance report shows.
Shaheen, a Democrat who faces a largely unknown primary challenger, is hoping for a re-match against Republican freshman John E. Sununu. Sununu defeated her by four points in 2002.
Sununu has not released how much he raised for the third quarter.
Grant Bosse, an assistant to Republican US Senator John E. Sununu, is making the rounds in his native New Hampshire this week exploring a run for Congress against freshman US Congressman Paul Hodes, the Globe has learned.
Bosse, 35, grew up in Hillsborough and graduated from Dartmouth College. He worked for years in the New Hampshire State House. He now works for Sununu in Washington as a legislative assistant.
When contacted Bosse said he is far from in the race, but it is something he is exploring this week while the Senate is in recess.
"I haven't decided on anything yet," Bosse said. "I am reluctant to get too much into exploring right now because I have a lot of work to do for John Sununu when I get back to work on Monday. I don't want to get into rhetoric of a campaign that may or may not happen."
Bosse is the first person to express any interest in running for the Second District seat. It is a different story in the state's other Congressional district where another freshman Democrat, Carol Shea-Porter, already has two strong Republican challengers.
The longshot Democrat who is challenging former Governor Jeanne Shaheen in a primary for the US Senate in New Hampshire next year is trying to gain support by taking on Washington Democrats who are supporting Shaheen.
Jay Buckey, a former astronaut and Dartmouth Medical School professor, is the only one of three candidates who didn't not abandon his US Senate campaign once Shaheen entered the race.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington had been trying to recruit Shaheen into the race because polls over the summer showed she had the best chance of defeating freshman Senator John E. Sununu.
"The DSCC seems to be saying that, because the stakes are so high for the 2008 election, we can’t afford to trust democracy – and New Hampshire's primary system --to choose the best candidate," Buckey writes in a fund-raising email. "But the past seven years have shown us where this kind of thinking leads."
Buckey is hoping he can re-create the dynamic that took place last year in New Hampshire when another unknown activist, Carol Shea-Porter defeated the state House Minority Leader for the Democratic nomination for Congress even though he was favorite of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
US Senator John E. Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican facing a serious challenge for re-election next year, voted alongside Democrats today on a bill that would require troops get as much time at home as they spend overseas before being redeployed.
The Democrat sponsored Webb Amendment was strongly opposed by the White House and Republican leadership. In fact, while Sununu voted for it, his New Hampshire Republican colleague in the Senate, Judd Gregg, voted against it.
On Friday, a formidable opponent, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, decided she wanted a rematch against Sununu in his re-election bid next year. Sununu defeated Shaheen by four points in 2002, but the state has been leaning Democratic ever since.
Overall, the bill failed by one vote to get the 60 votes required to avoid a filibuster.
Democratic US Senate candidate Katrina Swett will announce she is ending her campaign on Friday to support former Governor Jeanne Shaheen's newly formed bid to defeat freshman Republican Senator John E. Sununu, the Globe has learned.
Swett will hold a press conference Friday morning in Concord, exactly one week after Shaheen entered the race.
Swett, a former Congressional candidate, raised $1.2 million for the effort.
She becomes the second candidate to drop out after Shaheen entered the race. On Saturday Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand ended his campaign and endorsed Shaheen.
Shaheen will face a Democratic primary, however. Former astronaut Jay Buckey, of Hanover, said he will remain in the race.
NASHUA -- Two new polls show the US Senate race in New Hampshire within the margin of error among the two leading front-runners.
Both the Rasmussen and American Research Group polls show former Governor Jeanne Shaheen leading incumbent Republican John E. Sununu by five percentage points.
Rasmussen had Shaheen winning 48 percent to Sununu's 43 percent. The ARG poll had a larger number of undecided voters and a Shaheen advantage of 46 percent to 41 percent for Sununu.
What is interesting is that the same ARG poll in June found that Shaheen had a 28 point lead over Sununu, when Shaheen had yet to enter the race.
Shaheen announced her intention to run on Friday.
Democratic US Senate candidate Jay Buckey says he will stay in the race even if former three term Governor Jeanne Shaheen enters the Democratic primary as she is expected to later today.
“I look forward to a vigorous discussion of the important issues in a primary, and I’d welcome Jeanne Shaheen into the race if she decides to run," Buckey said in a campaign statement.
Buckey, a Dartmouth Medical School professor and former astronaut, is already struggling to raise money and pick up support compared to the two others in the race so far.
Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, will enter the US Senate race in New Hampshire today in the form of a letter to supporters.
When she gets in she will shake up already one of the most competitive US Senate races in the country. For months three Democrats -- former Congressional candidate Katrina Swett, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and Dartmouth Medical School professor Jay Buckey -- have all been campaigning for the right to take on Republican US Senator John E. Sununu.
At least one, possibly two, of those Democratic candidates is expected to drop out of the race due to Shaheen..
Shaheen, who served three terms as governor from 1997-2003, is currently the director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Her entrance into the race will set up a rematch from 2002 when Sununu defeated Shaheen 51 percent to 47 percent.
The news that Shaheen will enter the race was first reported by the New Hampshire Union Leader. The Globe independently confirmed the news this morning.
Kathy Sullivan, the former state Democratic Party chair, lead a "Draft Shaheen" campaign over the summer that collected 1,300 signatures.
"If the reports that Governor Shaheen is running are true, this is great news for the state of New Hampshire," Sullivan said this morning.
Her announcement comes one day after former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, also a Democrat, wrote a similar letter to his supporters saying he would enter the US Senate race in his state.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A moderate Republican group headed-up by a former New Hampshire Congressman announced they plan to back former US Representative Jeb Bradley after news this week that Bradley will face a primary challenge as he tries to win back his old seat in New Hampshire's First Congressional District.
The Republican Main Street Partnership is currently headed up by Charles Bass, who served with Bradley as the two New Hampshire members of the house from 2003 to 2007.
On Tuesday the former head of the state's Health and Human Services, John Stephen, announced he would challenge Bradley in a primary for the right to take on freshman Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. Shea-Porter defeated Bradley 51 percent to 49 percent last year.
US Senator Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, has been selected to speak at a large fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Democratic Party this fall, the Globe has learned.
Last year Webb defeated incumbent US Senator George Allen in one of the country's most high-profile races.
A party spokeswoman said the choice of Webb was meant to reflect the seriousness the party has in defeating US Senator John E. Sununu, the freshman Republican who is up for re-election 2008.
The Jefferson-Jackson Dinner is one of two major fund-raisers for the state Democratic party. This year it will be held on Oct. 20 in Manchester.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Longtime Republican activist Wendy Stanley Jones told the Globe today that she plans to run for a recently vacated Republican National Committee seat in New Hampshire.
Jones, 50, of Durham, said she wants to be an RNC committeewoman to preserve the state's first-in-the-nation presidential primary, recruit more activists, and repair the party after its worst ever defeat in the 2006 midterm elections.
The seat was vacated two weeks ago when committeewoman Nancy Merrill, of Lebanon, became a statewide co-chair for John McCain's presidential campaign. Under state party rules, those holding Republican National Committee seats have to remain neutral in the presidential primary.
Jones is a former two-term member of the Exeter Board of Selectman, only the fourth woman to be elected to that position in the town's 350-year history. She has since moved to nearby Durham where she helped start the Strafford County Federation of Republican Women chapter, a Republican women leadership group. In addition she holds several house parties for presidential candidates.
The State Republican Party has yet to set a date for an election.
Former Executive Councilor Ruth Griffin is no longer considering running for the job.
A new poll shows President Bush's job approval rating in New Hampshire at 14 percent.
The job approval number was the lowest for Bush in the history of the poll, conducted by American Research Group.
On Thursday, Bush flew into Portsmouth ahead of his weekend in Kennebunkport, Me.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A new poll on the 2008 New Hampshire Senate race shows that if former Governor Jeanne Shaheen were to have a re-match against Senator John E. Sununu she would easily defeat him.
The poll, by Manchester-based American Research Group, gives Shaheen a 57-29 percent lead over Sununu.
So far, however, Shaheen has not made a decision to run even though some in the Democratic establishment have launched a "Draft Shaheen" effort.
In 2002, Sununu defeated Shaheen 51 percent to 46 percent.
Those wanting former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, to enter the US Senate race launched a new website today. View it here.
Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen will decide in September whether to enter one of the country's most closely watched US Senate races, her husband says.
Shaheen's husband, Billy, told the Globe she will make up her mind in September because, "it is only fair to those currently running that she have her mind made up either way".
This is the first time either Shaheen had given such a firm deadline for a decision.
Shaheen is currently the director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Two weeks ago, the former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair started a "draft Shaheen" movement.
If Shaheen were to get in the race it would likely set-up a scenario where she would have a rematch against Senator John E. Sununu, who defeated her in 2002.
HANOVER, N.H. -- A growing draft movement to encourage former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen to run in one of the nation's closely watched US Senate race picked up a key endorsement.
State Senator Peter Burling, a Cornish Democrat, is among those who want Shaheen to run, the Globe learned. His endorsement matters because it comes just a day after Jay Buckey, a Burling constituent, announced he was officially in the race.
"I think Jay is a terrific guy, but I made it clear to him that I think Governor Shaheen would be a better candidate," Burling said in an interview.
Burling joins other "Draft Shaheen" supporters like former Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan, State Senator Joe Foster and State Representative Jim Ryan.
Dartmouth Medical School Professor and former astronaut Jay Buckey announced today he has filed papers to enter the US Senate race in New Hampshire, one of the most closely watched races in the country.
Buckey, a Democrat, starts far behind other Democrats, including former Congressional candidate Katrina Swett and Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, but the primary is well over a year away in September 2008.
Buckey made the announcement via a YouTube video on his website.
DOVER, N.H. – Prosecutors in the case against former New Hampshire Congressional candidate Gary Dodds said today they might call up to 92 witnesses.
Dodds, a Rye Democrat, was the subject of a manhunt in the middle of his 2006 run for Congress after his car hit a guard rail and he went missing in the woods for over a day. He was found in what appeared to be a disoriented state walking in a backyard. He spent the night, he said, under a blanket of leaves.
But after an investigation the police said he made the whole thing up. He pleaded not guilty earlier this year to three charges that he left the scene of the accident and falsified police reports. Beyond his own hospital stay, no one was hurt.
At a pre-trial conference at Strafford County Superior Court today, the prosecution added more potential witnesses (bumping the number of potential witnesses to 92) and the trial was set to begin Oct. 1 and last five to eight days.
Dodds was at the court, but his attorney asked he not come into the courtroom to avoid the media for the procedural hearing.
There were some developments Thursday in New Hampshire's closely watched 2008 US Senate race in which Senator John E. Sununu, a Republican, is running for re-election.
Former astronaut and Dartmouth Medical School professor Jay Buckey told his local paper, the Valley News, that he is officially in the race. Buckey becomes the third Democratic candidate.
Meanwhile, former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan is letting it be known that she is starting a draft movement to encourage former Governor Jeanne Shaheen to enter the race.
And Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, a Democrat, announced 10 new endorsements today, including Justin Nadeau, the 2004 Democratic Congressional nominee, and two committee chairs in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Katrina Swett hit back hard on her US Senate Democratic primary opponent Steve Marchand a day after he announced a major endorsement.
Swett said that State Senator Lou D'Allesandro, of Manchester, is backing her even though he represents the same district where Marchand grew up.
Yesterday Marchand picked up the endorsement of Stonyfield Yogurt CEO Gary Hirshberg, a major Democratic fund-raiser. By endorsing Marchand, Hirshberg also ended speculation that he himself would run.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – In one of the most closely watched US Senate races in the country, a New Hampshire Democrat has ended speculation that he might challenge Republican US Senator John E. Sununu in 2008 by endorsing Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand.
Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Yogurt and a nationally prominent Democratic Party fund-raiser, had said he would consider running. His endorsement of Marchand is the most significant development in the campaign so far.
The campaign confirmed the endorsement after the Boston Globe learned of a meeting Tuesday at Stonyfield Yogurt in Londonderry involving Marchand and a group of 15 environmental policy experts. Stonyfield Yogurt markets itself as using only organic foods. A formal campaign announcement is expected today.
Marchand is running against former Congressional candidate Katrina Swett for the Democratic nomination. Former astronaut Jay Buckey and former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, both Democrats, could also enter the race.
The US Secret Service is busy in New Hampshire today protecting three prominent people visiting the state.
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush delivered the commencement address at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Illinois Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, who also has Secret Service protection, was wrapping up a two-day trip to the state.
Manchester lawyer and former Ambassador George Bruno sent invitations in the mail yesterday to 160 foreign ambassadors serving in the United States to see the New Hampshire Primary up close.
Bruno, who was an ambassador to Belize under the Clinton administration as well as a former New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, said he hopes to serve as a tour guide.
In recent years, the New Hampshire Primary has slowly become and international event with several foreign news outlets covering the race.
The first date some ambassadors could arrive, Bruno said, is to see watch the Democratic and Republican debates, on June 3 and 5.
The Florida House of Representatives voted to move up the state's presidential primary date to Jan. 29 of next year, a move that might mean the New Hampshire Primary could occur earlier than ever.
The Florida house voted 118-0 this afternoon on legislation that now only needs the signature of Governor Charlie Crist to become law. Crist said this afternoon he will sign it.
This places Florida's presidential primaries for both Democrats and Republicans on the same date that Democrats in South Carolina will hold their primary.
Since 1980 South Carolina has traditionally held the "first-in-the-South" primary and leaders there say they intend to keep it that way.
Unlike Florida, in South Carolina each state party is responsible for setting the date and administering a presidential primary.
South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson said in an interview today that Florida's move will make him move up his party's primary.
"It is a question of when we will move the primary, not if," Dawson said.
In terms of New Hampshire's date, if South Carolina Democrats move their date just one day ahead of the scheduled Jan. 29 date it would mean that New Hampshire would not schedule its primary on Jan. 22, as the Democratic National Committee wants.
This is because South Carolina would then trigger a New Hampshire law stating that "no similar event" may be held 7 days before or after.
In an interview, New Hampshire State Representative Jim Splaine, a Portsmouth Democrat who authored that state law, said he fully expects New Hampshire's date to be earlier than Jan. 22.
Splaine said he has been urging New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner to set the date earlier regardless of what Florida or South Carolina decide to do.
Presidential candidates are already commenting on two pieces of legislation that passed the New Hampshire State Senate today and are headed to the desk of Governor John Lynch ,who is expected to sign them into law.
This morning, New Hampshire's Senate voted 19-5 to increase the state's minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the course of a year.
The same legislative body voted 14-10 to make New Hampshire the fourth state to allow civil unions between same sex couples.
Campaigning in New Hampshire today, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney made referenced to today's vote three times as a way of explaining how he "strongly opposed efforts to to allow gay marriage" while governor.
However, New York Senator Hillary Clinton applauded the vote.
“New Hampshire continues to lead the country in preserving the rights and freedom of all of its citizens," said Clinton in a statement.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards released a statement applauding the increase of the minimum wage saying, "New Hampshire leaders have made an unquestionable commitment to justice and increased prosperity for New Hampshire’s workers."
New Hampshire's two freshman US Representatives, both Democrats, raised a fair amount of campaign funds in the first three months of the year.
US Representative Paul Hodes, of Concord, reported raising $283,000 in the first three months of the year. After expenses he has 202,000 of remaining cash on hand.
No candidates have announced their intent to challenge Hodes in 2008.
In her first quarter, US Representative Carol Shea-Porter raised $114,000 and has $128,000 cash on hand.
In her entire campaign for Congress last year, Shea-Porter only spent $360,000. In that race Shea-Porter defeated two term Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley. Bradley said in January he wanted a rematch in 2008 but he spent most of this year on vacation with his family in Europe, where his wife’s family is from. His report shows he raised just $7,600 and has $63,500 of cash on hand.
US Senator John E. Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican, has nearly triple the amount of campaign cash than his closest Democratic opponent for his 2008 re-election bid.
The race is expected to be one of the most closely watched and most expensive in the country, experts in both parties say.
Campaign finance records provided to the Globe show Sununu raised $540,397.61 in the first three months of the year. This means Sununu currently has roughly $1.25 million cash on hand.
So far, two Democrats are challenging Sununu. Former congressional candidate Katrina Swett raised $462,000 for the period and has $443,000 cash on hand. Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand raised $97,000 and has $86,000 cash on hand.
New Hampshire Governor John Lynch's approval rating is now at 80 percent among likely voters in the Granite State.
A University of New Hampshire poll released Wednesday night shows Lynch, a Democrat, gained three points from the last time they polled the question eight weeks ago.
So far Lynch hasn't even hinted as to who he will endorse in the state's presidential primary or if he will endorse at all.
Democrats Katrina Swett and Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand both announced they raised six-figure fund-raising numbers in the first three months of the year as they challenge US Senator John E. Sununu's re-election in 2008.
Swett's campaign announced that she raised $462,000 in the first quarter of the year. After expenses, the campaign has nearly $450,000 cash on hand.
Marchand raised a little over $100,000, his campaign said Monday. The campaign had about 250 donors.
Sununu has not released how much he has raised. Fund-raising reports aren't due at the Federal Elections Commission until April 15.
As a former Congressional nominee, the wife of a former Congressman and the daughter of a current one, Swett has been expected to out fund-raise Marchand.
Meanwhile, the liberal blog Daily Kos was talking up Marchand today.
Americans United for Change, a Washington-based advocacy group against the Iraq war, announced today that it will purchase television advertising time to run ads against Republican US Senators John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine.
Both are up for re-election in 2008.
A former astronaut who is thinking about challenging US Senator John E. Sununu's re-election in 2008 has launched a website for his exploratory committee.
Jay Buckey, a Democrat and Dartmouth Medical School professor, announced last month his interest in the seat. If he joins the race he faces a primary against two opponents who have already been running and raising money for a few months.
His new website is www.buckey08.com
A new poll shows a majority of likely New Hampshire primary voters believe that global warming is occurring right now.
The poll showed 73 percent of likely Democratic voters said it was occurring at the moment and 56 percent of Republicans saying the same thing. The Mellman Group conducted the poll for Clear the Air and Clean Air-Cool Planet.
The LCV has begun work with organizations in New Hampshire such as the Carbon Coalition to make global warming one of the top issues candidates discuss on the campaign trail. They are also working in Iowa and South Carolina.
Past winners of the New Hampshire primary Gary Hart and Pat Buchanan will be honored at a dinner in Manchester tonight.
The Primary Awards Dinner, the annual fund-raiser for the non-partisan New Hampshire Political Library, honors those who had prominent involvement in the primary. The dinner will also honor Massachusetts native and former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman.
This morning, Buchanan’s sister, Bay, was named a senior advisor to Congressman Tom Tancredo’s presidential campaign.
A second Democrat, state Senator David Gottesman, said that he is no longer interested in challenging Republican US Senator John E. Sununu in 2008.
Earlier this week, Stonyfield Yogurt CEO Gary Hirshberg said he, too, would not run.
The race is considered one of three in 2008 that could decide which party controls the Senate, which Democrats currently control by one seat.
So far, two Democrats -- Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and former Congressional candidate Katrina Swett -- have filed to run against Sununu. Former astronaut and Dartmouth Medical School professor Jay Buckey, also a Democrat, has formed an exploratory committee.
Stonyfield Yogurt CEO Gary Hirshberg has told friends he will not run for the US Senate in 2008 against incumbent Republican Senator John E. Sununu.
Hirshberg said in an email sent to friends that for the time being he wants to focus on his business.
“I have concluded that I cannot enter this race at this time,” wrote Hirshberg in the e-mail, which was sent just after midnight. “I have not yet found a way to responsibly transition leadership of my businesses, and I know that a campaign would make it impossible for me to give this matter the serious attention it requires.”
He is expected to release a media statement later today.
Currently, two Democrats have filed to take on Sununu: Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and former Congressional candidate Katrina Swett.
The endorsement of Hirshberg, a major Democratic fund-raiser in New Hampshire, will be highly sought after by Marchand and Swett.
Stonyfield Yogurt CEO and Concord resident Gary Hirshberg still has not announced whether he will run in one of the most highly watched US Senate race in 2008.
Hirshberg, a Democrat, said he will make up his mind by today, March 5. None of his associates were aware of any decision and he did not return a phone call to the Globe.
Currently two Democrats -- Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and Bow activist Katrina Swett – have filed papers to challenge Republican Senator John E. Sununu.
Many Democrats see Hirschberg as a potentially strong candidate in the crowded Democratic primary, given his liberal politics and deep personal financial resources.
The Democratic National Senatorial Committee has said the New Hampshire race was among the top three they were targeting in 2008.
Last week, the conservative Club For Growth took an usual step of endorsing Sununu’s re-election in an attempt to raise money for him. Historically, the Club for Growth only targets money where there is a contested Republican primary, and Sununu isn’t expected to face a primary challenger.
CONCORD, N.H. – One of New Hampshire’s most prominent and influential Democrats was cleared of all allegations he once possessed child pornography.
New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte said at a press conference this afternoon that a two-month investigation into claims that New Hampshire Democratic Party Vice Chair Ray Buckley had used child pornography were “unsubstantiated”and “uncorroborated.'' No charges will be filed.
Instead, Ayotte said, her office considered filing charges against State Representative Steve Vaillancourt, a Manchester Republican and political rival of Buckley’s, whose letter alleging the crimes began the investigation.
But since Vaillancourt’s letter was sent to Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, and not to the police, Ayotte said, she couldn’t prove Vaillancourt knowingly submitted false information to law enforcement officials or that he intended for Buckley to be prosecuted.
Manchester lawyer John Kacavas, who represents Buckley, said his client is considering a lawsuit against Vaillancourt.
“This certainly meets the definition of defamation,” said Kacavas.
In late December Buckley released a list of endorsements showing he had enough support to become the next state Democratic Party Chair, replacing Kathy Sullivan, who is retiring. Days later Vaillancourt sent a letter to Lynch alleging that when he and Buckley lived together “you could not enter [Buckley’s] room without stepping over kiddie porn strewn on the floor.''
Lynch, who campaigned on his ability to pass stronger sexual predator laws, immediately asked Buckley to drop his bid for party chair. Buckley did. That act set off considerable media attention in New Hampshire and was the talk of the political class.
US Senator John E. Sununu, the New Hampshire Republican, has a significant head start in fundraising over his Democratic challengers.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Sununu had $737,739.56 on hand at the beginning of 2007.
In recent weeks two Democrats -- Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and Bow activist Katrina Swett -- have filed papers to run against Sununu.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has listed the race among its top three targeted contests.
In an e-mail to their students this morning, Saint Anselm College in Manchester announced it has been selected to host the first debates of the 2008 presidential election. The debates, on April 4 and April 5, are sponsored by CNN, WMUR-TV, and the New Hampshire Union Leader.
In 2004, Saint Anselm hosted the debate before the New Hampshire Primary.
CNN and WMUR-TV announced late Friday they will host the first debates of the presidential primary season in New Hampshire.
The debates are scheduled to be held on April 4 and April 5. The moderators will be CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, WMUR’s Scott Spradling, and the Union Leader’s John DiStaso.
Ray Buckley, who claimed to have locked up the votes needed to become the next chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, announced this afternoon that he is dropping out of the race.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that he is part of a criminal investigation allegedly linking him to pornography.
That leaves the powerful position, one of the most prominent in American politics because of the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a near open contest for at least a few days.
Moments after Buckley publicly announced that he would not run, former House Democratic Leader Jim Craig, of Manchester, announced that he would run. He claimed to already have the support of Governor John Lynch, House Speaker Terie Norelli, and Senate President Sylvia Larsen.
State Representative Betty Hall is the only other announced candidate.
When Gerald Ford, who died Tuesday night, sought to keep the presidency in 1976, much of the primary season focused on little known Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter’s amazing rise to national prominence. What is often lost in the discussion of that primary is that Ford defeated Ronald Reagan by the slimmest margin in New Hampshire Primary history.
Ford received 55,156 votes to Reagan’s 53,569 votes that year. If you need signs to prove New Hampshire Primary has changed since then, look at the fact Ford visited New Hampshire only twice and left for China the weekend before the primary.
Although Ford was an incumbent Republican president, Reagan had support from the active conservative base, including then-Governor Meldrim Thompson and the Manchester Union Leader newspaper.
Next N.H. Dem Chair likely to be Buckley
Raymond Buckley, currently the vice chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, says he has enough support to become chairman of the party when Kathy Sullivan retires from that position this spring.
Buckley says he is supported by 117 of the 195 members on the state committee, including Governor John Lynch, both Democratic US Representatives, and the entire Democratic caucus of the state Senate.
So far, Buckley has been unopposed.
The election of the next chairman is seen as an important one given that the person will have to oversee the next New Hampshire Primary and manage tensions the state has with the Democratic National Committee after that group has threatened to eliminate the state’s first-in-the-nation status.
Buckley has been involved in New Hampshire politics for decades. In addition to his involvement with the state party, he is the chair for the Manchester Democrats.
Note to all Democratic presidential candidates: If you want to snag one of the most important endorsements in the country you then remember to hold the ketchup.
Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen said on national television last night that she is “not a ketchup” eater because the condiment was “too spicy”.
Shaheen, who currently heads the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, was interviewed for Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report”. The segment, which you can watch here, aired Wednesday night.
In 2004, Shaheen was the national campaign chair for Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign. Because of her role, Colbert asked if they served Heinz ketchup in the school’s cafeteria. Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is an heir to the ketchup maker’s fortune.
Shaheen responded that she didn’t know whether Heinz ketchup was served because she doesn’t eat it.
While her condiment preferences were thoroughly discussed, the question as to whether she will run for the US Senate again in 2008, a topic of discussion in New Hampshire, was not brought up.
The Executive Director of the New Hampshire Republican Party confirmed to the Globe that he has submitted his resignation and plans to leave his post next month.
His resignation comes amid a fight in the party over who would become the next chairman. The mid-term elections were the worst results in state history for Republicans, and the current chairman announced last week that he would not seek re-election.
Andy Leach, the current executive director, told members of the party’s executive committee at a holiday party Tuesday night that he would voluntarily step down so that a new chairman could make a fresh start.
“I am not sure what I will be doing when I leave, but this needed to be done,” Leach said in an interview.
Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen said in an interview she “has not ruled out” running for the US Senate in 2008, which would set up a re-match between her and freshman Senator John E. Sununu.
One day after an aide to incumbent Governor John Lynch, a popular Democrat, said he would not run for the Senate, the nomination is essentially Shaheen’s to turn down or take.
In 2002, Shaheen lost to Sununu 51 to 46 percent. (A Libertarian candidate picked up the remaining 3 percent.)
Shaheen is currently the director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She was NH governor for three terms before running for the Senate. In 2003-2004, she was the national campaign chair for John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
If Shaheen stays at Harvard, speculation will turn to people such as state Senators Maggie Hassan, Joe Foster, and Peter Burling. Lynch associates are also talking up the prospects of Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand.
Shaheen said Lynch deserves a lot of credit for Democrats taking over the entire state legislature for the first time since 1874. In 1998, Shaheen won re-election and the state senate went to the Democrats, a move that harmed her politically because it forced her to move to the left.
Asked is she had any advice for Lynch, she said, “I don’t think he needs any”.
Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, is not interested in challenging Republican Senator John E. Sununu when he is up for re-election in 2008, his press secretary told a small paper in New Hampshire’s North Country Thursday.
Pam Walsh told the Coos County Democrat that Lynch wants to stay in New Hampshire and “he has no plans for run for the U.S. Senate in 2008.”
After winning re-election himself by the largest margin in state history last week, Lynch has been rumored to have a lot of pressure put on him to seek a match-up against Sununu. In 2002, Sununu won his first term by defeating Lynch’s mentor, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen.
Unless Lynch reconsiders, the party will now ask if Shaheen will want a re-match. If she defers, some in the party are already talking about the prospects of state senators like Peter Burling, Joe Foster, or Maggie Hassan. Recently some in the Lynch camp have promoted the idea of Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand as a fresh face candidate who would build political capital even if he lost.
CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire Department of Justice will open an investigation examining complaints of illegal automated telephone calls that allegedly took place within days of the mid-term elections.
New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jim Kennedy said his office is almost finished with initial queries into whether the National Republican Congressional Committee had placed calls to phone numbers on the federal Do Not Call Registry and that a formal investigation will begin soon.
In addition to the NRCC, Kennedy said his office was also reviewing complaints that the US Chamber of Commerce and the New Hampshire Democratic Party did the same thing.
For the most part, the automated calls targeted voters in the highly competitive Second Congressional District, in the state's western half. In that race, Democrat Paul Hodes defeated six-term Republican incumbent Charlie Bass.
At issue is a conflict of state and federal law. The federal law creating the Do Not Call Registry specifically allows political campaigns and advocacy groups to call numbers on the registry in deference to free speech concerns. The New Hampshire law does not, and those who break it face a fine of up to $5,000 per phone call.
When complaints from those on the Do Not Call Registry first appeared, an NRCC spokesman said the state law did not apply to his national organization. After a conversation with the state Attorney General's office, NRCC staffers stopped making phone calls two days before the election.
The investigation is expected to take several weeks, possibly into 2007. When the investigation is completed, Kennedy said his office will decide whether charges should be pursued.
The controversy about the phone calls received significant news coverage in the final weekend of the campaign.
Yesterday New Hampshire Democrats had such historic victories that it sent political reporters digging through old books and calling the one person who somehow keeps all of state political history in his head, Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
Here is a sampling of a few facts about yesterday’s election in the Granite State:
- Governor John Lynch won re-election by the largest margin of victory for any governor in state history. Lynch’s 74 percent beat the 70 percent mark set by Governor Steve Merrill in 1994.
- Democrats took a majority in the state Senate for only the second time since 1911. In the House, Democrats reclaimed the majority for the first time since 1922. But the last time a Democratic Senate served alongside a Democratic House was in 1874.
- Democrat Carol Shea-Porter’s impressive upset of two-term Republican incumbent US Representative Jeb Bradley means Shea-Porter will be the first woman in the history of the state to represent New Hampshire in Washington.
- Shea-Porter goes to Washington with Democrat Paul Hodes, who defeated Republican incumbent US Representative Charlie Bass in the state’s other Congressional district. This is the first time since 1912 that the state’s two representatives were Democrat.
- The last time Democrats won a majority in the Executive Council was in 1964.
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- A New Hampshire Democrat who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 was arrested Wednesday afternoon on three charges relating to a traffic violation.
According to police, Burt Cohen of New Castle not only failed to stop for a stop sign but did not immediately pull over when directed to do so and also resisted arrest. The event occurred around 2 p.m. Wednesday on Ladd Street in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Police Lt. Dante Puopolo said Cohen was charged with ignoring a traffic control device, a minor offense, as well as two misdemeanors of disobeying an officer and resisting arrest.
Cohen was released on bail. He is expected to be arraigned in a few weeks, but no date has been set. A police report was still being written.
Prior to running for the U.S. Senate, Cohen served three terms as a New Hampshire state senator. Oddly, Cohen never became an official candidate for the U.S. Senate because two days before the filing period ended his campaign manager mysteriously left the campaign, money appeared to be missing, and Cohen ended his campaign.
His campaign manager, Jesse Burchfield, was later found guilty of inflating figures on campaign finance records and is currently serving community service in California.
First Lady Laura Bush will visit New Hampshire Monday to headline a Republican campaign rally, the Globe has learned.
Mrs. Bush, who is consistently one of the most popular Republicans in polls, will appear at the Best Western Executive Court in Manchester. Those familiar with the planning of the trip say her appearance is meant to help incumbent Rep. Charlie Bass, who is in a tight re-election contest.
The last time she visited New Hampshire was in 2004 while she was campaigning for her husband’s re-election.