Cheat sheet 2022 archive: notes on NH politics news

Cheat sheet 2022 archive: notes on NH politics news
Photo by Roman Kraft / Unsplash

Need newer notes? Visit the current cheat sheet for the latest developments in NH politics.

Monday, Dec. 19, 2022

Mike Pence struggling to find his path back to the White House. "The core of Pence's identity has always been loyalty ... Then came the day he had to choose between his boss — the leader of his party — and the Constitution. ... Now, as Pence peddles a new memoir and ponders his own run for president, he's struggling to demonstrate where his loyalties really lie ... At a moment when Pence most needs to clearly identify himself to a party that is beginning to audition alternatives to its divisive de facto leader, Pence seems stuck in some muddled attempt to be multiple things simultaneously." (Adam Wren for Politico Magazine) #fitn

Opinion: Karoline Leavitt calls for GOP to "take back our culture and cure the woke cancer" by focusing on schools. "Rather than spend millions of dollars to attack fellow Republicans in primaries (as happened to me in my race), the Republican establishment should invest in school board races in every state across the country to elect common-sense individuals who will fire woke school administrators and bad teachers," she wrote. (Karoline Leavitt for Fox News Opinion) #nh01

More headlines:

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022

Pence calls for GOP civility. While on book tour in NH last week, the former VP responded gently to questions about Trump. "I think the American people long for leadership that could unite our country around our highest ideals, beginning with the respect that Americans show each other just about every day," he said. "And we'll sort out what our role [i.e., the Pence family's role] will be in that, but I truly do believe in the days ahead we're going to have better choices. The former president has every right to be a candidate, to run for office again, but ... I'm confident that Republican voters will choose well ... onto, I hope, a new season of renewed civility, renewed respect in this country." (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #fitn

New Hampshire seethes at Biden's planned changes to 2024 primaries. "The proposed change ... isn’t merely a reshuffling of states in a presidential calendar. To the people of New Hampshire, it's a deep disturbance to the political soul of the 'live free or die' state, where restaurant workers not only can tick off a list of presidents they've met but recount which ones will look you in the eye." (Natasha Korecki for NBC) #fitn

Opinion: Shaheen and Warmington say more teen pregnancies and STDs are GOP policy. "The Republican-controlled Executive Council ... continues to show gross negligence and dereliction of duty around protecting New Hampshire’s public health. On issue after issue, Republican Councilors’ extreme ideology has blocked critical funding for Granite Staters — with votes to defund everything from family planning providers that offer essential reproductive health care to vaccination efforts during the height of the pandemic." (Jeanne Shaheen and Cinde Warmington for Union Leader) #nhsen #nhgov

More headlines:

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022

Anna Brown of Citizens Count offers NH legislative preview. "The majority between Democrats and Republicans could flip on any given voting day. It will be almost impossible for either party to pass highly partisan legislation." That holds the door open for bipartisanship, but the Republican majority could still make procedural moves "to give less priority to Democratic bills." Brown said she expects the Senate to have a big role again in the budget-making process and keep it focused on economic facets. "I don’t think we’ll see any of those social issues combined with the budget like we did last time around." (NH PBS and written Q&A via Manchester Ink Link) #nhleg

Media blitz expands Sununu's national footprint. Outside NH, the GOP governor is hardly a household name. But he's become a staple on cable news and Sunday shows. "He's accessible talking to people at Market Basket and on 'Meet the Press.' It's just one of his strengths and he enjoys it and I think he's just having the time of his life," said veteran GOP consultant David Carney. (Paul Steinhauser for Concord Monitor) #nhgov #fitn

More headlines:

Friday, Dec. 16, 2022

Democratic strategist Judy Reardon has died. "Reardon, a political strategist and counsel to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen through much of her political career ... was considered a political 'force to be reckoned with ...'" (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH). "Reardon was Shaheen’s legal counsel during her three terms as governor from 1997 to 2003. She went on to be the counsel, legislative director and senior advisor for Shaheen in the U.S. Senate." (Mark Hayward for Union Leader). "Reardon passed away Friday at the age of 64 after a long period of illness" (Amanda Bouldin for Manchester Ink Link).

Rift between Sununu and NH House GOP grows, as budget season approaches
Some House Republicans view Sununu as uncooperative, while Sununu views some lawmakers as extreme.
Right-to-know ombudsman could settle disputes when records are denied
After a complaint is filed, the public body or agency that denied the records request must respond, explaining the reasons for the denial.

More headlines:

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022

TikTok banned from NH government devices. "In an executive order signed Thursday, Sununu wrote that the app, owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, introduced an 'unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the state'" (Todd Bookman for NHPR). "In the past two weeks, at least seven states have issued similar bans on TikTok, including Alabama, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Texas. Nebraska banned TikTok from state devices in 2020" (Kirk Enstrom for WMUR). "On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that would ban the wildly popular social media app from devices issued by federal agencies" (Giulia Heyward for NPR). #nhgov

Trump NFT stunt latest misstep as more Republicans move on. "Granite State Republican insiders groaned in disbelief at former President Donald Trump's latest stunt when a promised 'major announcement' turned out to be a sales pitch for a series of Trump trading cards." Michael Biundo, a GOP strategist who worked on Trump's 2016 campaign, tweeted that the episode "is not great" for the first big announcement since Trump announced his 2024 candidacy. "I kinda feel like we are being punked," Biundo wrote. (Michael Graham for NHJournal)

More headlines:

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022

Final voter confidence report expected to drop right before Christmas
The committee has been revising its report for months. It’s still unclear whether all eight members will back the final version.

Adam Gaudet, outgoing Realtors Association president, urges NH lawmakers to stay focused on affordability. "We hear from every corner in New Hampshire that affordable housing is a major concern from residents and employers. We need our lawmakers to stay focused on this important issue, their constituents are begging for it," said Gaudet, owner/broker of 603 Birch Realty in Concord. (Paul Briand for NHBR) #nhleg

Police drive homeless woman from Sanford, Maine, to Manchester, drop her at shelter without any beds. Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig wrote in an email to Sanford officials that their city's behavior was "frankly, shameful." Craig called on Sanford officials to investigate and apologize (Paul Feely for Union Leader). "The only reason this incident came to light is because the woman happened to go to the mayor for help" (Carol Robidoux for Manchester Ink Link). #mht

More headlines:

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022

Buyer properly vetted? More dispute state’s claims about $21.5M Laconia deal
Sununu put language into the budget last year giving himself authority to sell the property, with the Executive Council approval.

Scott Myers, who served as Laconia's city manager until October, shared a city perspective on the State School property saga. "For Governor Sununu to infer that the city administration is incompetent and looking to slow the process down when we were the ones driving it is almost laughable. The city administration is very competent, the city isn’t the one driving the process and the City was clearly on record with multiple concerns with the aforementioned seven high-ranking state officials via the Sept. 22 letter." (Scott Myers for NHBR) #nhgov

An alleged Russian smuggling ring found in Merrimack. "Alexey and Daria Brayman, a pair of thirtysomething Eastern European emigres, blended well into this land of shared casseroles, poker nights, and neighborhood book clubs. ... But Tuesday morning, that perfect American image was shattered as Alexey Brayman, 35, and six others were named in a sprawling federal indictment that accused them of running an international smuggling ring that illegally funneled sensitive technology to Russia." (Dugan Arnett, Hanna Krueger and Brendan McCarthy for The Boston Globe)

  • "On Tuesday, the curtains and blinds were drawn and closed at 30 Ellie Drive. The front porch was decorated with festive holiday greenery, and an inflatable Santa Claus, reindeer, and snowman swayed in the steady breeze on the front lawn. A black SUV was parked in the driveway, but no one answered the door. The only people on the street were local and out-of-state media organizations, and a couple of neighbors who exited their homes, got into their cars and drove off, after declining to speak with a Union Leader reporter" (Mark Hayward and Paul Feely for Union Leader).

Seabrook private jet firm sues Twitter over failure to pay for flight services. "The suit ... charges Twitter with breach of contract, breach of quasi contract and calls for unspecified damages and attorney fees. ... an attempt to reach Twitter for was not successful ... Musk eliminated the firm’s communications department after taking over the company." (Bob Sanders for NHBR)

More headlines:

Monday, Dec. 12, 2022

Republican and Democratic leaders in NH House team up on marijuana legalization bill. "House Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R) and Minority Leader Matt Wilhelm (D) are sponsoring the legalization bill, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess and gift up to four ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants (three of which could be mature) for personal use." The bill could hit a snag in the NH Senate, as it has in the past, "but the Senate did see some shifts that favor reform" (Kyle Jaeger for Marijuana Moment). #nhleg

  • "The bill, which has yet to be released, already has the backing of a coalition that includes the liberal American Civil Liberties Union and the conservative Americans for Prosperity. The proposal would permit anyone over 21 to possess or give away up to 4 ounces of marijuana, annul records of past marijuana possession offenses and allow state-approved retailers to sell cannabis. Retail sales would be taxed at 8.5%" (Josh Rogers for NHPR).
  • "I will fight this tooth and nail," said Sen. Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), an outspoken critic of legal weed in New Hampshire (Michael Graham for NHJournal).
  • Governor Sununu recently reiterated his opposition to marijuana legalization. "We still have a massive drug crisis going on across this country. Right now really is not the time. It's not a 'never' thing. But now is not the time" (Adam Sexton for WMUR).
  • Federal context: President Joe Biden, a Democrat, signaled a major shift in federal marijuana policy in October and urged governors to follow his lead. Democrats in the U.S. Senate introduced a federal legalization package in July, saying they looked forward to bipartisan collaboration on marijuana policy reform "to get something done this year" (Steven Porter for Granite Memo).
What NH loses if it no longer goes first in the presidential primary
For the political elite, there’s a lot at stake in preserving the state’s primacy.

Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022

The DNC is "effectively threatening the decimation of its own state party" over NH #fitn presidential primary. Proposal would require NH Democratic Party to offer its base voter file to presidential campaigns for $10,000 max. The state party has historically charged more. Other discretionary penalties are possible. "In a swing state where they are not guaranteed success by any stretch, the DNC has just installed a financial landmine under its own party organization that will be triggered if the state of New Hampshire simply follows its own law to hold the first primary." (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #fitn

Institute for Justice to step in on behalf of parents in voucher program lawsuit. "The New Hampshire Legislature’s mechanism for funding the accounts is constitutional and the Institute for Justice is ready to defend it," said IJ Educational Choice Attorney David Hodges. (Paul Feely for Union Leader)

Republican activist Christine Peters enters race for NH GOP vice chair. Peters, who is currently vice chair of the Souhegan Cooperative School Board, said she's undaunted by Gov. Chris Sununu's endorsement of Ryan Terrell, a NH Board of Education member, in the NH GOP vice chair race. Don Bolduc is also running for vice chair. "Sources say state Rep. Fred Doucette (R-Salem) has been considering a run as well" (Michael Graham for NHJournal).

More headlines:

Facing potential recession, NH lawmakers urged to exercise budget restraint
Federal pandemic funding is expiring. Inflation and interest rates are climbing. The risk of an economic downturn is real.

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022

Manchester names Adrienne Beloin as city's new homelessness director. "She is the former director of programs and services at St. Francis House in Boston, the largest day shelter in Massachusetts. ... Beloin, who grew up in New Hampshire, has worked with people experiencing homelessness in the Boston area for more than 20 years." (Paul Feely for Union Leader) #mht

More headlines:

Friday, Dec. 9, 2022

Gov. Chris Sununu surveys the field. "Sununu is trying to define himself against not just Trump, but many of the right’s obsessions that he sees as political losers. On this week’s episode of Playbook Deep Dive, host and Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza went to the statehouse in Concord, NH, where Sununu was keen to discuss 2024 presidential primary politics in a way that he hasn’t recently." (Ryan Lizza for Politico Playbook Deep Dive) #nhgov #fitn

Court system launches diversity and inclusion initiative. The NH judicial branch has launched an initiative to identify and eliminate cultural biases within the court system. The plan is to gauge sensitivity to factors including race, gender, disability, socio-economic conditions and limited English proficiency. (AP; see also Paul Cuno-Booth for NHPR)

Chris Ager, candidate for NH GOP chair: ‘I trust people to go make things happen’
The current National Committeeman said the NH GOP should unite around lower taxes, smaller government, individual responsibility and local control.

More headlines:

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022

State and federal officials work to find whoever was behind fake active-shooter threats. Schools affected were in Whitefield, Concord, Claremont, Dover, Franklin, Laconia, Lebanon, Littleton and Portsmouth. "Law enforcement sources tell News 9 Investigates that it appears that the school shooting hoax calls were similar in nature and came from an out-of-state number." (Arielle Mitropoulos, Tim Callery and Jennifer Crompton for WMUR)

Teachers union head sues over NH school voucher program funding. Deb Howes, president of the American Federation of Teachers-NH, the state's second-largest teachers union, filed a lawsuit Thursday against Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, claiming the use of public funds from the lottery and the Education Trust Fund to pay for the Education Freedom Account program violates the NH Constitution. "The state specifically earmarked this money for public education," she said (Paul Feely for Union Leader). "The law only allows the money to be used to distribute adequate education grants to school districts and approved charter schools, the suit claims" (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH).

Republican state reps file legislation to further restrict abortion. "Anti-abortion Republicans are working on several pieces of legislation to restrict the procedure, including a fetal heartbeat bill, banning abortion at six weeks." Rep. Dave Testerman, R-Franklin, is among those who see this as a moral issue. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhleg

James Foley Foundation reacts to Brittney Griner's return from Russia. "This is the moment that every family whose loved one is being held hostage or unjustly detained overseas dreams of. ... However, it is heartbreaking that Paul Whelan is not also on that flight home with Brittney," said Diane Foley, the mother of journalist James Foley, who was killed in 2014 by Islamic State militants (Jessica Kisluk for WMUR).

  • Inside Biden's agonizing decision: Putin wouldn't budge on Whelan. "The choice was bringing Brittney Griner home right now, or bringing no one home right now," one senior administration official said (Kevin Liptak and Phil Mattingly for CNN).

Pappas leads fight for same-sex marriage protection. "Pappas said all same-sex couples in America should be relieved after the House passed legislation Thursday that would preempt any future Supreme Court from nullifying those marriages." Pappas said he and his partner, Vann Bentley, would marry next February. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nh01

Sununu blames delegation for #fitn fail, pledges to get involved in NH GOP leadership fight. "They're the Democratic delegation, they’re in charge of the pitch and they clearly blew it. The delegation as a whole did a terrible job. ... It's an outrageous request to think that the Democrat National Committee is going to dictate our laws and our process," Sununu said. "And the only reason they are trying to take this from us is because of the personal whims of a candidate, Joe Biden." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhgov

Symposium tackles link between politics and public health. Dartmouth Health hosted the meeting at the NH Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. "If you get the right policies in place, you can address all the structural issues and the access issues and the political issues and really put patients first," said Dr. Deborah Birx, who led the White House's COVID-19 response under former President Donald Trump. (Ray Brewer for WMUR)

The winners and losers of Democrats' primary shakeup. The calendar could boost Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia. Minnesota's exclusion could hurt Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "But if there is a real loser in South Carolina’s big win, it would seem to be Pete Buttigieg." (David Siders for Politico) #fitn

More headlines:

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022

7 important things that happened Wednesday at the State House
Lawmakers made key leadership decisions; Democrats called on one of their own to resign; and the Executive Council had qualms.

Acting NH health commissioner confirmed. "Lori Weaver, the deputy commissioner of (NH DHHS), will lead the department in an acting capacity after Commissioner Lori Shibinette steps down later this month." With more than 3,200 positions, the agency accounts for nearly half the state budget. (Paul Cuno-Booth for NHPR) #nhgov

Executive Council gives Ag Commissioner Shawn Jasper another 5 years
One councilor raised concerns about the commissioner’s “poor bedside manner.”

When rents went up at 5 Chapel Street in Newmarket, a group of tenants tried to fight back. "When a new property management company, Condor Capital, purchased the property in June, the Hogans figured a rent increase was inevitable. But they were shocked when they read the email from Condor announcing the new rent: $1,775, an increase of nearly $1,000 per month. ... it felt like a robbery." (Todd Bookman for NHPR)

More headlines:

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022

Several Democrats expected to miss key votes on Organization Day
The expected absences on the Democratic side could give the GOP a wider margin, but Republican absences are possible, too.

Ian Freeman of Keene goes to trial on charges he ran unlicensed bitcoin biz. He and five others were arrested last year. Four have pleaded guilty. Freeman has been active in the Free State Project, run for several legislative offices, hosts the "Free Talk Live" radio show, writes for the "Free Keene" blog, and says he's been a minister associated with the Shire Free Church. Trial expected to last two weeks. (Kathy McCormack for AP)

Secretary of state election a contest between experience and reform
Both candidates said it’s too early to speak about what strategy they would use to work with other states and keep New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.

Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

Congressional delegation asks for sex ed program funds. The four Democrats seek federal funds for a program offered in counties with higher-than-average teen pregnancy rates. Their request comes after three Republicans on the NH Executive Council declined to fund the contract. (AP)

Not so simple: Consequences of NH voting first in 2024 could be steep
The success of New Hampshire’s 2024 primary would depend heavily on what the DNC does to enforce its new calendar.

Friday, Dec. 2, 2022

Picking presidents: Will NH vote first? Or will NH vote first?
With a battle-tested state law on their side, NH Democrats insist their first-in-the-nation presidential primary will happen one of two ways: either with or without DNC approval.
Winner confirmed in NH Senate race after post-recount appeal dropped
Thousands of challenged absentee ballots wouldn’t be enough to change the outcome of the race.
NH Secretary of State on DNC’s 2024 primary plan: ‘Absolutely not.’
Also: Leaders leaving NH GOP posts; voter confidence committee still revising final report; an unusual recount appeal has been dropped.

November 2022

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022

‘Bad timing’? Craigslist ad on Election Day could cost NH man his right to vote
People seeking a free trailer flooded a candidate’s phone with messages. The ad poster said he “never meant any harm.”

Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022

CloseUp: NH primary faces critical test at DNC meeting. The DNC's Rules and Bylaws committee will meet Thursday, Dec. 1, to approve its early voting state calendar. Anything is possible, and few presidential hopefuls are defending the NH primary's first-in-the-nation status. No matter what the DNC decides, the NH Secretary of State will schedule our primary a week ahead of any similar contest, per state law. "So the choice for the DNC this week is this: Do you give New Hampshire an unauthorized bootleg pirate primary that will swashbuckle in and wreak havoc on a newly curated calendar, or do you satisfy calls for reform by bidding farewell to the Iowa caucus and making New Hampshire not just the first primary but the first overall contest, at least on the Democratic side? Either way, it's going to be a very interesting 14 or 15 months ahead." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #fitn

Lewandowski: Money isn't the only key to winning elections. "It’s easy, and lazy to blame former President Donald Trump. He’s the media’s easy target. ... It's time to reevaluate how things have been done from the top down. ... Sure, RNC officials can point to the record amount of money they raised in 2022 — but it’s not all about the money. It's about messaging and reminding the American people of what the Republican party stands for — lower taxes, less regulation and personal freedom." (Corey Lewandowski commentary for Daily Caller)

Year-long mental health awareness journey: Veterans share how they asked for help. "Seth Gahr of Stratham is a New Hampshire State Police trooper and retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq during both Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and the Iraq War following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was also a New York City police officer and first responder to the World Trade Center on 9/11. Today, as the coordinator of the New Hampshire State Police Peer Support Unit, he’s working every day to get military veterans and first responders the mental health care they need and the benefits they have earned." (Howard Altschiller for Portsmouth Herald)

Organization day to kick off General Court's new two-year legislative session. The NH House and NH Senate will meet for Organization Day on Dec. 7 to elect their leaders, as well as the NH Secretary of State and the State Treasurer. Republicans hold a 14-10 advantage in the NH Senate, so Republican Jeb Bradley will be the next Senate President, and Democrat Donna Soucy will be the Minority Leader. In the NH House, the question is whether enough Republicans are unhappy with how things were run the past to years will deny House Speaker Sherman Packard a first-round majority or replace Jason Osborne as majority leader. (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH) #nhleg

More headlines:

Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022

State House Dome: Council wants a closer look at HHS acting pick. Sununu nominated Assistant Commissioner Lori Weaver to serve as acting HHS commissioner. Councilors said said the temporary pick was too important to forgo public comment. Unlike other agencies, someone has to be named acting or permanent commissioner for HHS to function. The council scheduled a public hearing on Weaver's nomination for Thursday at 11 a.m. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhgov

Friday, Nov. 25, 2022

Democrats battle over 2024 nomination calendar as Biden weighs options. Democrats will gather Thursday, Dec. 1, to decide their presidential nominating order. Biden has yet to weigh in. Competing states have been sniping at each other. Sununu says Democrats are coming for the NH first-in-the-nation primary but won't succeed. The state will hold its primary at least seven days before any similar contest, even if that forces Democratic candidates to make tough choices, he said. (Michael Scherer and Tyler Pager for The Washington Post) #fitn

More headlines:

Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022

Ray Wieczorek dies at 93. Wieczorek, a Republican, served as Manchester mayor from 1990 to 2000 then as an Executive Councilor from 2002 to 2012. He died Tuesday after a brief period of declining health, according to his obituary.

  • The five-term mayor, "often referred to as 'Wiz,' oversaw the redevelopment of the Amoskeag Millyard and the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport as well as the creation of the civic center in downtown, now the SNHU Arena," and was "credited with the economic rebirth of the city following the collapse of the banking industry in the early 1990s" (Carol Robidoux for Manchester Ink Link).
  • Wieczorek mentored several generations of GOP leaders, including fellow Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, whom he endorsed for governor in 2016 in a crowded primary. Sununu said Wieczorek "served with a smile" and "was my friend." (Adam Sexton for WMUR)
  • "At a retirement party for Wieczorek a decade ago, former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., called Wieczorek 'the father of modern Manchester as we see it today.' Wieczorek shared the credit. 'If you live as long as I have, you can get a few things done,' Wieczorek said then. 'But here's the big thing: You can never get anything done by yourself. I don’t care what I get credit for. I never did it by myself'" (Michael Cousineau for Union Leader).

More headlines:

  • Inflation and increased demand are straining NH food pantries and soup kitchens (Gabriela Lozada for NHPR)
  • Executive Council rejects funding for sex education program (AP) #nhgov
Shaheen to seek federal money after Executive Council defunds sex ed program
The council voted 3-2 against two contracts that have funded an out-of-school sex education program for a decade.

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022

Recount must go on: Judge rejects Democrats’ request to halt tally in state rep race
The running theory that a stack of 25 ballots may have gone untallied during the recount is “credible,” the judge concluded.
Un-flipped: Reopened recount puts Manchester state rep seat back in GOP hands
NH Secretary of State David Scanlan said the overall tally of ballots came very close to matching the election night tally.

Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

Will a judge halt Scanlan’s re-recount for Manchester state rep race?
Also: Sununu joined a menagerie of potential GOP presidential candidates, as Trump’s 2024 candidacy looms large.
Citrus precedent puts future of NH file-sharing firm LBRY in doubt
The SEC upended a well-known libertarian’s Manchester-based crypto company.
After voters wake up to ‘extremism,’ a new Belknap County delegation takes shape
Only half of last year’s delegation is returning, with voters rejecting six incumbents.

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022

Sununu joined fellow GOP leaders at Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas, where many potential 2024 presidential candidates positioned themselves in contrast to former President Donald Trump.

  • "Sununu implored Republicans to stop nominating 'crazy, unelectable candidates' ... Sununu said in an interview that as governor of a first-in-the-nation primary state, he plans to take responsibility for urging stragglers to drop out. 'People want to move on, there’s no doubt about that'" (Isaac Arnsdorf and Hannah Knowles for The Washington Post).
  • The gathering "drew the full range of Republican Party aspirants, a sign that Mr. Trump’s early candidacy had not dimmed the ambitions of other rivals or flashed the field-clearing power he once had. 'All he did was emphasize his weakness,' Mr. Sununu said in an interview of Mr. Trump’s kickoff" (Shane Goldmacher for The New York Times).
  • "Some attendees were openly skeptical Trump could win the nomination. 'It's not going to happen,' said New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. 'He's at his weakest point now, and it ain't getting better'" (James Oliphant and Nathan Layne for Reuters).
  • Sununu's remarks included a two-part message. "I want to talk about two things in the limited time I have. One is policy. And that's important. But the more important one is winning," he said (Watch full speech on C-SPAN).
  • "I got a great policy for the Republican Party: Let's stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November" (Fredreka Schouten, Gabby Orr and Steve Contorno for CNN). #fitn

NH Republican National Committeewoman Juliana Bergeron said Trump won't find favoritism in 2024 primary. "I think he would have to prove himself again. It's not like he's the incumbent now. Now he's just another candidate," Bergeron said in an interview. "As the national committeewoman, with the other people running New Hampshire GOP, we're going to be completely neutral because you can't have the first-in-the-nation primary if we're not neutral. So he's not going to get special treatment from either the RNC or from New Hampshire GOP." As many as 20 candidates are expected in the GOP presidential primary, she said. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #fitn

More headlines:

Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

Almost done? Voter confidence committee still not quite on same page
The committee co-chairs said they believe the group will unite behind the final report.
Democrats suing to halt further recount for NH House seat that flipped in their favor
The Secretary of State had announced the recount would continue due to “insufficient certainty” that all the votes had been counted.
State rep to stay locked in jail for weeks as NH House majority unsettled
It’s unclear whether her bail status is likely to change, so it’s unclear whether she’ll be free to participate in legislative activities.

More headlines:

  • NH secretary of state faces challenger next month (Holly Ramer for AP)
  • NH activist speaking out about war in Tigray, Ethiopia: "This is your responsibility, too." (NHPR)

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022

Sununu hits Trump where it hurts: in the ego. "You have a former president who announces he’s going to run again, and it’s the third story in the news," Sununu told Drew Cline on WFEA radio Thursday morning. "It was a very mundane announcement, made clearly for his own self-driven purposes, and he made it at his politically weakest point. It’s an odd time to announce you’re running for president." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #fitn

‘Insufficient certainty’: Reopened recount could un-flip NH House seat
Counting will resume on Monday, a week after a recount showed the Democratic challenger winning.
Brentwood left 27 absentee ballots uncounted, potentially enough to flip NH House seat
Secretary of State David Scanlan said a matter of “election administration obligations” is being referred to the AG’s office.
Melanie Levesque launches bid for NH Secretary of State
The former Democratic state senator is up against Republican incumbent Secretary David Scanlan.
Democrats pick Matt Wilhelm and Alexis Simpson as NH House caucus leaders
The new leaders cited challenges and opportunity ahead as chamber’s majority sits “on a razor’s edge.”

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022

Tied after recount: Rochester state rep race now 970-970
Excluding this seat, Republicans appear to hold a 200-199 majority in the 400-seat chamber, with more recounts to come.
Democrats keep losing to Sununu. How might they win a NH governor’s race?
In a state willing to elect Democrats to federal office, why do so many Democratic candidates fail to make a dent in the governor’s support?

Monday, Nov. 14, 2022

‘Honest mistake’: Data entry error added 1,000 votes to NH results for U.S. Senate
When results were transmitted to state officials, the tally was recorded with an extra digit.
Sununu sees ‘wide-open’ GOP presidential primary; recount-a-palooza begins
The governor talked about “extremism.” Giuliani got denied a platform.

Friday, Nov. 11, 2022

Election audit finds no major discrepancies. "On Thursday, state Sens. Donna Soucy and James Gray, as well as a half-dozen other officials, attorneys and representatives of Clear Ballot, an election-auditing firm, gathered in the State Archives in Concord to conduct the audit, which was overseen by the Secretary of State’s office." (Michaela Towfighi for Concord Monitor)

Democrats' strategy of boosting far-right candidates seems to have worked. "In high-profile races where Democratic candidates or groups successfully used the strategy during the primaries, all of the Republicans they helped have either lost or are trailing, two days after Election Day." Hassan defeated Bolduc, whose primary bid was aided by Senate Majority PAC, which targeted Chuck Morse. Kuster defeated Burns, whose primary run was helped by a PAC called Democrats Serve. (Bill Chappell for NPR) #nhsen #nh02

Claremont City Council to probe one of its own over drama with auto dealer. A three-member advisory panel of councilors will look into conduct of Councilor Jim Contois related to a no-trespass order against him. (Patrick O'Grady for Valley News)

Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022

NH Dems: We'll finish the job to take State House in 2024. "Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy of Manchester, House Victory Campaign Committee Chairman Matt Wilhelm, D-Manchester, and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, D-Concord, all said redistricting blocked their hopes to flip those bodies to Democratic control." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhleg

NH Dems Chairman Ray Buckley said 2022 election shows public polling should be disregarded. Some polls released just before Election Day had Hassan and Pappas behind Bolduc and Leavitt, respectively. "Clearly the pollsters do not have the ability to actually correctly poll any longer, and a lot of time and energy across the country was completely wasted by listening to people who simply no longer know how to do correct polling," Buckley said. Instead, future analysis should focus on candidates' positions, he said. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nhleg

Democrats tout pickups despite Republican gerrymandering. Though there may be some recounts, Democratic Victory Campaign Committee Chair and NH Rep. Matt Wilhelm said he's more confident that Democrats and Republicans will find a more collaborative approach to lawmaking, given the nearly even split in the NH House. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Trench warfare? What an evenly split NH House means for legislating
Lawmakers, lobbyists, and observers are struggling to process the 400-member chamber’s tightly divided reality.
NH House: These 8 state rep races came down to 8 votes or fewer
Recounts in several especially tight races might ultimately decide which party holds the NH House majority.
How close were NH Senate races? Here are all 24 contests, ranked by margin.
Just one incumbent lost their reelection bid, but the NH Senate will see plenty of new faces.

More headlines:

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022

After planning for the worst, NH election officials report a peaceful day at the polls. As polls closed, NH SOS David Scanlan said voting went smoothly, with no major interruptions, intimidation or significant voting problems. "Scanlan said the issues that came up Tuesday — including long lines at polling places and voting machine glitches in some towns — were minor, isolated and routine." The state was also poised to see a record high midterm turnout. (Mara Hoplamazian and Jeongyoon Han for NHPR)

State reps Kelley and Santonastaso win reelection after voting for secession. "Among those reelected were Cheshire 18’s Matthew Santonastaso and Hillsborough 32’s Diane Kelley, who were two of 13 members of the House who voted for New Hampshire to secede from the United States." (Ashley Saari for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript)

Reelected Democrats say they hope they can work with GOP in Concord and Washington. Pappas said ticket-splitting is part of NH politics. Hassan agreed: "We're wicked independent," she told reporters Wednesday morning outside the Red Arrow diner in Manchester. Hassan expressed optimism about collaborative with Sununu, despite past acrimony. (Josie Albertson-Grove for Union Leader) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02 #nhgov

Sununu slams Trump's poor election night performance. Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked Wednesday about reports that Trump plans to announce his 2024 candidacy next week. "Do you see a lot of people saying, 'Gee, I can't wait to be arm-and-arm with former President Trump' after the results we had yesterday?" Sununu replied. "I can't imagine that. There's going to be a lot of distancing: Of money, of voters, of folks saying clearly they have decided it's time for us to move on." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #fitn

Republicans expected to keep 4-1 majority on NH Executive Council
The lone Democrat on the NH Executive Council released a statement Wednesday acknowledging that efforts to get more Democrats elected Tuesday to the five-member body were unsuccessful. “Our outstanding candidates ran the best races possible, but unfortunately couldn’t overcome the effects of deeply…

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Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022

New Hampshire election results 2022 from Decision Desk HQ
Results from Nov. 8, 2022 general election for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and state legislative races in New Hampshire.
DDHQ: Gov. Chris Sununu projected to win reelection, beat Tom Sherman
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is projected to win his bid for reelection against Democratic challenger Dr. Tom Sherman, according to Decision Desk HQ. The race call from DDHQ came shortly after the finals polls closed Tuesday. New Hampshire election results 2022 from Decision Desk HQResults from No…
DDHQ: Rep. Annie Kuster projected to win reelection, beat Robert Burns
Democratic incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster is projected to win her bid for reelection against Republican challenger Robert Burns in New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, according to Decision Desk HQ. The DDHQ call came at about 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. Shortly after 10 p.m., Kuster delivered a celeb…
DDHQ: Sen. Maggie Hassan projected to win reelection, beat Don Bolduc
Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan is projected to win her bid for reelection against Republican challenger General Don Bolduc in New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate race, according to Decision Desk HQ. The DDHQ call came at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. New Hampshire election results 2022 from Decision Desk H…
DDHQ: Rep. Chris Pappas projected to win reelection, beat Karoline Leavitt
Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas is projected to win his bid for reelection against Republican challenger Karoline Leavitt in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, according to Decision Desk HQ. The DDHQ call came at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday. New Hampshire election results 2022 from…

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022

Sununu appears on CBS "Face the Nation." Sununu talked about energy policy, guarding against extremism "on both sides," and the "rude awakening" he expects Democrats to experience in Tuesday's election, given pocketbook pressures on NH families. Sununu also said it would be "a terrible idea" for Trump or any politician to announce their candidacy between the Nov. 8 election and Christmas. (CBS "Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan) #nhgov

Officials expect more hand-counted ballots, urge patience on election night. The reconciliation of the hand-count and machine count could take a little extra time. It could be midnight or even later than that when some towns and cities submit their results, said NH Secretary of State David Scanlan. (Adam Sexton for WMUR Closeup) #voting

U.S. Senate candidates meet with voters ahead of midterms. Hassan and Bolduc held events Sunday with nationally recognizable party figures. Hassan held a canvassing kickoff in Nashua with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Bolduc hosted an event in Salem with former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. (Hannah Cotter for WMUR) #nhsen

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022

Why NH may deliver a Senate surprise. "Republicans have a real chance at flipping Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan’s seat in New Hampshire." (Harry Enten for CNN) #nhsen

No, local HS students are not using litter boxes. "This litter box hoax does not come as any surprise to local educators and school administration. In October, schools in the area ... saw community members insisting upon the veracity of these claims on social media, as well as showing up to the schools to do inspections looking for litter boxes." (Dylan Marsh for Eagle Times) #nhsen

Hassan penned an opinion piece for Fox News. "Cynics on both sides say that finding common ground is impossible, but I have proved them wrong," she wrote, citing accomplishments. (Hassan for Fox News) #nhsen

Sununu stands by prediction that most of the all-Democratic congressional delegation will be "fired." Sununu dismissed the impact of Bolduc's claim that NH students were permitted to act out as cats at school. "I think it's a very minor issue that isn't going to affect how I vote and how most people in New Hampshire vote on Tuesday," he said. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhgov

More headlines:

Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

Republican insiders think GOP poised for a blowout. "The consensus among a number of G.O.P. pollsters and operatives I spoke to this week is that in the Senate races that are thought to be competitive, Republican candidates are heading for a clean sweep ... To these Republican insiders, certain high-profile races in which G.O.P. candidates were already favored now look like potential blowouts ... And some races that seemed out of reach, such as the Senate campaign, in New Hampshire, of the election denier Don Bolduc, now look like possible wins. The word that kept coming up in these conversations was 'bloodbath.' " (Benjamin Wallace Wells for The New Yorker) #nhsen

Biggest names in both parties continue to stay away from NH. "Vice President Kamala Harris flew in and out of Massachusetts on Wednesday with barely a nod toward New Hampshire. President Joe Biden ... hasn’t set foot in the state since April, though first lady Jill Biden was there last weekend. A slew of top-tier Republicans have now endorsed Bolduc, but few have actually campaigned with him." (Lisa Kashinsky for Politico Massachusetts Playbook) #nhsen

Boston Globe editorial board endorses Pappas. "This congressional district has a history of swinging between Democrats and Republicans, and in this very volatile election cycle, Pappas is walking a cautious line." Pappas is "clearly the more thoughtful choice." Leavitt declined an invitation to meet with the Globe editorial board. "The last thing Congress needs is more hard-right figures seeking to undermine democracy and carry water for the disgraced former president." (Editorial Board for Boston Globe) #nh01

Karoline Leavitt: "This election is not about Donald Trump." At a campaign stop in Kingston, Leavitt said, "The media loves to talk about Trump, but the voters don't care. They care about inflation. They care about skyrocketing energy costs. They care about the fact that they're choosing between heating and eating this winter, and so that's why we're gonna win on Tuesday." (Virginia Aabram for Washington Examiner) #nh01

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022

Republicans voice support for expanding "education freedom account" program. "Sununu said he would support raising income caps on the program. ... Any increase in income limits would be a transformative expansion for the program. And any effort to do so will likely reignite fierce ideological debates over the program – regardless of who controls the State House." (Ethan DeWitt for NH Bulletin) #nhgov #nhleg

Karoline Leavitt wants to be Gen Z’s conservative voice in Congress. "Some people close to Leavitt say it is unfair to point at her lack of specificity when discussing policies as a sign that she is unprepared for the job, noting many Republicans, including incumbents, have not proposed specific policy prescriptions before a potential GOP majority debates what bills to pass. But it has struck some voters as evidence of inexperience." (Marianna Sotomayor for The Washington Post) #nh01

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022

Republicans on Executive Council again block sex education funding. "Councilors opposed to the funding said they have concerns about parental rights." (Erik Enstrom for WMUR) #nhgov

October 2022

Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022

Sununu continues to downplay significance of candidates he's endorsed who've denied 2020 election results. In an interview Sunday with Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press," Sununu brushed aside a question about whether inflation is a big enough issue for voters to look past the election denialism of certain GOP candidates.

  • "I love you, Chuck, but you are in a bubble if you think anybody's talking about what happened in 2020, or talking about Mar-a-Lago and all that. I know the press loves to talk about it. People are talking about what is happening in their pocketbooks every single day when they have to buy groceries or fill up gas or right now," Sununu said.
  • Does he feel democracy currently faces an existential threat? "There's no doubt there are threats to democracy. There's no doubt that's a serious issue and of course we've got to take it on. But when you're talking about what folks are going to be voting on this November, what the top priority issues are, it's inflation, the economy, getting those things under control." (Meet the Press episode; transcript from RealClearPolitics) #nhgov
  • During NHPR's debate last week, Sununu fielded a related question about his endorsements. "You don't endorse a candidate or support individuals based on one issue, right? You endorse and support candidates based on fiscal responsibility, leadership, all the other pieces that come into play. If you're going to be a one-issue voter, hey, that's everybody's right. But, no, it's much bigger than that." (NHPR debate)
  • During the "Meet the Press" interview, Sununu said there's no need for attack ads against Nancy Pelosi ahead of the midterms and in the wake of a violent assault on her husband. (Julia Mueller for The Hill)

CloseUp: Bolduc says GOP spending cuts will ease inflation in 18 months. Bolduc said there are plenty of programs available for nearer-term help for those who need it.

  • Bolduc commented on his plan for a "Fair Tax," which Hassan has criticized as including a national sales tax. "When asked what Bolduc's proposal would be if it doesn't include a consumption tax, he seemed to indicate it would be an income tax." (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp).
  • Was the 2020 election stolen from Trump? "No," Bolduc said flatly. Why did he claim as much throughout the primary campaign then flip? "Listen, I have been clear on this, right? And I have evolved in my opinion, just like I will evolve in my opinion on many matters that involve all Granite Staters." He said there are issues with election integrity. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp).

CloseUp: Hassan defends campaigning style, says debates provide opportunity to face criticism. Why doesn't she do town halls? Hassan said as governor and senator, she has worked to listen to voters in a variety of venues. "That approach works. This doesn't start with campaign season or end with campaign season for me. This is an ongoing process." This has allowed her to address Granite Staters' issues, she said. Hassan said debates and forums in recent weeks have included critical questions. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #nhsen

New Hampshire isn't feeling the 2024 love. "The stream of would-be presidential hopefuls that typically flows through New Hampshire has slowed to a trickle ahead of November." There are a few factors. Voters nominated hard-right candidates, "seemingly cutting the Democratic incumbents a break." It's also uncertain whether Democrats will rejigger their primary calendar. And another Trump-Biden showdown could diminish New Hampshire's role. (Lisa Kashinsky for Politico) #fitn

Cory Booker backs NH first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Booker, a Democratic U.S. senator from NJ who ran in the 2020 presidential primary, said, "I get it now after coming here. It is a small state where people really get involved and really get to know their candidates. I want this state to remain at the top of our primary list. I think that its history and its legacy have earned to be at the top group, in the top order." Booker said Biden should run for reelection in 2024. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #fitn

Bolduc repeats hoax that kids are using litter boxes in schools. The GOP nominee for U.S. Senate claimed Thursday that kids are being told they can identify as anthropomorphic cats and use litter boxes in schools. "The claim, which has occasionally been cited by some Republican politicians, has been repeatedly debunked." (Andrew Kaczynski for CNN) #nhsen

Bolduc claims to have invited Hassan to another debate. At a town hall event in Windham on Saturday, "Bolduc told the crowd he planned to take (his) message directly to Hassan during a Lincoln-Douglas style debate he proposed for the State House steps in the final days of the campaign." Bolduc said, "I've invited her." Hassan's campaign, however, said it hadn't hear from Bolduc's campaign about any proposed debate. Their third and final scheduled debate, on WMUR, is this week. (Todd Bookman and Josh Rogers for NHPR) #nhsen

City Matters: Politics driving a wedge between neighbors. Yves Marquis and Don Croteau live next door to each other. Marquis has yard signs for just about every Democrat. Croteau has only one sign, for NH Senate candidate Richard Girard. "I had knocked on both doors, expecting — hoping — to find a different story." (Mark Hayward for Union Leader) #mht #nhleg

Tom Sherman makes case for governor at Temple Adath Yeshurun candidate event. Sherman touted his experience in the NH legislature and as a medical professional. He also attacked Gov. Chris Sununu on a variety of topics, including education, rents and property taxes, abortion, the cost of child care and more. The event moderator said attempts to reach Sununu to participate were unsuccessful. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nhgov

Most NH voters open to Sununu for president. A poll for NHJournal found that 67% of likely general election voters would definitely (16%), likely (13%), or maybe (37%) support a presidential bid by the incumbent governor. Only 34% said they were not open to backing Sununu for president. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #fitn

More headlines:

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022

First lady Jill Biden speaks to Teamsters in Manchester to motivate Maggie Hassan's canvassers. "The First Lady extolled the virtues of Sen. Hassan while making it clear that this Senate election pits candidates who couldn’t be more different. 'What you do on Nov. 8th won’t just affect the course of the future of New Hampshire,' Biden said. 'You’ll help decide the future of our country as well.'" (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nhsen

Jill Biden pushes for Hassan and Democrats in Portsmouth. "Every election is important, but we know that in the midterms especially, it could come down to just a handful of votes," Biden said. That’s why the work Democratic volunteers put into these final days of the campaign to get out the vote is so important, she said. (Steven Porter for Granite State News Collaborative via Portsmouth Herald) #nhsen

Unlike in other states, NH voters seem to regard 2022 governor's race as entirely separate from U.S. Senate race. "Sununu, a popular Republican, is far ahead in the polls and expected to romp to victory over state Senator Tom Sherman, the Democrat. Yet Senator Maggie Hassan, the Democratic incumbent, is also favored over Republican Donald Bolduc, a far-right candidate who prevailed in the primary after Mr. Sununu declined to jump into the contest, where he would likely have been favored." (Carl Hulse for The New York Times) #nhgov #nhsen

Leavitt, 25, cites youth in bid to be youngest congresswoman. "Inspired by Stefanik, the youngest woman elected to Congress when she won in 2014 at age 30, Leavitt is now running for a House seat of her own. At age 25, she could make history on Election Day, Nov. 8: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., won at 29 in 2018." (Kathy McCormack for AP) #nh01

Bolduc plays to friendly crowd in Claremont stop. "What has happened over the past 40 to 50 years is that our politicians have removed God from the public square. And by removing God, we have undermined our institutions to the point where they are being led by unelected bureaucrats and career politicians to do the business of special interests," Bolduc said. (John Lippman for Valley News) #nhsen

Hassan touts record of bipartisanship in Senate reelection pitch. "There is common ground among Democrats and Republicans, and that’s because there’s common ground among Americans," Hassan said. "We have to continue to intentionally work to find that common ground to ignore the polarization and the partisanship wherever we can." (John Lippman for Valley News) #nhsen

Friday, Oct. 28, 2022

Sununu replaces emergency management director Jennifer Harper. Harper, whose term ended July 24, said she would have accepted reappointment. Former Hudson Fire Chief Robert Buxton is now director of the NH Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Buxton said he's committed to having women in leadership. (Jamie L. Costa for Concord Monitor) #nhgov

On the trail: In final stretch to election, it’s all about getting out the vote. For Democrats and Republicans alike, "a number of close contests could come down to which side has better GOTV efforts." (Paul Steinhauser for Concord Monitor) #nhsen

Cities and towns with AccuVote machines urged to have more volunteers for Nov. 8 election. Secretary of State David Scanlan said clerks should prepare to deal with an "organized effort" in which voters use write-in technique to force a hand-count of their ballot. Such an effort kept volunteers up until 3 a.m. to count primary votes in Derry. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader)

NH Secretary of State David Scanlan explains delay-causing write-in technique. "What occurred in the in the primary election was that some voters were writing in the names of candidates whose names already appeared on the ballot and voted for them that way, so at least that portion of the ballot had to be hand counted – that simply adds work for the local election officials. In the primary, the cities and towns weren’t prepared for that extra work, so it took longer time into the evening to hand count those ballots." (NH PBS "The State We're In"; written Q&A).

Kuster and Burns battle over inflation, abortion and drug war during NHPR debate. "The two had only met once before at a Nashua business event and spent much of this hour-long exchange talking over one another ..." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader). #nh02

County attorney race personal for challenger after abuse indictment. Democratic challenger Richard Clark, a defense attorney, says incumbent Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway wrongly indicted him on child sex abuse charges. The charges were dropped and annulled. (Max Sullivan for Portsmouth Herald)

Analysis: In an era of innovative vote-fraud claims, Don Bolduc dusts off a classic. "Bolduc frames this idea as being a response to voters’ concerns rather than a concern of his own. This is a common way in which Republicans have managed to elevate fraud claims from a distance." (Philip Bump for The Washington Post)

More headlines:

Previews from WMUR's CloseUp interviews:

Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022

Increase in write-in votes may delay NH election results. "Secretary of State David Scanlan is recommending that local election officials not publicly read out the vote-counting machine results, as they have in the past until the machine count is fully reconciled with the hand-counted ballots." (Adam Sexton for WMUR)

Bolduc goes on the offensive, but stumbles into contradictions. "Bolduc said he stood by 'Granite Staters' who 'can’t trust mail-in ballots,' who believe in 'proven irregularities' with voting machines, and maintain that the state's same-day voter registration rule 'causes fraud.' Moments later, he said his realization that the 2020 election had been fair proved that he is willing to recognize when he is wrong." (Jonathan Weisman for The New York Times) #nhsen

Hassan defends campaign style, Bolduc is proud of changing views. "Hassan denied she has run an insular campaign while ... Bolduc said changing his mind on key issues proves he would be accountable" to NH residents. "The pair disagreed sharply over their plans to fight inflation and on policies regarding abortion, energy, illegal immigration and other topics." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen

As pandemic-era rental assistance winds down, beneficiaries fret. "Gagne’s family now faces bleak choices: a shelter bed, if they can find one; an apartment they can’t afford, also in short supply; or the $120 a night hotel room they’re currently staying in, paid for out of their own pocket." (Mark Hayward and Josie Albertson-Grove for Union Leader)

More headlines:

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

Spoof campaign website leads NH AG to warn Democratic political consultant. Steve Marchand, who previously served as Portsmouth mayor and ran in Democratic primaries for governor, was deemed responsible for a website that sought to link five incumbent Portsmouth city councilors to Trump. "Marchand ran the website without properly identifying himself, according to the AG's office, leading up to the 2021 Portsmouth city election." The group known as the "Becksted 5" was voted out of office. (Jeff McMenemy for Portsmouth Herald; see also Damien Fisher for NHJournal)

Leadership fight looms for Dems in NH House as Steve Shurtleff and Matt Wilhelm vie for top spot. "It is a contest that could once again crack the brittle facade covering tensions between the caucus’s disgruntled progressives and establishment members who currently hold the upper hand. Shurtleff ... is solidly aligned with his party’s establishment wing. Wilhelm is not part of the hardcore progressive group, ... but he is closer to them than Shurtleff." (Damien Fisher for NHJournal) #nhleg

More headlines:

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022

First lady Jill Biden to stump in NH for Democrats. Biden will join NH organizers and volunteers to support Hassan, Kuster, Pappas, Tom Sherman and other Democrats. Events are expected to include a canvass kickoff in Manchester and an organizing event in Portsmouth. (Steven Porter for Granite Memo; Ian Lenahan for Portsmouth Herald; KC Downey for WMUR)

National Republicans jump back into New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race. "The National Republican Senatorial Committee is recommitting resources into the New Hampshire Senate race, according to an NRSC official, just days after the Senate GOP's top super PAC cancelled its spending on behalf of nominee Don Bolduc. ... The NRSC will be spending about $1 million on a new ad financed jointly between the committee and the Bolduc campaign." (Josh Kraushaar for Axios) #nhsen

Pappas and Leavitt fight over campaign stereotypes during second NH01 debate. Leavitt has painted Pappas as a Democratic partisan who voted with Biden and Pelosi, while Pappas has called Leavitt the "most extreme" GOP nominee NH01 has had in decades. During the debate, the candidates went back and forth on the Inflation Reduction Act, domestic energy production and inflation. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nh01

Kuster and Burns trade views in forum at LaBelle Winery in Amherst. The moderated event, sponsored by the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, covered inflation, workforce housing, rail transit expansion, immigration policy and other topics. "The two noted they have starkly different views on federal support for Ukraine, abortion rights, and approaches to climate change." (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nh02

As NH voters head to polls, gerrymandered NH Senate is on the ballot. "NHPR has teamed up with the New Hampshire Bulletin to take a closer look at the partisan nature of redistricting that shaped the legislative districts on the ballot this year. And we found that the new Senate map not only seems poised to perpetuate the existing pro-Republican tilt of the current map, it is likely to crank it up even further." (Dan Barrick and Sara Plourde for NH Bulletin and NHPR; series part 2 of 2) #nhleg

Former Claremont mayor takes on NH Senate District 8 incumbent. Democratic candidate Charlene Lovett cited her time on City Council and School Board as informing her approach. She's campaigning to defeat three-term incumbent NH Sen. Ruth Ward, R-Stoddard. "Ward touts her six years in the state Senate as proof she responds to her constituents’ needs and understands the issues communities are facing, promising more of the same if reelected." (Patrick O'Grady for Valley News) #nhleg

Senator Bradley rejects "extremist" label, calls himself a moderate. NH Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) is seeking reelection in District 3. He’s being challenged by NH Rep. Bill Marsh (D-Brookfield), who switched parties last year based on GOP leadership's response to COVID vaccination laws. (Daymond Steer for Conway Daily Sun) #nhleg

NH AG's Office warns Steve Marchand over political Portsmouth website. "Marchand, a progressive Democrat who once served as Portsmouth mayor and sought his party's nomination for governor, will not face criminal charges, the office said in a letter. Instead, it issued a letter of warning to Marchand for his involvement in and other websites that targeted sitting city council members in the last municipal election." (Damien Fisher for NHJournal)

Leaders gather in Concord to find solutions for homelessness in New Hampshire as winter nears. "Part of the emphasis is on finding regional solutions, something the cities of Somersworth, Dover and Rochester are doing. ... Granite United Way is using a one-time grant to rent 57 apartments to find housing for 102 individuals. ... The landlord initiative is just one solution organizers hope can be replicated around the state and put a dent in the problem." (Ray Brewer for WMUR)

Newest voters registering in smaller numbers in NH, report says. "Voter registration among 18-year-olds in New Hampshire's largest communities varies widely and lags far behind other metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to the new report from a nonpartisan group." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader)

More headlines:

Monday, Oct. 24, 2022

Gerrymandering on the ground: A redrawn NH Senate District 9 ties together "polar opposite" towns. The former swing district now gives Republicans about a 5-point advantage. "Local leaders and residents from both towns said the new district isn’t coherent, is unfair to Hinsdale, and dilutes the voices of people who live in a part of the state where many already feel overlooked." Mike Darcy of Hinsdale said, "Practically speaking, there’s nothing that the two communities have in common." (Amanda Gokee for NH Bulletin and NHPR; series part 1 of 2) #nhleg

Challengers have their own road maps to victory. For the past 20 years, in every midterm election except one, NH voters have sacked at least one incumbent for federal office. "In this highly-volatile environment, no one holding elective office can be 100% certain they will declare victory on election night." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02 #nhgov

Sherman warns the fate of Medicaid expansion is on the ballot. "During their third gubernatorial debate, Democratic challenger Tom Sherman said the expansion of Medicaid for 50,000 low-income adults will end next year if voters reelect Gov. Chris Sununu and Republicans hold onto majorities in the Legislature. Sununu called the prediction 'boogeyman' politics at its worst, noting a GOP-controlled Legislature extended the program in 2018." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhgov

More headlines:

Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022

RealClearPolitics moves NH01 race from "Toss-Up" to "Leans GOP" column. "Nobody is saying Leavitt is anything close to a shoo-in. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report and Politico still list NH-01 as a 'toss-up,' while InsideElections and the Sabato’ Crystal Ball’ at UVA give Pappas the edge with a 'leans Democrat' rating." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nh01

Pappas and Leavitt sat for CloseUp interviews:

  • Pappas calls Leavitt an "ideological bomb thrower," and Leavitt hits Pappas on inflation (Adam Sexton for WMUR);
  • Pappas backs away from vote to strip law enforcement officers of qualified immunity (Adam Sexton for WMUR);
  • Leavitt stands by proposal to privatize social security (Adam Sexton for WMUR).

Upcoming NH legislative session will be, as Yogi says, "Déjà vu all over again." The NH House is "the Democrats' best hope this election to break the GOP control of Concord. The past two years of Republican control resulted in the state's first abortion ban, a divisive concepts law for schools, education freedom accounts," and more. Reps have until Friday to file requests for Legislative Services to write proposed laws. A look at what state reps have filed so far "should encourage voters on both sides of the political spectrum to head to the polls in two weeks." (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Warning shot? Trump says members of his former administration ‘very disloyal’ if they run against him in 2024. "The former president, who repeatedly teases that he’ll launch another White House bid, may not be the only member of his former administration to run in 2024, as former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have all been making plenty of early moves ahead of potential or likely presidential campaigns." (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #fitn

Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut responds to CDC panel's COVID vaccine recommendation for kids. "Edelblut told school officials he was writing to 'confirm that this recommendation … has no impact on immunization requirements for students in New Hampshire.'" (Michael Graham for NHJournal)

Senate debates exclude NH Libertarian candidate. Can they do that?
History suggests the FEC may be unlikely to find fault with WMUR’s debate criteria, but the situation poses interesting questions about NH elections and press freedom.

More headlines:

  • Tom Sherman campaigns at cannabis cultivation facility (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #nhgov
  • Annie Kuster and Robert Burns speak on trustworthiness of election results (WMUR)
  • Annie Kuster and Robert Burns discuss climate change (WMUR)
  • Public can track how NH school districts use federal COVID-19 relief funds with new iGrant dashboard (Eileen O'Grady for Concord Monitor)

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022

With national GOP pulling out of NH, could Bolduc's low-money primary win be a blueprint? "The shift will mean Bolduc is relying more on grassroots fundraising, less-expensive online advertising and in-person events to meet voters. Bolduc has scheduled several town hall-style events across the state this week and has been a frequent sight at non-political community events through the fall." (Josie Albertson-Grove for Union Leader) #nhsen

Bolduc tells Breitbart that his campaign has momentum, even without McConnell's money. "The momentum is going our way because we’re campaigning the Granite State way – five events a day is my average out there on the ground – town halls, house parties, community events, you name it. ... we’re gonna win this." (Breitbart)

Volunteer-powered NH elections buoyed by national recruitment campaigns. "It takes a total of about 5,000 poll workers, including about 2,500 locally elected officials, to run all of the polling sites in the state ... Even so, state and local officials say they haven’t encountered major challenges this year finding enough people." (Steven Porter for Granite State News Collaborative via NHPR)

More headlines:

Friday, Oct. 21, 2022

Super PAC aligned with Senate GOP cuts off NH TV ads. "In a sign that New Hampshire is at risk of falling off the map of Senate battleground states, the main super PAC aligned with Senate Republicans said on Friday that it was canceling $5.6 million in television ads that it had reserved in the state for the final two weeks of the race." (Shane Goldmacher and Trip Gabriel for The New York Times) #nhsen

Sysco strike ends with Teamsters declaring victory. "Twenty days into a strike against Sysco, a giant food wholesaler, unionized drivers approved a new five-year contract and declared victory Thursday evening." (Arnie Alpert for InDepthNH)

Sununu warns rental assistance could end as winter hits. "Sununu accused the Biden administration of reneging on $67 million in expected rental assistance without warning, which could bring the program to a close at the 'worst possible time' as residents face rising costs for energy and housing this winter" (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader). Sherman faults Sununu: "Sununu's response was to cast blame instead of taking responsibility for his administration’s actions" (Nancy West for InDepthNH). #nhgov

Lawsuit alleges N.H. state trooper profiled Latino driver in 2019 traffic stop. "The lawsuit is the second in three years to accuse State Police’s Mobile Enforcement Team, a drug-interdiction squad with a history of using minor traffic violations as pretexts to stop and question drivers, of acting illegally during a vehicle stop. A previous lawsuit ... led to a $212,500 settlement." (Paul Cuno-Booth for Granite State News Collaborative via NHPR)

More headlines:

Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022

Sabato's "Crystal Ball" sees Democrats' odds of winning NH House improving, though still behind. "In its final ratings before November’s elections, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said the odds Democrats will flip the New Hampshire House have improved, moving it from a 'Likely R' to a 'Leans R' rating." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhleg

The trick Republicans are using to justify supporting election deniers. "This isn’t a policy disagreement. This is about the very bones of our democracy, the notion that we hold free and fair elections – whether or not the candidate you supported winds up winning. ... By casting election denialism as just another policy position, the likes of Youngkin and Sununu – both of whom have national ambitions of their own – are trying to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound." (Chris Cillizza for CNN; Sununu interview with Jake Tapper) #nhgov #nhsen

Dartmouth Political Union hosts GOP nominee Robert Burns. "The forum, which had around 30 attendees, began with several prepared questions from moderator Matthew Skrod ’24, the debate director of the DPU, and was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Over the course of the event, Burns articulated his views on pressing issues such as inflation, abortion and climate change." (Varun Swaminathan for The Dartmouth) #nh02

Pappas and Leavitt disagree on almost everything at Conway debate. "From the future of Social Security, abortion rights, the southern border crisis, aid to Ukraine, global warming to what their favorite pets are, the 25-year-old Leavitt – in her first-ever election attempt – and the veteran 42-year-old congressman outlined the stark differences in their campaigns and missions if elected to the next Congress." (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nh01

Pappas and Leavitt tangle over inflation, energy in first debate. "Throughout the one-hour exchange, the tone between the two rivals was respectful, but spirited as polls show this to be a neck-and-neck race that may help determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives after the midterm elections." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nh01

Voter confidence comes up in first Pappas-Leavitt debate. The moderator, George Epstein, noted that Leavitt has asserted Biden didn't legitimately win in 2020. Epstein asked her if she had "specific information that we don't. ... Do you think that your comments undermine the democratic process in the country and the confidence that people have in the election results?" Leavitt said she talks to voters every day and "the sad reality is they don’t have confidence in our election results" Pappas said Leavitt "continues to double-down on the big lie." (Kathy McCormack for AP) #nh01

More headlines:

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022

Republican councilors once again hold up funding for after-school sex ed program. "For a third time, Republican executive councilors have halted funding for a decade-old sex education program aimed at reducing teen pregnancy in Sullivan County and Manchester, which have the state’s highest teen birth rates" (Annmarie Timmons for NH Bulletin). "Gov. Chris Sununu, a fellow Republican, asked councilors what has changed, noting they approved the exact same contract in years past" (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH). Councilors raised concerns related to parental rights (Adam Sexton for WMUR). #nhgov

On false claims of 2020 election being stolen, Bolduc's answers have changed. At Tuesday's debate, Bolduc was asked about his claims that the 2020 election was stolen. "You know, the 2016 election, which had the same type of accusations by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton, are political realms," he said. "That's the politics." His answer was "the latest in a series of differing answers" on the 2020 election's legitimacy. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell says pundits and the press are repeating their mistake: trusting the polls. "Republican candidates are underperforming in the polls," O'Connell said. "That said, if Republicans at the top of the ticket continue to hammer home in unison the rising cost of living, crime, and the need to secure the border, the party will be victorious in November." (Fred Lucas for NHJournal) #nhsen

More headlines:

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022

Tom Sherman lays blame for higher overdose rates at Sununu's feet. During a forum Tuesday morning in Nashua, the Democratic nominee for governor claimed Sununu's failures related to mental health, substance abuse and homelessness led to higher drug overdose rates in Manchester and Nashua. Sununu defended his Doorways Program, which changed how people addicted to drugs receive services. He also said NH lawmakers need to update the state's bail reform law. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhgov

NH House committee votes against bill that would allow fathers to use courts to stop abortions. With a 12-7 vote, the Judiciary Committee decided not to recommend HB 1181. NH Rep. Kurt Wuelper (R-Strafford) defended the bill: "the point of it is to allow the father who is one of the two parents to have some say in the life of the child." The bill never made it to the Senate, and a Sununu spokesperson said Monday that he would have vetoed it if lawmakers had sent it to his desk. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Maggie Hassan and Don Bolduc meet in Conway for a debate hosted by Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council. The event was the first of three general election debates both Hassan and Bolduc have agreed to attend (Host's video; Adam Sexton for WMUR; WMUR's video). The headlines:

Bolduc's military writings strike tone at odds with his current political image. "Bolduc wrote more than a dozen essays for a publication called Small Wars Journal." They covered military tactics, criticized U.S. strategy combating extremism and terrorism, and discussed leadership more broadly. "The tone of these writings is earnest, and more studied than how Bolduc sometimes presents himself on the campaign trail." (Josh Rogers for NHPR) #nhsen

Strange GOP bedfellows unite with the Senate and state control at stake. "Trump got establishment Republicans to rally around him, even if they had to hold their noses, with the promise of a conservative majority Supreme Court and a tax overhaul. It’s the same scenario in 2022, with all eyes on the ultimate prize – flipping Congress and winning gubernatorial mansions. With a presidential race on the horizon, how long the unity lasts remains a question." (Nicky Robertson and Gloria Borger for CNN) #nhgov #nhsen

Democrats spent loads boosting Republicans they thought were less electable. Will it pay off? Democrats are now favored to win in each of the six contests where GOP candidates won their primaries after getting a boost from Democrats. "And even if Democrats shifted each race and improved their chances, perhaps only New Hampshire’s Senate contest would notably affect which party controls either chamber of Congress and the nation’s governorships." (Geoffrey Skelley for FiveThirtyEight) #nhsen

Judge orders Claremont to open police internal investigations files of former cop turned politician Jonathan Stone. The city must release 13 internal affairs reports and other documents to lawyers for the Union Leader and ACLU-NH. Then the parties will negotiate redactions. Stone is a Republican candidate for the NH House in Sullivan County. (Mark Hayward for Union Leader)

The backstory on 5 key moments in Don Bolduc and Maggie Hassan’s first Senate debate
Relevant details may not have been clear to those who watched the debate live.

More headlines:

Monday, Oct. 17, 2022

Tulsi Gabbard compares Biden to Hitler while campaigning in NH with Bolduc. "Speaking at a Bolduc town hall event in a town outside of Manchester on Sunday, the former Hawaii congresswoman and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate stipulated that she’s 'pretty sure' both Biden and Hitler share a 'mindset' of good intentions to justify authoritarian behavior, according to audio obtained by The Daily Beast." Gabbard alluded to Biden's Philadelphia speech on anti-democratic extremism among Trump and "MAGA Republicans." (Jake Lahut for Daily Beast) #nhsen

"Pop-up" super PAC that spent big in NH U.S. Senate primary funded by Senate Leadership Fund and GOP megadonor. White Mountain PAC poured $4.6 million into the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. It finally disclosed its donors. "This is the first time New Hampshire voters who cast their ballots in the GOP primary on Sept. 13 can see who bankrolled the super PAC seeking to sway the election." Senate Leadership Fund, aligned with McConnell, contributed $4.8 million. Timothy Mellon, a GOP megadonor, contributed $2 million. (Taylor Giorno for OpenSecrets) #nhsen

Pappas answers voter questions on social media. A viewer asked if Pappas thinks Biden has done a good job. “I think he gets an incomplete grade on a lot of issues, to be honest with you," Pappas replied, "and I haven't been bashful about saying where I think he's fallen short. I think this is about making sure we have a member of Congress who isn't in the tank for one president or another." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nh01

Former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard campaigns for Republican Don Bolduc. "We should have the debates on policies," Gabbard said, "but we have to come together around these fundamental freedoms that are at the heart of who we are as a country." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Maggie Hassan and Tom Sherman join Sysco drivers on strike at rally in Epping. Hassan said she's proud to show her support for the drivers "and to stand for the right to organize" and collectively bargain. Sherman expressed opposition to so-called "right to work" legislation. "Others in the pro-union crowd included candidates for Executive Council and NH House, in addition to representatives of the AFL-CIO and several other unions." (Arnie Alpert for InDepthNH) #nhgov #nhsen

In NH this week: Nikki Haley, Marianne Williamson, Tulsi Gabbard
Three debates are locked in for this week, and more will follow next week.

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022

Political conversation in NH less about candidates and more about taxes and abortion rights. "Unlike in the past, where there was a mutually agreed upon main issue and then a debate about which party could best address that issue, these days both parties aren’t even debating what topic is worth discussing." (James Pindell for New Hampshire Magazine)

John Broderick’s campaign to confront the mental illness crisis. The former NH Supreme Court chief justice has for past six years "been on a campaign to confront and end the stigma surrounding mental illness. In that time, he's traversed New England, visiting more than 375 schools while speaking to, in his estimation, 90,000 kids and thousands of adults." (Lynn Snierson for New Hampshire Magazine)

NH Rep. Cassie Levesque working to end child marriage. "While still a teenager, Levesque leveraged what began as a Girl Scout project into a campaign to raise New Hampshire’s marriage age. ... Now 23, Levesque is running for her third term in the House and pursuing a degree at Southern New Hampshire University." (Casey McDermott for New Hampshire Magazine) #nhleg

Annie Kuster and Robert Burns split on energy policy. Kuster said she didn't regret her 2016 opposition to a new natural gas pipeline that could have upped supply in the region. Kuster said NH needs to pivot to renewable energy. Burns said he'd be open to building more natural gas pipelines. Burns also said he'd be open to cuts to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. "I would have to look more into it, but it sounds good," he said. Kuster is calling for more home heating help. (Adam Sexton for WMUR; Kuster CloseUp interview; Burns CloseUp interview) #nh02

Roadside message board on I-93 in Manchester reprogrammed to say "F— Biden." The sign should have said "Shoulder Closed, 1/2 mile Ahead." Officials, who were notified of the problem about 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, said the sign isn't connected to the internet (Paul Feely for Union Leader). "The sign wasn't up for long and it was turned away from traffic, but it was up long enough for a WMUR viewer to notice the vulgar message on his way to breakfast at 6 a.m. Sunday morning" (Amy Coveno for WMUR).

As Democrats try to hold on in November, it’s Pete Buttigieg who’s in demand on the campaign trail. Buttigieg "has become the most requested surrogate on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates in the midterms, people familiar with the requests tell CNN. He’s so in demand that he’s getting more requests than Vice President Kamala Harris, those sources tell CNN – but still fewer than President Joe Biden – as Democrats look to defend their narrow congressional majorities and win governor’s races in November. ... the party’s preference for Buttigieg on the trail may be an early indicator of the future direction of the party overall." (Edward-Isaac Dovere for CNN) #fitn

Manchester aldermen asked to reject proposal banning shopping carts. An email campaign is urging city officials to vote down a proposal to ban shopping carts, tarps and other temporary shelters or structures from city parks. The item is scheduled for discussion Tuesday evening. (Paul Feely for Union Leader) #mht

More headlines:

  • Red Arrow Diner, frequent stop for campaigning politicians, celebrates 100 years of business (WMUR)
  • CloseUp: Poll shows Pappas & Leavitt in dead heat (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nh01
  • 2024 Watch: Chris Christie argues GOP is not dominated by Trump but rather by "conservative principles"; updates also on Tom Cotton and Nikki Haley (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #fitn

Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022

Letter calls on Bolduc to drop top political adviser Rick Wiley. The letter, from Dan Weeks of Nashua and Betty Tamposi of New Castle, said Wiley should go because his firm lobbied on behalf of ZTE, a company with ties to the Chinese government. "Bolduc campaign spokesperson Kate Constantini said disclosure reports were incorrect that Wiley ever lobbied for the firm and dismissed the request." Constantini dismissed the letter writers as "liberal activists" enlisted by Sen. Maggie Hassan's "desperate" campaign. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen

Tulsi Gabbard's visit brings national attention and inherent risk. That's what consultant Scott Spradling, WMUR's former political director, said. "Tulsi is a tell-it-like-it-is kind of a person, and will do so. ... A visit like this is potentially creating some space in the conversation for truly independent voices. In a two-party world, Tulsi is straddling the line aggressively," Spradling said. Gabbard, who finished seventh in the Democratic presidential primary in 2020, could also be searching for a spotlight, he added. (Paul Steinhauser for Concord Monitor) #nhsen

Congressional Dems think Social Security will sway voters. "Almost in unison, the forces backing all three New Hampshire Democratic incumbents up for reelection in Congress attacked their Republican opponents for opening the door to dismantling Social Security and Medicare." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02

Pappas seeks new legislation protecting reproductive privacy rights. Pappas also "now seeks to introduce legislation that will be known as the 'My Body, My Data Act' which would prohibit personal medical data from being used against a woman in criminal proceedings." (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nh01

Far-right Republicans face tough races in swing districts, testing McCarthy. "A super PAC aligned with Mr. McCarthy spent $1.3 million to back Matt Mowers ... over Ms. Leavitt, and an additional $1 million during the primary attacking Mr. Pappas. Since winning the primary, Ms. Leavitt has not tacked to the middle, appearing on 'War Room,' the podcast hosted by Stephen K. Bannon, two days after her victory. ... Mr. Mowers ... defended Mr. McCarthy's track record and said it would not hurt Republicans' chances at taking the House." (Annie Karni for The New York Times) #nh01

New generation of combat vets strike from the right. "Mr. Bolduc contends that the interventionist views of former Senator John McCain and successors like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — a belief in projecting power to solve problems — arose from a belief in what he called 'the military easy button.' 'My generation of combat veterans think the exact opposite,' he said." (Jonathan Weisman for The New York Times) #nhsen

Not a mistake: Candidates listed under two parties drawing confusion in Hillsborough County. Sheriff Christopher Connelly, a Republican, is listed in both the Republican and Democratic columns. County attorney candidate Nicholas Sarwark and county treasurer candidate Richard Manzo, who are Libertarians, are labeled both as Democrats and Libertarians. All three launched successful write-in campaigns to win Democratic primaries. Sarwark and Manzo are up against Republican incumbents. (Rick Green for The Keene Sentinel)

Planned Parenthood contract and abortion law divide Executive Council District 2 candidates. Cinde Warmington, the lone Democrat on the five-member council, faces a challenge from NH Sen. Harold French, a Republican who said he would vote to block funding of state contracts for Planned Parenthood. French also supports the state's 24-week abortion ban. (Rick Green for The Keene Sentinel) #nhgov

More headlines:

Friday, Oct. 14, 2022

NH House panel endorses paper paychecks. The House Labor Committee voted Thursday to reject Senate Bill 209, "which would allow employers to pay employees through a debit card, whether their employees want one or not." (Bob Sanders for NH Business Review) #nhleg

NH Rep. Matt Wilhelm and NH Rep. Alexis Simpson announced a bid for NH House leadership (Tweet). #nhleg

Shaheen visits Dartmouth for research briefing. Shaheen visited Friday with National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan "to get a first-hand look as some of the cutting-edge work in polar engineering and glaciology, robotics, and cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth." Shaheen touted the CHIPS and Science Act. (Bill Platt for Dartmouth News) #nhsen

Trump reacts to pending Jan. 6 committee subpoena with rambling, lying letter. "In a 14-page missive that did not address whether he would comply with the subpoena, Mr. Trump perpetuated the same lies that had fueled the attack and boasted about the size of the crowd that had amassed to hear him speak before marching to the Capitol and staging a violent siege." (Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman for The New York Times)

Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) are stepping up their political operations with an eye on 2024. Brian Colas, a top Cotton aide who ran his 2020 reelection campaign, is leaving Cotton's office "to launch a political consulting firm and to work on Cotton's PAC." Expect a Cotton book tour. Meanwhile, longtime Scott adviser Jennifer DeCasper recently left Scott's office "to help guide his political activities ahead of the midterm election and to advise a newly created, pro-Scott super PAC." (Alex Isenstadt for Politico) #fitn

Bolduc calls disposal of embryos for in vitro fertilization "a disgusting practice." He made the comments "in conversation with an undercover Democratic operative during a Portsmouth Republican Committee's Meet the Candidates event Monday. The operative, posing as a conservative supporter, asked Bolduc whether he was aware that fertility clinics dispose of embryos, characterizing it as 'a pretty disgusting practice.' Bolduc agreed, repeated the characterization, and when asked about the 'possibility of a national ban' on the practice, waffled." Bolduc said he views this as "a separate issue" from abortion restrictions. (Abigail Tracy for Vanity Fair) #nhsen

How abortion policy is playing in the race for NH governor. Sununu and Sherman call themselves pro-choice, but their views differ. Sununu says he supports some restrictions later in pregnancy. Sherman says the state should affirmatively protect abortion rights. He criticized Sununu for signing a 24-week ban. Sununu "has said he would like to see the criminal penalties removed, and exceptions for rape and incest added." (Paul Cuno-Booth for NHPR) #nhgov

Comparing Sununu and Sherman on issues other than abortion. Here are three key policy areas where the two candidates differ: (1) On housing affordability, Sununu touts his team's $100 million InvestNH program, while Sherman said the state should keep that program and add $35 million per year for his housing plan in the state budget. (2) On energy pricing, Sherman said NH should be diversifying its energy sources and lifting the net metering cap, while Sununu argues Democrats are pursuing ideas that would drive up costs. (3) On education, Sununu backs Education Freedom Accounts, while Sherman opposes them. (Steven Porter for Granite State News Collaborative via Seacoastonline) #nhgov

The politics of New Hampshire, America's quirkiest state, explained. "In an age of increased political homogenization, even New Hampshire is illustrative of national trends. Its shift from red to purple is one of the clearest examples of the impact of educational polarization in American politics. And, of course, the nationalized media environment means that Granite Staters are getting their information from many of the same sources as everyone else." (Ben Jacobs for Vox)

Pappas ad snafu: Kitchen table "here in New Hampshire" was stock video filmed in Russia. "Use of stock footage in campaign ads is nothing new, and nobody believes an inside-politics story like this will impact voters. However, Granite State politicos say they are surprised the Pappas campaign wasn’t more careful in the wake of his auto shop snafu." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nh01

More headlines driving conversation:

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear case from Democrats in NH House who sought remote access for lawmakers with disabilities. "Without comment, the court denied the request to take up the dispute ... The core legal question remains whether the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act trump a legislative leader’s rule-making authority. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhleg

Hassan and Bolduc agree on little during separate pitches to business group. "The Nashua chamber wanted both candidates to appear on stage together, but Hassan refused, citing three debates she had committed to before Bolduc won the Sept. 13 primary. ... Bolduc said voters would hold Hassan accountable on Nov. 8 for not holding open-to-the-public town hall meetings." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen

Can ex-Democrat Tulsi Gabbard bail out Don Bolduc? "Gabbard entering the fray may provide a spark of novelty to the Bolduc campaign, but her seventh place finish in the 2020 New Hampshire primary and relatively niche status as a political celebrity on the right likely won’t be enough to move the needle among the group of voters Republicans need the most." (Jake Lahut for Daily Beast) #nhsen

Don Bolduc answers voter questions and touts Tulsi Gabbard's support."I've been having a long dialogue with her ... we don’t agree on everything, imagine that, but we can still come together for the important things," Bolduc said of Gabbard, a former U.S. representative from Hawaii. Gabbard will campaign with Bolduc beginning this weekend. (Marissa Tansino for WMUR) #nhsen

Bolduc attacks Hassan and "Washington elites" at Hooksett town hall. Bolduc said, if elected, he would limit himself to two terms as a U.S. senator. "I stand here in front of you as an option, someone who God has given experiences to go down and be your ambassador, your conduit, someone who doesn’t have any other agenda than to do that,” he said. “We have a role to play, this is mine, but I need your help." (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nhsen

More headlines:

  • Karoline Leavitt answers voter questions on economy and calls Biden the "legitimate president." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nh01
  • Judge dismisses case against Belknap County delegation's Aug. 1 meeting, citing no harm from shorter meeting notice (Michael Mortensen for Laconia Daily Sun) #nhleg
  • Abortion and school vouchers among issues dividing Keene's NH House district candidates (Hunter Oberst for Keene Sentinel) #nhleg
  • Hydro-Quebec subsidiary buys 13 dams in New England, including 8 in NH, VT (AP via NHPR)

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022

Campaign spending in support of 'right to work' paying dividends for conservative group. "Americans for Prosperity ... wants New Hampshire to become a right-to-work state, and in the last two years it has spent over $1 million promoting candidates who share that view. Both Americans for Prosperity and the Republicans it has ousted agree: They’re succeeding. ... Twenty-one of the 25 candidates Americans for Prosperity endorsed won their primaries, according to Moore." (Amanda Gokee for NH Bulletin) #nhleg

Voters will decide two constitutional questions. "One asks whether a convention should be held to change the New Hampshire Constitution." That question is required every 10 years. "The other inquires whether a reference to county registers of probate should be stripped from the constitution, effectively eliminating this position." That question was described as a "housekeeping measure" to eliminate an obsolete constitutional provision. (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel)

Bolduc defends his record of supporting women. "I am tired of the lying," he said. "I am tired of people supporting the lying." Bolduc said he's never endorsed a national abortion ban and would vote against one if elected. Hassan said she doesn’t believe him. “Bolduc’s record makes clear that he would be a clear yes vote for a nationwide abortion ban,” she said. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen

Sununu ranked nation's 10th most popular governor. Morning Consult showed Sununu with a 59% approval rating. Earlier this year, Sununu was ranked the sixth most popular governor, with a 63% approval rating. (Morning Consult) #nhgov

Sherman shaky in first debate, picks abortion over inflation as most important issue. "Sherman struggled to make his case for firing incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. Along the way, he stumbled on several hot-button issues involving parental rights and energy policy." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhgov

Monday, Oct. 10, 2022

Massachusetts aims to launch sports betting in late January. "Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill in August legalizing betting on professional and collegiate sports, joining more than 30 other states, including several neighbors. Baker said that he supports it because state residents are already traveling to Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York and Connecticut to place legal wagers." (AP)

Senate candidates tussle over manufacturing policy. "Hassan says legislation she helped pass this year (including the infrastructure bill and the CHIPS Act) will finally help bring back American manufacturing, but her Republican challenger, Don Bolduc, says more government spending is not the answer." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Do voters care when candidates dodge debates? "According to the Bolduc campaign, Hassan is refusing to negotiate a debate schedule, simply giving her opponent a 'my way or the highway' ultimatum. ... All three incumbent Democratic members of Congress have thus far declined to debate on (Jack Heath)’s show. All three of their GOP challengers have agreed to show up" (Michael Graham for NHJournal). #nhsen – Note: Democrats aren't alone in snubbing certain debate invitations; in the NH01 race, Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt hasn't responded to NHPR's debate invitation, so Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas is expected to get a solo interview, according to an NHPR debate announcement.

More headlines:

  • High inflation, higher interest rates increase credit card debt in New Hampshire (Amy Coveno for WMUR)
  • Granite Staters with Ukrainian ties say country continues to need support (Jamie Staton for WMUR); Manchester church group calls for increased aid to protect civilians from Russian missiles (WMUR)
  • Trinity High School leaders, NAACP officials meet after racist social media post by student (Hannah Cotter for WMUR)

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says weak candidates will limit GOP gains in November. "It should be a massive red wave, but unfortunately I think it's closer than it should be. While we may win the U.S. House, we may win some state races around the country, and we may not take the Senate, it's not going to be as big as we had hoped. Part of it is because we've nominated people in many states across the country who are not as electable in the general election. My philosophy is that we've got to grow a bigger tent and convince more people that we've got the right ideas; otherwise, we don't get to govern. Unfortunately, in some places, we've elected some people that maybe are going to get beat by Democrats when we should have had a winning Republican." Hogan also spoke about higher education and polarization in both major parties. He didn't say whether he'll run for president. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #fitn

Parties starving weak candidates in final midterm crunch. The NRSC said Friday it would cut back on its ad spend against Hassan to focus on closer Senate battlegrounds. But the Senate Leadership Fund is still backing Bolduc as part of its $23 million reservation, with no plans to cut back. In NH02, Republican Bob Burns "has been left in the cold even as some public polling shows Kuster is vulnerable." (Josh Kraushaar for Axios) #nhsen

St. Anselm College poll has warning signs for Hassan and Leavitt. "At this point, the incumbents are unpopular, but the challengers are even more unpopular," said Neil Levesque of the NH Institute of Politics said. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #nhsen #nh01

The retreat of the MAGA general. "How could he see through the bullshit in Kabul but not at Mar-a-Lago? ... Watching him work the room, Bolduc shows he is a master of what the Army calls 'human terrain,' the hearts-and-minds part of any military effort. ... I’d seen it in Afghanistan with his troops and Afghans alike, and his supporters are captivated by it. ... Despite fierce loyalty from some, no one is more bewildered by Bolduc’s campaign persona than some of his former peers and subordinates in the Army. A Pentagon official familiar with the campaign says military leadership is puzzled by Bolduc’s turn toward MAGA. ... I'd gone looking for the Don Bolduc I met in Afghanistan. I don’t think he’d recognize the Don Bolduc I found on the trail in New Hampshire." (Kevin Maurer for Rolling Stone) #nhsen

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig supports plan to send jail releases back to home communities. Craig said the NH bail reform law needs to change, and her team has been working with corrections officials to make sure people aren't just released from jail onto Manchester's streets. The idea is to send people back to their communities and provide wraparound services. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #mht

Hearing on I-93 expansion plans to be held Tuesday. "The Bow-Concord I-93 Widening Project would add a lane in each direction on I-93 from the interchange with I-89 in Bow northerly approximately 4 miles to the I-393 interchange in Concord. It would reconfigure Exits 12, 13, 14, and 15 on I-93, Exit 1 on I-89, and Exit 1 on I-393. ... Major construction is slated to start in 2026 and could last a decade." The meeting will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m., at City Council Chambers in Concord City Hall. (David Brooks for Concord Monitor)

More headlines driving conversation:

Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022

Bolduc criticized for comments about abortion policy decisions belonging to state lawmakers. At a town hall in Auburn on Wednesday, Don Bolduc weighed in on whether abortion rights should be decided at the state or federal level. "It belongs to the state. It belongs to these gentlemen right here, who are state legislators representing you," he said, gesturing to at least two Republican NH state reps, Jason Osborne and Jess Edwards. "That is the best way, I think, as a man, that women get the best voice: at the state level, not at the federal level," Bolduc added. (Jennifer Bendery for HuffPost) #nhsen

  • Former NH AG Tom Rath, a former senior advisor to GOP presidential campaigns and past National Committeeman from NH to the Republican Party, tweeted: "No truer political campaign axiom than 'when you are explaining, you're losing' but Bolduc's 'abortion decisions belong to GOP Gentlemen State Reps' comment defies explanation, political reality, reason and decency. You're gonna hear this one a whole bunch." (Rath backed John Kasich in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020.)

Campaign finance report draws complaint in NH House race. "Republican candidate Joseph Mirzoeff of Keene has complained to the NH Secretary of State’s Office about discrepancies in the campaign finance report of one of his opponents, Democratic Rep. Amanda Elizabeth Toll." The address for a person who gave $10,000 to Toll's campaign said "NH" when it should have said "CA." The errors were "absolutely not deliberate," Toll said. (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel) #nhleg

Gunshot detection tech coming to Manchester within 30 days. "City police say the technology will result — in theory — in quicker response times to incidents of gun violence." The technology, called ShotSpotter, uses audio sensors on light posts and buildings to triangulate where shots were fired. A federal grant will cover a two-year trial period for a 3-square-mile zone. (Paul Feely for Union Leader) #mht

State House Dome: Growing revenues with some warning signs. "It sure looks as if the governor elected on Nov. 8 will inherit a state revenue surplus to play with in 2023. ... Despite the rosy bottom line, net revenue from taxes on business, restaurant meals and hotel room rentals and tobacco for this first quarter were less than the same period last year. The dip wasn't big, but it's worth watching, given the national economic outlook." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhgov

More headlines driving conversation:

Friday, Oct. 7, 2022

Republicans slash ad buys in NH for U.S. Senate race as Hassan leads. "The National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling the remainder of its fall ad slate for New Hampshire after launching a coordinated ad with GOP nominee Don Bolduc earlier this week. The move comes as New Hampshire appears increasingly out of reach for the GOP, although Republicans still have millions more on the books for the final month of the campaign." (Natalie Allison and Burgess Everett for Politico) #nhsen

What Biden's federal marijuana pardons could mean for NH. "The direct impact of the pardons will likely be limited in New Hampshire. Federal prosecutions for simple marijuana possession are rare, with most convictions coming in state court. ... Frank Knaack, the ACLU-NH’s policy director, said the move to reclassify marijuana at the federal level could give legalization proponents a boost when the issue comes up again." (Paul Cuno-Booth)

Larry Hogan stumps for NH Senate candidate Rich Girard. "Girard attacked Democrats on abortion, educational issues and other topics. He also said that despite the Democratic lean of State Senate District 20 ... he can beat 12-term incumbent Lou D’Allesandro." NH Senate candidate Keith Murphy, who owns Murphy’s Diner, was also at the event. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nhleg #fitn

Republicans rally around Bolduc in NH. But is the pivot enough to win? "Bolduc’s candidacy is a test of whether deep dissatisfaction over inflation and the economy will overpower Granite State voters’ tendency to support more moderate, buttoned-up candidates of both parties for higher office. ... There were signs at the town hall that voters were worried about Bolduc’s shifting positions." (Liz Goodwin and Isaac Arnsdorf for Washington Post) #nhsen

Hassan joins Manchester PD for firsthand look at policing priorities. Hassan joined Lt. Matthew Barter on about a two-hour ride-along Friday. They also walked a foot patrol through downtown and talked with homeless people. "The first job of the government is to keep people safe, so public safety has always been something I’ve prioritized and will continue to do," Hassan said. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #nhsen

Child advocate weighs in on Sununu Center closure. "While ideally closure would occur in 2024 with a new facility ready for the children, the date should be no later than April 2025 with contingency for earlier closure should alternative space be established," Cassandra Sanchez wrote in her report. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhleg #nhgov

Volume of applications for affordable housing funding delays program. "The $100 million InvestNH housing fund Gov. Chris Sununu unveiled earlier this year was supposed to announce its first awards a week ago on Sept. 30. But officials said it's taking much longer than expected to divvy up the federal dollars because of the sheer volume of applications." The awards are now expected to go before the Executive Council on Nov. 2. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhgov

Dover commits to honor lives of its first inhabitants. "Before the green flag of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People was raised in front of City Hall Wednesday night, the city’s land proclamation was read, acknowledging the history of Dover’s settlement in 1623 and how it displaced Indigenous populations." (Megan Fernandes for Foster's Daily Democrat)

More headlines driving conversation:

  • Column: National Guard deployment far from humanitarian, interfaith group says (Arnie Alpert for InDepthNH)
  • Bolduc gets chummy with Sean Hannity (Sean Hannity for Fox News) #nhsen
  • Former NH juvenile parole officer Jason Ellis sentenced to 11 years for possession of child pornography and trying to send an explicit image to a child (AP)
  • In an interview with Newsmax, Karoline Leavitt describes youth as her "greatest asset" in NH01 race (Sandy Fitzgerald for Newsmax) #nh01
Taxpayers ask court to block statewide education property tax
They argue that a legislative change to eliminate so-called ‘donor’ towns effectively created a system that mirrored proposals from the 1990s that were struck down.

Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan spoke Thursday morning at "Politics & Eggs." Hogan touted his successes in Maryland and criticized fellow GOP governors from Florida and Texas for the "mistake" and "publicity stunt" of transporting migrants to Martha's Vineyard and elsewhere, as Paul Steinhauser reported. Hogan remained noncommittal about 2024 plans (KC Downey for WMUR; full video from WMUR). #fitn

Shaheen to receive honor from Panetta Institute for Public Policy. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, will receive a 2022 Jefferson-Lincoln Award on Nov. 12 at a black-tie gala dinner in Pebble Beach. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-IL, and Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS, will be honored as well. (James Herrera for Monterey Herald) #nhsen

Top election official blasts report ranking NH last in voting ease. "That’s the type of report that causes people to lose confidence in elections," said NH Secretary of State Dave Scanlan. "The report is way off base in my opinion." (Damien Fisher for NHJournal) #voting

NHJournal: Hassan campaign forces Nashua Chamber to drop debate format. "The position of the Hassan campaign is that they would only participate if this were a stand-alone forum, not a debate," said Chamber President and CEO Wendy Hunt. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen

More headlines:

Will NH follow Biden on marijuana pardons? What Sununu, Sherman say
Gov. Chris Sununu has recently reiterated his opposition to marijuana legalization.
GOP executive councilors hold up funding for after-school sex ed they approved in prior years
The program is separate from sexual health education courses taught in public schools.
Partisan gerrymandering? That’s a political question, NH judge rules
If the people had intended to impose additional requirements for the redistricting process, they would have said so in the NH constitution, the judge wrote.

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022

Judge rejects claim by group of Democrats that partisan gerrymandering violates NH constitution. The lawsuit had challenged 16 of the 24 newly drawn NH Senate districts and four of the five Executive Council districts. The judge wrote that the NH constitution gives state lawmakers power to draw districts, leaving limited oversight for the courts (Todd Bookman for NHPR). "In approving the state’s motion to dismiss the case, Colburn wrote ... 'Because the newly-drawn districts meet those express (constitutional) requirements, the Court must decline to consider the plaintiffs' challenge to the constitutionality of the districts based on claims of excessive political gerrymandering as such claims present non-justiciable political questions' " (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH).

Candidates in NH01 focus on national themes while trying to reach local voters. Pappas has highlighted abortion access, his opponent's false claims about the 2020 election, and his support for prescription drug pricing reforms for seniors. Leavitt has highlighted high inflation, concerns about the number of migrants at the southern border, and her opponent's alignment with Democratic Party leaders. (Todd Bookman for NHPR) #nh01

Bolduc, Burns and other GOP nominees draw 100 attendees to Tempesta's Restaurant in Keene. Burns talked about inflation, lower taxes, limited government and energy independence. Bolduc reiterated his calls for Social Security and Medicare to be overhauled. Both were asked clarifying questions about their stances on abortion. Attendees also heard from Cheshire County sheriff candidate Richard Pratt and NH Senate District 10 candidate Sly Karasinski. (Hunter Oberst for Keene Sentinel) #nhsen #nh02

Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council and Conway Daily Sun to host at least 3 debates in October (Lloyd Jones for Conway Daily Sun):

  • In the U.S. Senate race, Maggie Hassan and Don Bolduc will debate on Oct. 18 at 9 a.m.
  • In the NH01 race, Chris Pappas and Karoline Leavitt will debate on Oct. 20 at 9 a.m.
  • In the gubernatorial race, Democrat Tom Sherman asked the council to host a debate between him and incumbent Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. Organizers were awaiting word from Sununu's team.
  • Additionally, the Sun is sponsoring its first political debate, on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., with six candidates running for three seats in NH House District 1.

The debates will be streamed on Valley Vision's Facebook live feed.

More headlines:

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022

Executive Council approves funds for heating and electric aid. All the major electric utilities have hiked their rates, and home heating fuel costs are expected to rise this winter as well, so the state will send $35 million in surplus tax revenue to five regional agencies to distribute credits to qualified NH residents. This program is separate from LIHEAP, an existing federal program. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhleg #nhgov

The latest Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll shows incumbents leading challengers (Adam Sexton for WMUR; poll):

  • Hassan leading Bolduc, 49%-43%, in the U.S. Senate race, with 4% unsure and 4% wanting someone else (±3.3%).
  • Pappas leading Leavitt, 49%-41%, in NH01, with 7% unsure and 3% wanting someone else (±4.9%).
  • Kuster leading Burns, 49% to 35%, in NH02, with 7% unsure and 9% looking for someone else (±4.9%).
  • Sununu leading Sherman, 50%-34%, in the governor's race (±3.3%).

Saint Anselm poll: NH voters dislike Democrats, but dislike Republicans more. "The bad news for Democratic incumbents is that their standing with voters is weak. The good news for Democratic incumbents is that their Republican challengers are even weaker," said NHIOP Executive Director Neil Levesque. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link)

Promising new offensive against Hassan, Bolduc finds himself on defense with some voters. " 'She's the one that needs to get over it,' Bolduc said to a couple in their 20s who hadn't asked him about abortion. ... In fact, no voter at the Red Arrow brought up abortion with Bolduc that morning. But several said they were aware that Bolduc had staked out fresh – and sometimes conflicting – positions on a number of issues since winning the Republican primary." (Josh Rogers for NHPR) #nhsen

Another shift for Don Bolduc on 2020 election. The GOP nominee for U.S. Senate keeps changing his position on whether the most recent presidential election was legit.

  • Aug. 14: At a Government Integrity Project event, Bolduc said, "I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election, and damn it, I stand by my letter."
  • Sept. 10: Speaking with Granite Memo, Bolduc said he "misspoke" at the August event and should have used words that more closely aligned with the substance of the letter, which he said he stands by. The letter claimed that the FBI and Supreme Court ignored "election irregularities" in 2020.
  • Sept. 13: Bolduc wins the GOP primary. He'll face Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan in the Nov. 8 general election.
  • Sept. 15: In a Fox News interview, Bolduc disavowed his prior stance. "I have come to the conclusion – and I want to be definitive on this – the election was not stolen."
  • Oct. 3: At a town hall in Hudson, in response to a voter's question, Bolduc said, "I can’t say that it was stolen or not. I don’t have enough information. But what I can say is that we have irregularity" (Holly Ramer for AP). #nhsen

NHJournal publishes article critical of Democrats who oppose school vouchers and send kids to private schools. NH Sen. Tom Sherman, "a self-declared champion of public schools and opponent of school choice" who's running for governor, voted against the Education Freedom Account law and sent his son to a private school in Massachusetts. The article also criticizes Rep. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, who's running for Sherman’s seat in the NH Senate; Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua; Rep. Marjorie Porter, D-Hillsborough; Rep. Timothy Horrigan, D-Durham. (Damien Fisher for NHJournal; Patrick Hynes column in Union Leader) #nhleg

Taxation, school vouchers and abortion among issues in NH Senate District 10 contest. NH Rep. Donovan Fenton of Keene and Swanzey Selectman Sylvester “Sly” Karasinski will face each other in the Nov. 8 general election. (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel) #nhleg

Manchester Democratic candidates gather before final election season sprint. "Democratic candidates from across the city gathered on Sunday afternoon to take a break from knocking on doors and renew their spirits for the final few weeks of campaigning and share their stump speeches with anyone interested in stopping by." (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #mht #nhleg

Laconia forum on homelessness hears from voice of lived experience. Kathryn Hatzenbuhler shared her story during the first of seven forums about the city's homelessness challenges. Det. Eric Adams said the number of unsheltered children, adults and families in Laconia jumped from about 80-100 before the pandemic to roughly 300-400 now. (Jon Decker for Laconia Daily Sun)

She wants NH voters to eliminate a position she used to hold. In a guest column, Donna Sytek of Salem (a former Speaker of the NH House) urges the public to vote "yes" on Question 1 on their Nov. 8 ballot to eliminate the Register of Probate position. "All that remains of the Register of Probate is the title, which is enshrined in the state Constitution as an elected position along with other county officials." (Donna Sytek for Foster's Daily Democrat)

Manchester considers banning shopping carts in public parks. Alderman Erin George-Kelly feared the provision could make houseless people feel unwelcome in city parks, and said the item should be tabled until the city names a new director of homeless initiatives. Other aldermen pushed back. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #mht

Former NH Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick the consensus pick to manage $100 million YDC victims fund. "The chief job of the administrator will be to arbitrate disputes when lawyers for victims reject damage awards that the Attorney General’s Office has offered to them. ... The lead lawyers for most YDC victims ... said they won’t have their clients use this settlement process, but they did recommend that the attorney general pick Broderick." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader)

More headlines:

Monday, Oct. 3, 2022

Sununu announces NH National Guard deployment to southern border. About 164 members in two units will work along the U.S. border with Mexico for a year, primarily to help with surveillance. They aren't allowed to make contact with migrants crossing the border illegally and will notify Customs and Border Patrol to any border crossings, according to the governor's office. A unit from the NH National Guard previously deployed to the border from October 2020 through November 2021. (Hannah Cotter for WMUR; Union Leader; press release) #nhgov

Republican incumbent seems to endorse Democrat for his NH Senate seat. Christine Tappan, the Democratic nominee for NH Senate District 17, published a quote on Facebook from Republican NH Sen. John Reagan. "I know she will represent our communities with character, integrity, and independence," the Reagan quote said. When asked about it, Reagan said, "I don’t think that was an endorsement, just a statement of my experience with a former agency director." NH Rep. Howard Pearl, the Republican running against Tappan, said he isn't worried. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhleg

Lawmakers hear concerns about medical malpractice after Boston Globe Spotlight story. "The public’s right to know about medical malpractice complaints is now under the microscope at the State House ... A report for legislators is due in November." (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Keene community power plan gets OK from NH Public Utilities Commission. The program, which still needs City Council approval, could launch in April. "Under a community-power arrangement — such as the ones Keene and Harrisville approved last year, and Swanzey, Marlborough, Peterborough and Walpole earlier this year — a municipal government rather than a utility sources electricity for local consumers. This gives the municipality more control over the power supply, allowing it to seek lower-cost or greener options, while a utility continues to maintain transmission lines and deliver the electricity. ... Legislation allowing for community power plans took effect in 2019." The plan is part of Keene's plan to move to renewable energy sources. (Hunter Oberst for Keene Sentinel)

Republicans target Hassan over COVID money for Boston marathon bomber. "In another sign Republicans believe the crime issue is a winner for them this November, a GOP organization is targeting Sen. Maggie Hassan over her vote to send COVID relief checks to prison inmates like cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal and infamous Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen

Health workers worry about impending COVID surge amid flu season. "State data on new cases isn't as useful as it used to be because so many people are testing at home. Instead, communities such as Portsmouth are part of the state's wastewater surveillance program that started in June. Levels of the virus in wastewater hit a high in late August and are now nearly at that point again, an early predictor that the virus is spreading." (Jennifer Crompton for WMUR)

Director of UNH Carsey School of Public Policy stepping down. In a monthly newsletter update, Michael Ettlinger said he told colleagues in September that he's moving on. Ettlinger said he plans to return to D.C. as of Jan. 31 "to continue my work in politics and public policy." In the past, Ettlinger has worked for major think tanks, including the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for American Progress, according to a UNH profile. (Newsletter)

More headlines:

Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022

What Gov. Chris Sununu, who's running for reelection, said on WMUR's CloseUp:

  • High energy costs: Sununu said, "We have a New England grid." He blamed policies favored by Democrats throughout the region, and he touted relief efforts backed by Republicans. He said he won't support bringing back biomass plants.
  • Abortion rights: Calling himself "pro-choice," he said he doesn't want additional abortion restrictions in NH and would be open to adding additional exceptions to the current 24-week ban. He said he "would love" to get rid of the felony penalties for doctors who violate the law.
  • Opioid crisis: Sununu called this a "cartel-driven crisis" linked to lax border enforcement. He said the state is taking a more aggressive messaging approach to help people understand risks and also promoting law enforcement and access to resources.
  • Marijuana legalization: Sununu said now still isn't the time for NH to legalize weed. "There's still no way to manage the impairment issues on highways," he said.
  • Bail reform: "There should be outrage, and there should be appetite for change." Even as NH remains safe overall, he said, "This law in itself is creating an avenue to keep people unsafe on the streets."
  • Running for president: "I have no plans to run for president. Look, we've got to get a win in 2022. ... I think running for president would be horribly boring in many ways because I love New Hampshire. I just love being here. I love tackling the problems, being innovative, trying new things and all of that." (When asked last month by Kara Voght for Rolling Stone at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester whether he'll run for president, Sununu said, "I don’t know what I’m going to do. ... I have no idea. I haven't even thought about it. But it's nice to be asked. I'm flattered.")

What NH Sen. Dr. Tom Sherman, the Democratic candidate for NH governor, said on WMUR's CloseUp:

  • Recession could impact tax revenues: When asked how NH would pay for his priorities in office, Sherman said he would start by tapping recent budget surpluses.
  • Bail reform: "Do I support rebalancing bail reform? Absolutely. Do I support protecting people from violent criminals? I always have."
  • Abortion rights: When GOP candidates claim Democrats support abortion until birth, Sherman said they are misrepresenting women's health care. "This isn't about elective abortion in the third trimester; that's changing the narrative to a place that's not the reality."
  • Dems too liberal to beat Sununu? "I've never been seen as liberal. I've always been seen as moderate. That's why I've run repeatedly in a Republican district (for NH Senate)."
  • Energy policy: The state could enact policies to help consumers reduce their energy consumption. Broad diversification of energy sources is more important than biomass, he said.

RNC working closely with Bolduc to unseat Hassan. A spokesperson said the RNC is working "hand in glove" with the Bolduc campaign. Insiders expect polls in this U.S. Senate race will tighten. (Adam Sexton for WMUR's CloseUp) #nhsen

How can NH communities push back on hate? A pair of events will help people recognize and respond to an uptick in local hate group activity. Police and community groups are working with New Hampshire Listens for this week's sessions, which will be held Monday evening in Kittery, Maine, and an online Thursday. (Paul Cuno-Booth for NHPR, Monday event, Thursday event)

More headlines:

Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022

How NH's millionaire politicians try to relate to everyday constituents. All four members of the NH congressional delegation are estimated to be millionaires, according to OpenSecrets data: estimated net worth for Hassan was $4.6 million, for Shaheen was $3.9 million, for Pappas was $3.3 million and for Kuster was just shy of $2.0 million. Despite their wealth, their messaging has emphasized policy efforts to lower costs for constituents. (Michaela Towfighi for Concord Monitor) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02

Fiery debates ahead for NH lawmakers in 2023. "The bill filing season at the State House has only just begun, but it already is clear the 2023 Legislature will consider proposals across the spectrum on guns, property tax relief and labor rights." Other priorities include a "parental rights" bill, tax cuts, and right-to-work. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhleg

Rolling Stone hits Mount Major with a "thriving" Sununu. "Sununu occupies a rare corner of the modern Republican Party: He’s a hardcore libertarian who has eschewed most of his party’s culture wars and, occasionally, Donald Trump — all the while avoiding the RINO label that plagues others who dare to do so. ... His endorsement of Bolduc and other MAGA candidates, however, throws that independent streak into question. How deftly he’s been able to traverse the chasm that’s swallowed other conservative lawmakers who refused to bend a knee to the former president has raised Sununu’s prospects beyond New Hampshire. ... He’s the sort of person who can call Trump 'fucking crazy' at a white-tie dinner in Washington one night, assure people it was only part of a roast the following day, and leave you uncertain of exactly where the truth lies." (Kara Voght for Rolling Stone) #nhgov

Ticket-splitting voters were going extinct. Now they may decide 2022's biggest races. "In battleground states from Georgia to New Hampshire to Ohio, a potentially decisive slice of voters tell pollsters they’re supporting a Democrat for one high-profile office and a Republican for another. ... a Suffolk University poll suggests voters favor Republican Gov. Chris Sununu over Democrat Tom Sherman by a 17-point margin, but they also support Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, by 8 points over GOP nominee Don Bolduc." Suffolk pollster David Paleologos cited Trump's unlikability, plus "abortion as an issue that clearly defines how many independent and swing voters align with candidates." (Sahil Kapur, Allan Smith and Jonathan Allen for NBC News) #nhgov #nhsen

More headlines:

September 2022

Friday, Sept. 30, 2022

Crime and support for police become focal point for NH races. In an ad for Maggie Hassan, sheriffs from Merrimack County and Grafton County tout the senator's support for police funding.

  • Challenger: Don Bolduc, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, served as a police officer in Laconia before his military career. He's been endorsed by police groups, and national polls indicate voters tend to trust Republicans more than Democrats on matters of crime and law enforcement.
  • Dems differ: The four Democrats in the congressional delegation have disagreed on whether to end qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that can prevent police officers from being sued. Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster voted in favor of 2020 legislation that would end qualified immunity, while Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen opposed the measure. (Paul Steinhauser for Concord Monitor) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02

Candidates for NH governor agree changes needed to bail reform law. "The major party candidates for governor ... are at odds on almost every issue, but there's one on which they agree: rolling back aspects of the state's 2018 bail reform law. ... But the opposition to changing the law in the New Hampshire House is bipartisan, with Democrats and Liberty Republicans forming a voting bloc that protects the bail reform law." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhgov

Sununu says he won't support bringing back biomass. "To generate more power locally, some lawmakers have said the 2023 legislative session will be the 'year of biomass,' but in an interview for 'CloseUP,' Sununu quickly dismissed that idea." His challenger, Tom Sherman, "didn't rule out reviving biomass," but said broad diversification of energy sources is more important. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhgov

Why NH Dems are so focused on abortion. "Polling suggests most Granite Staters will respond positively to messages in favor of abortion rights. What’s less clear is how voters with nuanced views on this topic will make sense of a partisan debate that directly involves shifting policies at both the state and federal levels."

  • A poll last month concluded that 71% of Granite Staters were “pro-choice,” while 25% were “pro-life.”
  • That 71% figure included 29% who said abortion should be allowed “with no restrictions,” plus 42% who said abortion should be allowed “with some restrictions.”
  • "That last group ... may be who Republicans have in mind when they accuse Democrats of taking things too far." (Steven Porter for Granite State News Collaborative via Seacoastonline)

Campaign rhetoric heats up with darker side as voting approaches. "Two issues many campaigns are using as weapons this fall are schools or more specifically parental rights and the other is high energy prices." (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH)

Native American sculpture "The Defiant One" prepares return to Laconia. A truck delivered a 3D-printed carbon copy of the 36-foot original in several pieces. "The original statue was carved by Hungarian-American artist Peter Wolf Toth in 1984, as part of his lifelong 'Trail of the Whispering Giants' project." When crews were removing the severely worn original from its pedestal in Opechee Park in 2019, it shattered. (Jon Decker for Laconia Daily Sun)

What's your take on our "Live Free Or Die" slogan? "It's very optimistic that people think you always have that choice," said author, humorist and social observer Fran Lebowitz. (Julia Furukawa and Mary McIntyre for NHPR)

More headlines:

Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022

Hassan campaign emails donors to sound alarm over trouble in November. "The email ... undercuts the narrative that Bolduc's extremist reputation paired with the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, will deliver Hassan an automatic win." The email said public polling in NH is "wrong" and "sugar-coated for any Democratic candidate." (Alayna Treene for Axios; the email) #nhsen

Leavitt campaigns on opposition to Manchester schools policy on transgender students. The policy was the subject of a lawsuit that was dismissed last week, as Paul Feely reported for the Union Leader. Leavitt, the GOP nominee for NH01, held a press conference outside the school district's headquarters. "Parents deserve to have a direct role in their child's education, and they certainly have a right to know when their child is expressing concerns over gender, race, sex, or mental and emotional health in school," she said in a statement touting her support for a federal Parental Bill of Rights in Congress. Her campaign posted video from the press conference on YouTube. (See also reports from Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link; Paul Feely for Union Leader; Adam Sexton for WMUR; Damien Fisher for NHJournal.) #nh01

NH Dems outline plan to fix problems caused by erroneous mailers. An attorney for the NHDP told the NH AG's office that Democrats would try to call the 995 voters who were impacted by the mailing. But the party doesn't have phone numbers for 269 people, so if it can't get those numbers, Demcorats will try to make in-person contact. (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel)

'Divisive concepts' law makes a splash, and its ripples spread beyond education. "Prior to the law's passage, the Black Heritage Trail was often invited to give guest history lessons at public schools. Those invitations have stopped, though, Boggis explained, because educators don’t want to gamble with speakers who deal with sensitive topics." (Adam Drapcho for Granite State News Collaborative via NH Business Review)

Reporting and reflecting after Don Bolduc campaigns with Nikki Haley in Hollis. "Driving away, I thought through the evidence. If Bolduc had never believed that the election was stolen, then he had spent many months building a political identity around a lie, offering lengthy explanations in support of it and voicing political views in line with those of other people who believed it, even though the position carried some legal risk and limited political advantage. On the other hand, if he had always believed that the election was stolen, then he had lied exactly once, at a time that would have accorded him maximum political advantage (since he needed to persuade swing voters to give him a second look and Republican donors that he wasn’t a lost cause) and then immediately stopped lying. One of these versions was much easier to believe than the other." (Benjamin Wallace-Wells for The New Yorker) #nhsen

More headlines:

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022

Republican challengers press Democratic incumbents for more debates. Bolduc called on Hassan to do seven debates; Hassan has said she'll do three. Leavitt called on Pappas to do five debates; Pappas has agreed to four of them. Burns commended Kuster for agreeing to five debates, then he challenged her to nine. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02

Corey Lewandowski cuts deal on charge stemming from alleged unwanted sexual advances. "The records show that Lewandowski agreed to a deal that will see him undergo eight hours of impulse control counseling, serve 50 hours of community service and stay out of trouble for a year. He also paid a $1,000 fine. Under the agreement, Lewandowski did not have to admit guilt, and once the conditions are met, the charges will be dismissed." (Alex Isenstadt for Politico)

Bolduc challenges Hassan to seven debates. Will she show? "Bolduc's proposed debate schedule includes the three match-ups on Hassan’s pre-primary list: WMUR, NHPR, and the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council." Bolduc also added four more: (1) iHeart Radio, NH Today, and New England College; (2) Pulse of NH Debate; (3) NH Home Builders Association; and (4) Nashua Chamber of Commerce. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen

Laconia candidates discuss housing issues, reproductive rights at bipartisan forum. "The event ushered in a sense of normalcy and civility for the election cycle. The candidates for New Hampshire House in the recently-redistricted District 5 — including Laconia Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 — shared their views with voters. Topics ranged from homelessness and housing issues to abortion and marijuana laws." (Jon Decker for The Laconia Daily Sun) #nhleg

In a sliver of Lake Sunapee, boaters and homeowners clash over public water access. "Lakefront homeowners on Jobs Creek say a surge in boat traffic in the past few years is bad for the environment and public safety. This summer, they submitted a petition asking the state ... to prohibit rafting ... as well as restrict single boats from dropping anchor within 150-feet of shoreline." But the NH Department of Safety commissioner rejected the petition for insufficient evidence. (Todd Bookman for NHPR)

Reports describe circumstances of Seabrook nuclear plant false alarm. "The state report details the breakdown in communication, including that it took 20 minutes for a manager from the plant to call New Hampshire safety officials to confirm the false alarm." (KC Downey for WMUR, NH report, NRC report; see also Angeljean Chiaramida for Seacoastonline)

Catholic Charities backs off proposal to build 180 units of affordable housing in Rochester neighborhood. Area residents "raised concerns about the impact on their property values, said it could bring increased crime, and raised concern about the burden on police, schools and other services." The charity plans to look for another location. (Karen Dandurant for Foster's Daily Democrat)

Something to sip on: journalists, political scientist discuss primaries and coverage at panel. "The panel included Dr. Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire; Josh Rogers, a reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio; Holly Ramer, a reporter for the Associated Press who got her start in the Granite State, and Julie Hirshan Hart, editor at The Laconia Daily Sun." They spoke about the nationalization of the presidential primary process, shifts in the news media landscape, how to be a discerning news consumer and more. (Catherine McLaughlin for The Laconia Daily Sun) #fitn

After second recent instance of anti-Semitic vandalism, police investigating and vigil planned. Spray-painted graffiti was found in the park next to the Laconia library, and a swastika was found carved into a library bookshelf. The city's Human Relations Committee plans a vigil for Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. in Opechee Park. (Michael Mortensen for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Franklin adopts hate and intolerance resolution in response to neo-Nazi threats. A local business was targeted over the summer by online "trolling from the neo-Nazi hate group the Nationalist Social Club, known as NSC-131. ... bakery owners in Portsmouth and Dover (were) also on the receiving end of the group’s activity." After an uptick in white supremacist rallies across New England, the Dover City Council issued an official condemnation. Now Franklin has followed suit. (Michaela Towfighi for Concord Monitor)

What's the value of rooftop solar panels? New study helping NH find out. "Residents, businesses or municipalities that have small-scale energy resources can get compensated for the extra energy they feed back into the grid through net metering. And next January, the state’s Public Utilities Commission will begin a new proceeding to reconsider how to compensate those customers" (Mara Hoplamazian for NHPR). See also NH Consumer Advocate Donald M. Kreis' latest column for InDepthNH.

More headlines:

Disability rights advocates: Sununu mischaracterized special education rights in private schools
The Bulletin asked the governor for clarification. The response from his office continued to confuse the issue.
Lawmaker wants to limit insulin copays to $35 for more Granite Staters
The proposal would target people with diabetes who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and don’t have commercial insurance.
Conspiracy-fueled push to hand-count ballots gains traction
New Hampshire is among at least six states in which Republicans aligned with Donald Trump have introduced legislation to ban ballot tabulators.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022

Third primary winner withdraws from NH legislative race. Brian Bagley, a Democrat from Manchester, told state election officials he's withdrawing from the ballot in Manchester Wards 6, 8 and 9 for health reasons. He's been replaced by Rep. Josh Query, who narrowly lost his own primary in Manchester Ward 9. (Union Leader) #nhleg

Hassan claims 'bipartisanship' as a touchstone. How much does that matter to NH voters? "Given the nature of New Hampshire’s electorate, which tends to swing with the national mood, every vote could count in Hassan’s race to seek reelection against Republican Don Bolduc. And what Hassan’s campaign is doing amounts to a time-tested move for candidates in her situation: an incumbent with soft poll numbers running against a partisan tide in a midterm election." (Josh Rogers for NHPR) #nhsen

NH GOP files FEC complaint over 'misleading' mailers. The complaint alleges that NH02 mailers lacked proper labeling and sought to portray Robert Burns as more pro-Trump than his top Republican opponent. The party claims these anonymous mailings were part of Democrats' ploy to boost pro-Trump candidates in GOP primaries. Burns is up against Democratic incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster in the Nov. 8 general election. (WMUR; Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nh02

No talk of first-in-the-nation presidential primary at big NH Dems fundraiser. There "was no rousing defense" of the tradition "and not even a polite rebuke of the Democratic National Committee's re-examination of the early state voting order." Meanwhile, the GOP has already affirmed its plans to move forward with the 2024 nominating calendar without changes. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #fitn

Divisive concepts law yields no 'credible' complaints thus far. "Now, more than a year after the law took effect, the head of the state’s Commission on Human Rights said that agency has received no credible claims that any New Hampshire teachers have run afoul of the law. ... The information ... comes as the state defends itself against a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality." One complaint under the law was reportedly pending this month. (Adam Drapcho for Granite State News Collaborative) #nhleg

More headlines:

Monday, Sept. 26, 2022

Hassan and Bolduc spar over Medicare and Social Security. "Bolduc said Hassan is lying about his record. 'I never said privatize Medicare,' he said. ... The Hassan campaign pointed to a recording from a campaign event in August in which Bolduc did call privatization 'hugely important.' " (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022

Sununu does an about-face on U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc. Before the GOP primary, Sununu had denounced Bolduc as a "conspiracy theorist-type" and "not a serious candidate." Sununu endorsed NH Senate President Chuck Morse, who lost to Bolduc. In a Fox News interview Saturday, the governor praised Bolduc: "he's an amazing individual with this war hero background that just wants to stand up and serve." Sununu said Bolduc will beat Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan. (Dan Alexander for Seacoast Current; Fox News) #nhgov #nhsen

Nikki Haley claps back at "The View." In a CloseUp interview, the former UN ambassador and SC governor responded to comments that had called her a "chameleon" for using her middle name instead of her first name. Democrats have made such "racist" remarks in the past, Haley said. "They can't stand that a minority female would be a conservative Republican. They just can't take it," she said. Haley, who's considering a 2024 presidential bid, came to NH to tout GOP candidates. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #fitn

Nikki Haley to NH women: Democrats "are lying to you" about abortion. "They're not telling you that they overwhelmingly supported legislation allowing abortion up to the time of birth," Haley told NHJournal. "They’re not telling you that what Republicans are saying is this doesn’t need to be decided by unelected justices. It needs to be decided by the people." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #fitn

Pete Buttigieg focused on transportation but political future remains open. The current transportation secretary, who placed second in the 2020 first-in-the-nation presidential primary, sat for a CloseUp interview conducted remotely. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #fitn

More headlines:

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022

Both NH01 candidates talking past each other in close race. Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas is focused on portraying Republican challenger Karoline Leavitt as "a Trump MAGA Republican, someone too extreme to represent the district." Leavitt is focused on casting Pappas as beholden to "an uber-liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi" and runaway federal spending. UNH politics professor Dante Scala said he expects Pappas to keep emphasizing abortion while Leavitt emphasizes the economy. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nh01

Poll suggests close contest for NH02 candidates. Democratic incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster "cruised to re-election in 2018 and 2020," but in her current bid for a sixth term, Republican challenger Robert Burns seems to be mounting a stiff challenge. A poll conducted right after the primary showed Kuster with a 48%-45% edge over Burns, with 7% of voters still undecided. The poll showed a majority of independents favoring Burns. (Paul Steinhauser for Concord Monitor) #nh02

With 44 days until election, Buttigieg headlines Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner. At the NH Dems fundraiser in Manchester, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Republicans are out of step with the public. Even moderate members of the GOP feel homeless and have resorted to abnormal tactics, he said. Other speakers included Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster, gubernatorial candidate Dr. Tom Sherman and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02 #nhgov #fitn

Cheshire House 7 candidates agree on housing needs, differ on guns. Shaun Filiault, who unseated NH Rep. John Bordenet in the Democratic primary for Cheshire County's NH House District 7, said he'll continue talking about gun policy, including the need for a red-flag law. David A. Kamm, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary, said he favors existing gun laws and doesn't plan to push for any significant changes, though he would be open to considering tighter licensure rules. (Rick Green for The Keene Sentinel) #nhleg

Some nursing homes are frustrated with COVID regulations. Kathryn Kindopp, administrator at Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland, said it’s time to relax the pandemic rules since most residents are vaccinated and treatments are more widely available. "I think we’re discriminating against our elders in nursing homes," she said. Kindopp wrote a letter to the CDC director and didn't receive a reply. She contacted Rep. Annie Kuster, who sent her own letter. (Kelly Burch for The Keene Sentinel) #nh02

Keene nursing home outbreak leads to dozens of COVID cases. Keene Center has had 33 residents and 15 employees test positive for COVID-19 since an outbreak began in August. "Two residents died while receiving end of life care during this time," though the nursing home owner did not disclose whether they had COVID at the time. (Olivia Belanger for The Keene Sentinel)

Abortion is a matter of ‘freedom’ for Biden and Democrats. "Though the party’s candidates from New Hampshire to Florida to Nevada have carried the freedom message in their campaigns this fall, Democrats in some prominent races have taken that anti-government theme to a new level." The story mentions a Pappas ad and a Hassan campaign stop. (Seung Min Kim for AP) #nhsen #nh01

More headlines:

Friday, Sept. 23, 2022

Error-ridden mailers prompt NH AG to send cease-and-desist letter to NH Dems. The mailers were sent to 39 towns and affected 926 voters in what NH Dems executive director called "a regrettable clerical error made by a mail vendor" (Ethan DeWitt for NH Bulletin).

Don Bolduc's home was site of "aggressive" 2018 incident with police. Bolduc’s wife, Sharon, called 911 for a medical emergency. An officer arrived and described the matter as "a verbal domestic" incident. "Bolduc campaign spokesperson Kate Constantini said in a statement to The Daily Beast that the kerfuffle was the result of 'brothers will be brothers' after one of Bolduc’s sons got into a car accident on the way home for Christmas. She did not address the confrontation with police." (Jake Lahut for Daily Beast) #nhsen

Former head of Granite Recovery Centers sues NHPR, alleging defamation. Eric Spofford sued NHPR and three staffers for a story and podcast that included allegations of sexual misconduct. A spokesperson for the radio station said, "NHPR stands by its reporting and will vigorously defend our journalism." The lawsuit also accuses NHPR of falsely implying that Spofford was the person seen on surveillance video vandalizing homes linked to NHPR employees involved in the story about him (Nancy West for InDepthNH). An earlier post from NHJournal included some information about the lawsuit (Damien Fisher for NHJournal).

As cable news focused on queen, Democratic political donations slipped. "Nat Binns, a principal for MissionWired, a digital fund-raising company that supports Democrats, said ... he had never experienced such a vacuum of political news stories at this stage of the campaigns. The clients of MissionWired include at least three Senate Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns that could determine whether the party maintains control of the Senate: Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire." (Neil Vigdor for The New York Times) #nhsen

More headlines:

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022

Unions for first responders endorse GOP candidates for governor and NH01. Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) endorsed Gov. Chris Sununu's reelection bid. New Hampshire Police Association (NHPA) endorsed Republican nominee Karoline Leavitt over Democratic incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas in NH01. The firefighters group that endorsed Sununu on Thursday endorsed Pappas in March. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhgov #nh01

More headlines:

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022

Illness forces 2 GOP candidates off ballot; replacements named. Michael Yakubovich and Gary Hopper announced they are stepping away from politics to address health issues.

  • Yakubovich, a Hooksett state rep who won the GOP primary for NH Senate District 16, will be replaced on the ballot by former state rep Keith Murphy, who owns Murphy's Taproom in Manchester. (Murphy will go up against Democratic candidate June Trisciani.)
  • Hopper, a Weare state rep who was running for the Weare/Goffstown floterial district, will be replaced on the ballot by Liza Mazur, a Goffstown business owner and newly naturalized U.S. citizen. (Mazur will be among the candidates vying for two seats.)
  • The two substitutions were made by state and local Republicans under a 2013 law. (Damien Fisher for NHJournal) #nhleg

When is it 'reasonable' to remove a voter from the checklist? In NH, it depends on who you ask. "In the past, these officials largely operated out of public view ... But since the 2020 election and subsequent false claims of widespread voter fraud, these lists have come under more scrutiny ... Towns appear to have wide latitude in how much energy they spend cleaning up the voter rolls." (Todd Bookman for NHPR) #voting

More headlines:

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022

Mike Pompeo at "Politics & Eggs" says more must be done to control the southern border. The former secretary of state, who has acknowledged he's considering a 2024 presidential bid, reportedly bristled at questions about Republican governors sending migrants from the southern border to places like Martha's Vineyard and Washington, D.C. (Adam Sexton for WMUR, Full video) #fitn

Pompeo calls border-crossing fentanyl an act of war. "When he took questions, audience members asked Pompeo about the flow of fentanyl that has fed a surge in opioid overdoses in New Hampshire and across the country, with one saying, 'It seems almost like an act of war.' Pompeo replied, 'I’m not sure I’d use the word "almost." ' Pompeo reminded attendees of previous reports that 'Trump wanted to bomb Mexico.' Pompeo set the record straight: 'That was actually me.' " (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #fitn

Pompeo criticizes Biden's recent speech as divisive. "He smeared half the country," Pompeo said. "He called fellow Americans semi-fascists. He called us a threat to the soul and foundations of our republic." Pompeo also said teaching kids that "there is an oppressor class and an oppressed class" and that "our nation was founded on a racist idea" are "corrosive" ideas that dissuade people from "valuing democracy." (Josh Rogers for NHPR) #fitn

Pompeo blames Biden for invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin directed Russian troops to invade Ukraine in response to Biden's withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, Pompeo said, calling the president's policies "woke, weak and waffling." Pompeo said he would have become a "former" secretary of state if he had ever publicly contradicted Trump while in office. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #fitn

Nikki Haley to campaign in NH this week. The former SC governor and UN ambassador will support Sununu and Bolduc, the top two Republicans on the ballot. "Haley will team up with Sununu on the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Thursday evening, and she’ll join Bolduc for events on Friday." Haley could be a GOP presidential hopeful in 2024. (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #fitn #nhgov #nhsen

Ted Cruz plans major 2022 campaign swing. "Cruz will travel to 17 states to campaign for GOP candidates this fall, including three states — Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — which are home to early contests on the GOP presidential nominating calendar. ... In New Hampshire, he will campaign for congressional hopeful Karoline Leavitt." Cruz campaigned alongside Leavitt ahead of the GOP primary. (Alex Isenstadt for Politico) #fitn #nh01

Gubernatorial candidates disagree on education funding during forum on disability policy. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and Democratic challenger Dr. Tom Sherman spoke in separate interviews about the state's Education Freedom Accounts and other topics. Sherman said he disagrees with the very idea of using EFAs to send public education funds to private and religious schools. Sununu pushed back. "Do you see schools standing up and saying this program is bankrupting us? ... Nope," Sununu said. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH; see also Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader and WMUR) #nhgov

Sununu's name floated on "The View" as potential presidential candidate. Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence and special assistant to President Donald Trump, recently joined the show as a conservative host. Griffin listed a few people she thinks could run as "credible" Republicans in 2024. "We've got some [candidates] if they're willing to challenge Trump," she said. "I'd love to see Nikki Haley, I'd love to see Liz Cheney. I'd love to see Chris Sununu." (Claire Spellberg Lustig for Primetimer; ABC's "The View") #fitn #nhgov

Challenger concedes Belknap County sheriff race after recount. Mike MacFadzen had requested a recount after initial results showed he lost to incumbent Sheriff Bill Wright by just 152 votes in the GOP primary. "The town we had a concern with was Barnstead. I requested they count that town. They did, the count came in and it was accurate," MacFadzen said. Both MacFadzen and Wright attended the recount at the state archives. (Jon Decker for The Laconia Daily Sun) #voting

NH Secretary of State's Office "looking into" more vote-counting concerns in Windham. "In the end, the final reported results were nearly identical to those reported on election night, with just a couple of votes net difference. So, why the moving-target tally? Town officials struggled to offer a cogent explanation" (Damien Fisher for NHJournal). Note that Windham was one of three sites where an election monitor was appointed to observe the state primary after issues were identified in past elections; the monitor is slated to submit a report to the state within 30 days (Amanda Gokee for NH Bulletin). #voting

Litchfield residents call for resignations over school budget deficit. "Amid calls from residents for the superintendent and board members to resign, Litchfield’s school board voted to withdraw more than $800,000 from two capital reserve funds to cover for a mistaken assumption by the district’s former business administrator." That will exhaust the funds Litchfield has been saving up since 2020 for a new elementary school. (Paul Feely for Union Leader)

Holocaust memorial event switches to virtual-only format due to high demand. The host had expected about 200 audience members for an in-person event at Keene State College but now expects more than 400 after a surge in registrations. Filmmakers Ken Burns and Sarah Botstein will give a lecture on their film, "The U.S. and the Holocaust." The event will now be a Zoom webinar. (Trisha Nail for Keene Sentinel, Event registration)

Lebanon and NH leaders reach tentative deal toward creation of riverfront park. The plan calls for Lebanon to buy 7 acres of state-owned riverfront property for recreational use. A purchase price has not yet been determined. (Patrick Adrian for Valley News)

More headlines:

Monday, Sept. 19, 2022

Don Bolduc on Maggie Hassan's abortion focus: "Get over it." During an interview with WMUR, the GOP nominee railed against the Democratic incumbent for her focus on abortion rights, instead of the economy and inflation. Her views, he said, "are not consistent with the average Granite Stater." A recent poll found that 58% of NH registered voters oppose the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning the constitutional right to abortion. (Adam Sexton for WMUR, poll) #nhsen

More headlines:

  • Court orders hearing on AG, state police fault for withheld evidence in double murder (Damien Fisher for InDepthNH)
  • Records show Keene police’s famed ex-detective caught in lies (Damien Fisher for InDepthNH)
  • Valley News ran an editorial saying the GOP primary election results "strongly suggest that the wing-nut wing of the party is ascendant at the top of the ticket this fall." (Valley News) #nhsen
  • NH AG accuses 2 teens of targeting Black student by carving race-motivated messages inside school bathroom (AP)
  • NH energy leaders share concerns about high energy costs as winter nears (Hannah Cotter for WMUR)
  • New NH billboard: "I'm an atheist and I vote" (Shawne Wickham for Union Leader)

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022

Reverberations from Croydon town meeting felt as November election looms. "Croydon’s now-infamous town meeting was more than six months ago. But the organizing effort to overturn the vote" – i.e., to undo an earlier vote that had cut the school budget in half – "didn't end at the special school district meeting in May, when voters moved to fund schools at the level proposed by school administrators. ... 'We understand this wasn't just a one-time battle,' " said parent Meghan Pike. (Josie Albertson-Grove for Union Leader) #nhleg

Democrats' midterm reality check. "After Democrats' surge in political momentum over the summer, signs indicate the midterm environment is tilting back in the GOP's direction. ... The elevation of weak Senate candidates is the biggest political challenge for Republicans in the home stretch." (Josh Kraushaar for Axios) #nhsen

Swing-state Republicans on defense over Graham’s abortion ban. "Bolduc put distance between himself and Graham’s proposal this week, arguing that the ban 'doesn’t make sense.' 'Women on both sides of the issue will get a better voice at the state level.' " (Julia Manchester for The Hill) #nhsen

New festival celebrates BIPOC businesses, nonprofits, artists across New England. Sunday, Sept. 25, "will mark the debut of New England BIPOC Fest, a New Hampshire event bringing together leading BIPOC chefs, musicians, and nonprofit organizers for a celebration of the region’s communities of color." One of the festival's founders, Portsmouth assistant mayor Joanna “Jo” Kelley. (Joy Ashford for The Boston Globe)

Looking for more? Find events on the Granite Memo calendar.

Aren't Hassan and Pappas abortion ads full of "lies" too? Don Bolduc and Karoline Leavitt "have repeatedly said they support states making abortion laws for themselves and oppose a national abortion law. And yet Hassan and Pappas are both spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads claiming the opposite." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #opinion #nhsen #nh01

More headlines:

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022

Effort to force hand count of ballots slowed primary election results. NH Secretary of State David Scanlan said an organized effort delayed tabulation by hours in some parts of the state. "Groups opposed to voting machines urged people to write in the names of the candidates they support, even when those names were already printed on the ballot. This forced election officials to count those ballots by hand." (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel) #voting

Boston Globe editorial argues no one should be fooled by Bolduc's pivot. "The people who amplified ludicrous claims of election fraud helped create an environment in which the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was possible, and those who continue to undermine confidence in the election afterward risk fomenting future violence. Election denial is a blot on the record of any politician who embraces it — and a red flag about their own personal integrity." (The Boston Globe) #nhsen

NH keeps patients in the dark about doctor malpractice. "Patients and families (in NH) have no reliable way to learn crucial information about a doctor because the state's medical board is one of the least transparent in the nation." Sununu's office said the NH AG will launch a "review of the practices of the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, along with the rules and statutes that govern their activities." This story is a follow-up on a Spotlight team investigation. (The Boston Globe)

More headlines:

Friday, Sept. 16, 2022

Mowers tweet targeting GOP election deniers raises eyebrows. "Granite State Republican activists and campaign insiders interpreted Mowers’ message as a public hit on Leavitt, and they weren’t happy ... Mowers said he was reacting to the broader issue of Republicans nationwide embracing Trump’s unfounded stolen-election rhetoric ..." (Michael Graham for NHJournal, Mowers tweet) #nh01

Poll suggests Democrats leading in all three federal races. For U.S. Senate, Maggie Hassan led Don Bolduc by 11 points (51% to 40%). For NH01, Chris Pappas led Karoline Leavitt by 5 points (47% to 42%). For NH02, Annie Kuster led Bob Burns by 18 points (54% to 36%). Credibility interval ±3.4 points. (Emerson College) #poll #nhsen

Both towns pass ballot-counting audit. The NH Secretary of State's Office released an audit report Friday with results from an audit of AccuVote electronic counting devices from Tuesday's primary in Hopkinton and Laconia's Ward 1. In Hopkinton – where the moderator said a potential discrepancy might exist after at least three ballots became jammed in a machine – the audit team found a three-vote discrepancy among the Democratic ballots and a one-vote discrepancy among the Republican ballots. No discrepancies were found in Laconia's Ward 1. The audit process, outlined in a 2022 law, will be used in the general election. (This process is different from the election monitors who were appointed to keep an eye on the primary election process in Windham, Bedford and Laconia's Ward 6 after ballot-counting problems were identified in recent elections. Those monitors will submit reports to the state within 30 days of the election.) #voting

Recount planned for 10 primaries. The contested primaries include six GOP and four Democratic races. One is for Belknap County sheriff. The other nine are for state rep seats. The recounts will begin in Concord on Monday morning and conclude on Tuesday. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #voting

More headlines:

Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

Lawmakers approve more energy aid amid concerns over high heating costs. The additional funding aims to help middle-class residents who qualify and apply.

  • The aid will come in a one-time $450 credit for fuel and $200 for electricity. The NH Department of Energy website has info on how to apply (Michaela Towfighi for Concord Monitor).
  • "About 50,000 moderate-income households will be eligible for $650 in one-time electricity and heating fuel assistance this winter ... House Deputy Speaker Steven Smith, R-Charlestown, said this money will not be sent to eligible families but instead would go directly to power and energy delivery companies." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader).
  • " 'I'm glad they're doing it,' said Sonya Royal, of Manchester. 'But I feel like it's a Band-Aid after they've stabbed you.' " (Scott Cook for WMUR)
  • "Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said the direness of the emergency necessitated the unprecedented measure." (Paula Tracey for InDepthNH)
  • "The proposal passed by the House and Senate scales back the plan proposed by Gov. Chris Sununu in June to use $60 million in surplus money to give all ratepayers a $100 automatic credit. Instead, lawmakers targeted $35 million to those earning from 60% to 75% of the state’s median income, which is $75,000 to $93,000 per year for a family of four" (Holly Ramer for AP).
  • "While this final legislation looks a little different from what we originally proposed, this is a big win," Sununu said. (Statement) #nhleg #nhgov

All of Sununu's recent vetoes survive override efforts. Lawmakers came to Concord for "Veto day" on Thursday. A majority in the NH House voted to save a bill related to siting landfills near bodies of water, but the NH Senate voted to leave the vetoed bill alone. None of Sununu's vetoes were overridden. (WMUR, Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader, Garry Rayno for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Tie broken by drawing lots. Mike DiGregorio and Mark Hounsell each had 445 votes in the GOP primary for a seat representing Conway in the NH House. They drew lots Thursday at the NH Secretary of State's Office. Luck was on DiGregorio's side. (Daymond Steer for The Conway Daily Sun) #nhleg #voting

Belknap County sheriff primary candidates await official result, while thinking forward. "So far, as the votes are being confirmed, it appears that incumbent and first-term Sheriff Bill Wright was the victor, by a narrow margin of less than 200 votes over Mike MacFadzen, director of Belknap County Restorative Justice" (Jon Decker for The Laconia Daily Sun). Unofficial results posted online by the Secretary of State's Office show Wright winning with 4,942 votes, or 152 more than MacFadzen's 4,790 votes.

Audit underway for ballot counting machines from state primary in Laconia Ward 1 and Hopkinton. The audit is required by law and intends to test the voting system for the general election. Results are to be released by noon Friday. (WMUR) #voting

One complaint pending under NH law that regulates how teachers talk about racism. The NH Commission for Human Rights is reviewing the one and only charge that has been brought since the 2021 law took affect, according to a NH Department of Justice spokesperson, who told Granite Memo on Thursday that the charge was "recently filed" and that the commission treats complaints as confidential. The commission's website outlines the process and relevant statutes and regulations. The existence of the pending complaint was reported earlier Thursday by Sarah Gibson for NHPR in coverage related to a federal lawsuit challenging the new restrictions, which prohibit teaching that a member of one group is "inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously." #education

Group raises concerns over early draft changes to Minimum Standards for Public School Approval. Reaching Higher NH said the changes could lay groundwork for the public education system to be "outsourced and commodified." Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, who has championed school choice policies, said the changes are part of a routine review. The department contracted Fred Bramante and his nonprofit National Center for Competency-Based Learning to steer the revision process. (Eileen O'Grady for Concord Monitor) #education

Long-overdue plan for trash disposal criticized for lacking clear strategies. The 18-page draft from the NH Department of Environmental Services prompted nearly 400 pages of public comment, including from the waste management sector and conservation advocates. A final draft will go to lawmakers Oct. 1. (Frances Mize for Valley News) #nhleg

In sharp pivot, Bolduc suddenly concedes Biden won:

  • Bolduc backtracks on claims 2020 election was stolen. "I have come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive on this, the election was not stolen," Bolduc told "America's Newsroom" hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino. Bolduc previously said Trump won the 2020 election. (Madeline Coggins for Fox News) #nhsen
  • Bolduc abandons false claims of stolen election, days after GOP Senate primary win. "Bolduc has repeatedly – as recently as last month – told voters he believed Donald Trump was the rightful winner of that election." (Josh Rogers for NHPR) #nhsen
  • Right after primary win, Bolduc reverses support for election lies. "Like a driver making a screeching U-turn, Don Bolduc ... pivoted on Thursday from his primary race to the general election, saying he had 'come to the conclusion' that the 2020 presidential election 'was not stolen,' after he had spent more than a year claiming it was. ... Ms. Hassan's campaign responded quickly to Mr. Bolduc’s reversal, sharing a series of videos and quotes of the many times Mr. Bolduc had promoted the lie that the 2020 election was stolen." (Maggie Astor for The New York Times) #nhsen
  • Bolduc abruptly backs off false 2020 election claims. "Hassan's campaign described Bolduc's new public stance as an unconvincing and cynical ploy. ... Hassan's seat represents a top pickup opportunity for Republicans, who are trying to erase Democrats' slim Senate majority this fall." (Gregory Krieg and Dan Merica for CNN) #nhsen
  • Bolduc does 180 on stolen election days after winning primary. "Bolduc isn’t the first Republican to reconsider their stance on the 2020 election after winning their primary. Trump-endorsed Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters scrubbed his campaign website of any mentions of the 2020 election being stolen after he won his primary early last month." (Ryan Bort for Rolling Stone) #nhsen
  • In reversal, Bolduc calls Biden 'legitimate' president. "Independent analysts say his hard-right views could make it difficult to win over independent-minded voters in the politically competitive state ... New Hampshire is one of seven key battlegrounds ... that analysts believe will determine control of the 100-seat Senate." (Andy Sullivan for Reuters) #nhsen

Pence visits NH to support Bolduc. Pence showed his support at an event in Wilton hosted by the Hillsborough Republican Committee. "If there was ever a time for Gen. Don Bolduc in the United States Senate, it's now," Pence said. (Tim Callery for WMUR) #nhsen #fitn

Bolduc hugs Sununu at NH GOP unity breakfast. "It may not have been entirely consensual, but Don Bolduc got his hug from Chris Sununu. ... The two threw down on each other hard during the primary ... But the Senate nominee insisted they were on the same team. ... Boldoc rushed off the stage to a surprised Sununu waiting to speak, threw out his arms, and wrapped him in a rib-squeaking bear hug." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen

  • "The hug by Bolduc appeared to be an attempt to erase a recent history of bad blood between the two men, who now share the top of the GOP ticket on November’s ballot in New Hampshire. (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News)
  • Republicans and Democrats host dueling post-primary "unity"' events (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader)
  • Republicans and Democrats get ready for push to general election (Adam Sexton for WMUR)

Rep seeks bill to hold NH state primary earlier. NH Rep. Joe Sweeney, R-Salem, announced Thursday that he has requested the drafting of a bill that would move the state primary election earlier in the year. This is the third time he has done this. Gov. Chris Sununu, who vetoed previous attempts to move the primary from September to August, said this week that he would be open to moving to a different date, such as the second or third week of June. In a tweet supporting Sweeney's move, the Hillsborough County GOP said the September primary "protects incumbents." (Granite Memo reporting) #nhleg #voting

Restaurants fined for child labor violations, a growing trend. Toscana in Portsmouth and Tuscan Village and Tuscan Market locations in Salem were among four Tuscan Brands businesses that paid a combined $15,737 in civil penalties after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation revealed excessive hours worked by employees 14-15 years old. The DOL also noted numerous child labor violations by 21 McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts franchises throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. (Ian Lenahan for Portsmouth Herald, DOL)

More headlines:

  • Abortion ban legislation adds to political challenge for GOP. Bolduc quickly distanced himself from Sen. Lindsey Graham's bill. (Steve Peoples and Holly Ramer for AP) #nhsen
  • Democrats punt same-sex marriage vote until after election. Democrats need 10 Republican votes to break a filibuster. (Mary Clare Jalonick for AP) #nhsen
  • War of words underway in New Hampshire 1st District race (Jennifer Crompton for WMUR) #nh01
  • Stark contrasts between Hassan, Bolduc in US Senate race (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen
  • Catholic Medical Center in Manchester launches review after Boston Globe investigation raises accusations about former surgeon (Tim Callery for WMUR)

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022

Tie-breaker to decide Conway state rep primary. There was a tie Tuesday in the GOP primary for NH House in Carroll County District 1 (Conway), according to the NH Secretary of State's Office. Voters were to choose three candidates in the race, and two candidates (Michael DiGregorio and Mark Hounsell) tied for third place with 445 votes apiece. A public tie-breaker will be conducted Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the NH Secretary of State's Office to determine whether DiGregorio or Hounsell will advance to the general election. (Press release) #nhleg #voting

New ballot-counting law, write-ins delayed primary results. Local officials attributed later state primary results to "a growing body of state election regulations, and a somewhat higher-than-usual number of write-in candidates on voters' ballots." (Josie Albertson-Grove for Union Leader) #voting

Some in GOP devastated by primary outcome. Ahead of Tuesday's vote, establishment Republicans had expressed concern that electing a hard-right slate of candidates could severely hamper odds of GOP victory in the Nov. 8 general election. As the projected results rolled in, unnamed GOP insiders and strategists said things aren't looking great. "I think we’re all f—ed," one reportedly said. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02

Free Stater and other "extremist" NH reps lose primary races in Belknap County. NH Rep. Mike Sylvia, R-Belmont, was defeated by Travis O’Hara. Voters in Gilford, Gilmanton and Laconia also rejected Republican incumbents NH Reps. Norm Silber, Glen Aldrich and Gregg Hough. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Newcomer Jonah Wheeler of Peterborough unseats Democratic incumbent. Wheeler received more votes than incumbents Ivy Vann and Peter Leishman in the Democratic primary for Hillsborough 33 state rep, so Wheeler and Leishman will advance to the Nov. 8 general election. Vann won't. Wheeler, 19, "would likely be the youngest representative in the state House if he is elected in November." Wheeler and Leishman will face Republicans Rachel Maidment and Matthew Pilcher. (Ashley Saari and Ben Conant for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) #nhleg

Bolduc wins Senate primary, realizing GOP fears. "Mr. Bolduc’s victory will come as a relief to Democrats, who also assume he will be the weaker opponent against Senator Maggie Hassan, a first-term Democrat." (Trip Gabriel for The New York Times) #nhsen

Tuesday was another bad day for Senate Republicans' 2022 chances. "Bolduc now joins the likes of Herschel Walker in Georgia, J.D. Vance in Ohio, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Blake Masters in Arizona as Republican candidates who ran -- and won -- primary campaigns by aligning themselves with the coalition built by former President Donald Trump but who appear to have much work to do when it comes to courting a general election audience." (Chris Cillizza for CNN) #nhsen

Republicans shudder as "extremist" Don Bolduc wins Senate primary. "New Hampshire Republicans have saddled themselves with an exceptionally MAGA-ish Senate candidate in a tough general election ... Before writing off Bolduc, though, it’s worth noting that the electorate is so polarized that other wacky Republican candidates ... are doing as well in some polls as their less extremist counterparts. It may all come down to national trends favoring or disfavoring the GOP." (Ed Kilgore for New York Magazine's Intelligencer) #nhsen

Leavitt claims victory in GOP congressional primary, topping five-person field. "At 25 years old, Leavitt is the minimum age for serving in Congress, She said her youth is a driving force behind her campaign. ... Leavitt painted a dark portrait of American life under President Joe Biden. In her victory speech, she portrayed Pappas, 42, as a Democrat in lock-step with his party." (Todd Bookman for NHPR) #nh01

Leavitt upsets Mowers, winning GOP primary for NH01. "Ms. Leavitt, who adopted Mr. Trump’s brash style and taste for inflammatory statements, was backed by a host of hard-right Republicans in Congress, most notably Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 3 Republican, who has also styled herself in the former president’s image. In her campaign, Ms. Leavitt unequivocally repeated Mr. Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen." (Annie Karni for The New York Times) #nh01

Stefanik-backed candidate wins MAGA world face-off. "House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) endorsed Leavitt’s opponent, former Trump advisor Matt Mowers, and a super PAC aligned with McCarthy spent heavily late in the primary campaign to boost him." Leavitt "courted the MAGA wing of the party." Her endorsers include Rep. Jim Jordan, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, and others. (Jake Lahut for Daily Beast) #nh01

Leavitt projected winner in fierce GOP congressional primary. "The increasingly combustible battle between Leavitt and Mowers became one to the right, with both showcasing their Trump administration experience. However, Mowers did not go as far as Leavitt when it comes to Trump’s 2020 election loss to President Biden. Leavitt is a firm supporter of the former president’s unproven claims that the last election was 'rigged' with 'massive voter fraud' and 'stolen.' Mowers, with more pragmatic language, has said that he continues to have concerns about voting 'irregularities around the country.'" (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #nh01

Mike Pompeo acknowledges he's eyeing the White House. The former U.S. secretary of state told supporters in Chicago on Tuesday night that he’s laying the groundwork for a possible 2024 presidential bid. "We’ve got a team in Iowa, a team in New Hampshire and South Carolina. And that’s not random," he said. Pompeo said avoided badmouthing Trump. "I hope he enjoys retirement," Pompeo said, drawing a laugh from the audience. (Shia Kapos for Politico's Illinois Playbook) #fitn

It's a race for House GOP No. 3 next year — but a lopsided one. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-FL, (who campaigned in Litchfield with Karoline Leavitt, NH01 GOP nominee, the day before the primary) is seen as a long shot for conference chair, but he’s still taking on incumbent chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (for whom Leavitt worked as a spokesperson). "Both Stefanik and Donalds would bring their own liabilities to a post that attracts more attention in the House’s majority party." (Olivia Beavers for Politico)

More headlines:

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

State primary election. Voters are picking which Republicans and Democrats will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot for U.S. Senate, NH01, NH02, governor, Executive Council, NH House and NH Senate. See details from Citizens Count.

Two towns selected for post-election audit. NH Secretary of State David Scanlan's office announced he has selected the AccuVote electronic ballot counting devices in Laconia's Ward 1 and Hopkinton for the post-election audit of the State Primary Election, in accordance with SB 366. Moderators of those two wards were notified Tuesday at noon. This is the first election this procedure will be used.

  • Audit will be conducted Thursday at 4 p.m. at NH Archives and Records Management (9 Ratification Way in Concord).
  • Results of the audit will be released no later than Friday at noon.
  • "The intent of this audit is to test the process of using high speed scanners to be used in the General Election," the secretary's office said.
  • The secretary appointed eight people to conduct the audit: attorney Orville Fitch, NH Sen. James Gray, attorney Christopher Regan, Senior Deputy Secretary of State Patricia Lovejoy, attorney Eric Forcier, attorney Jennifer Coté, Ira Margulies from Clear Ballot and Orion Marchese from Clear Ballot.
  • Two people have been appointed to provide technical assistance: Dan Cloutier and John Penney.

Election hotline receives more than 100 calls. Shortly after 5 p.m., NH DOJ spokesperson Michael Garrity said the Election Law Unit’s Election Day hotline had received more than 100 calls with a variety of questions: about participating in the election, participating in an opposing party’s primary, accurately posting election location and timing information, complaints about electioneering at the polls, and "lots of questions about the ability to request hand count ballots," Garrity said. The hotline, 1-866-868-3703 (1-866-VOTER03), will remain open until 8 p.m., and inquiries and complaints may also be submitted via email at (Granite Memo) #voting

NHPR pushes back against NHJournal story about Senate debates. News director Daniel Barrick tweeted that the story "is in error" and that NHPR has "communicated with every major NH Senate campaign about fall debates." The NHJournal story by Michael Graham had claimed Hassan "was negotiating an agreement with the left-leaning media outlets" NHPR and NH Bulletin "to schedule a debate" in the general election campaign. Graham's story alleged NHPR struck a "deal" with Hassan. Barrick rejected that notion: "The allegation in this piece of any 'deal' with any candidates is patently false," he said. (Barrick tweet, original NHJournal story) #nhsen

Republicans fret over "too Trumpy" NH primary candidate Don Bolduc. "A veteran of 10 tours of Afghanistan, Mr Bolduc has falsely claimed that coronavirus vaccines contain microchips and that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. ... Republican prospects of retaking the Senate have dimmed ... Top party figures are fretting a Bolduc nomination will doom the effort." (Sam Cabral for BBC News) #nhsen

Midterm primaries wrap up with fresh test of GOP’s future. "The GOP is grappling with the possibility of again nominating a candidate who is popular with the party’s base but struggles to broaden support ahead of the November general election." (Will Weissert and Holly Ramer for AP) #nhsen

Monday, Sept. 12, 2022

Critics cry foul after Hassan announces she's RSVP'd for three general election debates. On Friday – days before her GOP opponent would even be nominated – Hassan said she will attend three general election debates: (1) WMUR and the NH Institute of Politics, (2) NHPR, NH PBS and NH Bulletin, and (3) The Mount Washington Valley Economic Council. Writing for NHJournal, Michael Graham said Hassan "was negotiating an agreement with the left-leaning media outlets" NHPR and NH Bulletin "to schedule a debate" in the general campaign. NHPR declined to discuss "its deal with Hassan," Graham wrote. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen

Kevin McCarthy’s allies have swept aside dissenters who might derail his speakership bid next year. "Their final targets are on the ballot here Tuesday" in NH. "The final primaries in New Hampshire have drawn outsize attention and money from Republicans and Democrats hoping to influence who secures the GOP nominations. ... the political environment has shifted. Few Republicans now expect to net the huge number of seats as they projected months ago..." (Ally Mutnick and Olivia Beavers for Politico) #nh01 #nh02

Republican primaries focus on insider vs. outsider battles. "Most candidates in GOP primary contests have worked to show the Republican base just how much they stand against the so-called establishment." (Adam Sexton for WMUR)

Republicans head to primary polls without influence of Trump endorsements. "It's possible that Trump could make a last-minute endorsement, but it would come too late to make its biggest impact. ... The question that will be answered Tuesday is whether the Trump base of the party turns out or if a more traditional state primary GOP base of voters turns out." (Adam Sexton for WMUR)

More insight into the back-and-forth over a possible Trump endorsement in the GOP Senate primary. Trump was thinking about endorsing Chuck Morse, who met with Trump in NJ on Sept. 2 and spoke with him by phone on Thursday. "During their meetings, Mr. Trump complimented Mr. Morse’s fund-raising prowess in the state and his record of public service. ... people close to the former president said Mr. Trump seemed less excited about Mr. Morse’s candidacy compared with other Senate candidates he has backed this year." Then Trump spoke positively of Don Bolduc in a radio interview this month. (Trip Gabriel and Michael C. Bender for The New York Times) #nhsen

Manchester Ink Link issues its first-ever political endorsements. "Unlike the endorsements from most publications, our endorsements are not predicated on policy. ... Still, there is one adage that we believe here at Manchester Ink Link that we think everyone in Manchester can agree with: 'the world is run by those who show up.'" So the publication is endorsing the list of candidates who responded to the publication's voter guide questionnaire. (Andrew Sylvia for Manchester Ink Link) #mht

Windham ballot-folding concerns raised again. In a GraniteGrok post, Ken Eyring wrote that absentee ballots have been folded twice, with creases through the ovals. Damien Fisher reporting for NHJournal: "The same improper folds on absentee ballots in 2020 resulted in anomalous results and new state oversight of the vote." Windham is one of three communities that will have state election monitors on site for Tuesday's primary vote. (Damien Fisher for NHJournal) #voting

More headlines:

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022

Skepticism about the 2020 presidential election is spilling into 2022. NH Secretary of State David Scanlan created a special committee on voter confidence. “People need to be heard, and we’ve got to do an even better job explaining how well elections are run in cities and towns across New Hampshire,” Scanlan said. The committee will put together a report, as different groups offer vastly different ideas on how to move forward. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #voting

In an op-ed, Sununu reiterated his Senate endorsement. "The Republican candidate who Maggie Hassan is most afraid to face in this election is small-business owner and Senate President Chuck Morse. He’s fought alongside me in Concord to cut taxes, rebuild our mental health system, invest in transformative clean water projects, and expand educational opportunities for our kids." (Union Leader) #nhsen

Trio of major opponents insist Sununu "overstepped his authority." Julian Acciard, a 34-year-old Marine veteran; Thad Riley, a 50-year-old small business owner from Brentwood; and Karen Testerman, a conservative from Franklin each cited Sununu's actions during the COVID-19 pandemic. They're running against him in the GOP primary. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhgov

Education Freedom Account program needs more honesty. "The program has grown from 1,572 students last school year, to 3,025 this school year ... The additional students brings the state’s tax dollar obligation to $14.7 million this school year ... For many the program is a Godsend, but advocates need to be honest about what is really going on and most of that is using state tax dollars to pay for private and religious schools, and homeschool programs, not children leaving public schools to find a more fitting education environment." (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH)

Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022

Protesters call out Seacoast landlords as rents surge. “We are banding together to help our neighbors facing this because they deserve to afford to live here,” said NH Rep. Ellen Read of Newmarket. Two bills related to rent increases stalled this year in the NH legislature. (Megan Fernandes for Foster's Daily Democrat)

On Tuesday, there's winning and then there's winning. Dover city councilor Fergus Cullen, a former executive director of the Republican State Committee, said, "Candidates have to not only win elections, they have to beat expectations." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader)

More headlines:

Friday, Sept. 9, 2022

NH Secretary of State David Scanlan predicts state primary voter turnout. Scanlan said he expects 149,000 voters in the Republican primary and 121,000 voters in the Democratic primary. That would equal about 31% of the state's 869,863 registered voters. As of Aug. 30, the state had 263,934 registered Republicans, 273,921 registered Democrats, and 332,008 independents (who can vote in either party's primary). #voting

State could spur new mental health hospital development with up to $15 million in federal funds. "The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved funding for the new proposal Friday. It will also require Executive Council sign-off" (Paul Cuno-Booth for NHPR). "The money would be used for both construction of the building and for a contract guaranteeing care over time" (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH). #nhleg #nhgov

Conservative group attacks Sununu with ad campaign ahead of GOP gubernatorial primary. Cornerstone Action sent a mailer accusing the governor of lying about an abortion-related policy. "At issue is a promise Sununu made during his first bid for governor (to) support repealing the state's 'buffer zone' law restricting protests around abortion clinics." There's also a digital video ad. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhgov

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board bashes Democrats for their ad buy in the NH GOP primary for Senate. "Democrats are again running TV ads to help a Trumpy Republican candidate for Senate. President Biden is warning that ultra-MAGA Republicans threaten American democracy. Why won’t he tell his party to quit elevating them?" (Wall Street Journal) #nhsen

Looks like Trump is sitting out his last chance for big NH endorsements. The former president "could tip the scales" in the GOP primaries for NH01 and U.S. Senate. Corey Lewandowski "could be the reason why Trump never got involved in the (Senate) contest" this year, or Trump could have a different reason. In NH01, it appears to be down to Mowers and Leavitt. "Who is the true Trump favorite? No one knows." (James Pindell for The Boston Globe) #nhsen #nh01

John H. Sununu endorses Chuck Morse in GOP primary for Senate. In a statement, the former NH governor and White House chief of staff called Morse "a man of integrity, a principled conservative, and a public servant true to the spirit of New Hampshire." Morse said John H. Sununu "was one of the first to encourage me to get involved in New Hampshire politics." (Granite Memo) #nhsen

Post-debate survey finds frontrunners fade while Vikram Mansharamani and Kevin Smith bounce. Working for NHJournal, the data firm co/efficient conducted a real-time survey of likely GOP primary voters during WMUR's debate in which the five top Republicans running for U.S. Senate participated. "While the survey is not a poll, it is an interesting glimpse ..." (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nhsen

More headlines:

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022

A celebrated NH surgeon, Dr. Yvon Baribeau, set a record for malpractice settlements. "Hospital executives were well aware for years how dangerous he had become. They knew because they had been repeatedly warned by surgeons and other medical professionals at Catholic Medical Center (in Manchester) that Baribeau’s errors were harming, even killing, patients. ... And yet for years hospital management resisted reining in one of their leading rainmakers." (Boston Globe Spotlight Team)

"Pop-up" super PAC launches new attack ad targeting Don Bolduc. White Mountain PAC "reported spending about $14,000 on media production, a fraction of the $4.6 million it dropped Friday on media production and placement supporting state Senate President Chuck Morse." The PAC filed a statement of organization on Aug. 30, which means it won't have to disclose its donors until after the Sept. 13 primary. "Altogether, outside groups have poured about $11.2 million into the Senate primary race." (Taylor Giorno for OpenSecrets) #nhsen

One candidate in GOP primary for NH02 signals support for federal law to tighten abortion restrictions. During a televised debate, Bob Burns said he would ban abortions once there is a fetal heartbeat. He rejected the idea that this question should be left up to each state to decide. George Hansel said he is "pro-choice" but opposes "late-term abortions," with some exceptions. He said his views align fairly closely with the NH law. Lily Tang Williams said she opposes abortion but believes the matter is best left for states to decide. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nh02

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, R-NH, endorses Karoline Leavitt for Congress. In a statement, Smith praised Leavitt's "hard-charging, grassroots campaign" and said she is "the only true grassroots conservative in the race for Congress." (Granite Memo) #nh01

In an op-ed, Ian Underwood argues that what happened with Croydon's school budget has been mischaracterized. "It wasn’t an effort by Free Staters. It was a proposal by one resident, who has an extensive record of writing about the need to simultaneously improve the quality and reduce the cost of education in New Hampshire." (InDepthNH)

Two GOP candidates running for Cheshire County sheriff. "Richard Pratt Jr., 55, of Winchester, who retired as Nelson’s police chief last December, is competing in Tuesday’s primary against Jeffrey Selander, 62, who served as a police officer in Meriden, Conn., before moving to New Hampshire in 2016." The two candidates outlined their qualifications and plans in separate interviews. (Ryan Spencer for Keene Sentinel)

Shaheen pressed USPS about preventing mail schemes. Residents of Peterborough and Goffstown have been victimized by cons that involve mail forwarding. Shaheen sent a letter to the postmaster general saying the two NH cases reported to her office "raise concerns about the security of these procedures and the agency’s ability to confirm the identity of those making mail-forwarding requests." (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel) #nhsen

Colby-Sawyer College to slash tuition by 62% for 2023. The reduction "brings the listed price more in line with what students are already paying ... (since) 100% of current students at the New London college receive financial aid." The aim is to improve price transparency. (Nora Doyle-Burr for Valley News)

More headlines:

As Sununu endorses Morse for U.S. Senate, analysts ask: Will it matter?
Long awaited, the announcement was seen by many as an inevitability.

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

No school in Concord on primary election day. Citing general safety concerns, the Concord School Board voted 7-0 on Tuesday to cancel classes districtwide for Sept. 13, when voters will cast ballots at three elementary schools. Having outsiders in school buildings while classes are in session raises risks, the superintendent said. The district already has a professional development day scheduled for Nov. 8, so no classes will be held the day of the general election. (Eileen O'Grady for Concord Monitor) #voting

Voter confidence committee hears expert testimony on what drives mistrust. During the committee's final public meeting, experts from Dartmouth and MIT described factors that can affect voter perceptions and suggested some tweaks, even as most NH voters trust the state's election processes. Now the committee will write a report on how to boost confidence. (Paul Cuno-Booth for NHPR) #voting

Historic meeting atop Mount Washington. For the first time in state history, the governor and Executive Council met Wednesday at the summit and voted to approve several contracts (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH). The council approved "two-year no-interest loans to give 300 businesses more time to pay back $12.4 million in grants for COVID-19 relief to the federal government" (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader). #nhgov

Manchester residents air safety concerns after stabbing death on walking trail. A homeless person was arrested on a second-degree murder charge. Victoria Sullivan, who ran against Mayor Joyce Craig in the past two elections, was among the residents who spoke Tuesday at City Hall. "You are acting like you are the Mayor of Mayberry while you are actually on your way to being the mayor of little Chicago," Sullivan said. In response to the public's comments, Craig said safety is city leadership's top priority. In tweets, Craig said the suspect had been arrested for violent crimes twice over the summer and released. She said bail policy reforms are part of what's needed. (Paul Feely for Union Leader) #mht

  • In an opinion piece, organizer Brandon Lemay said Sullivan's comments "were downright malicious to the homeless." (Manchester Ink Link)
  • Schonna Green resigned Wednesday after 18 months as Manchester's Director of Homeless Initiatives. An alderman said the city should not have treated tackling homelessness as a one-person job. (Carol Robidoux for Manchester Ink Link)

Granite State Debates host GOP contenders in NH02 race. Over the course of the debate moderated by WMUR's Adam Sexton, the candidates – Bob Burns, George Hansel and Lily Tang Williams – commented on abortion restrictions, foreign policy, immigration, inflation, the search at Mar-a-Lago, a factual dispute over whether Keene is a "sanctuary city," and more. (WMUR) #nh02

Three GOP rivals gang up on Matt Mowers in WMUR debate. "While Mowers came under assault for having voted in two states for president in 2016 (primaries) and for declining to take a position on federal legislation restricting abortion, none of the shots appeared to deliver a knockout punch." (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nh01

Candidates in GOP primary for NH01 share core beliefs, but differ in tone and experience. "With the candidates largely in agreement the race could boil down to how voters view their character, tone, and temperament, as well as age and experience." (Todd Bookman for NHPR) #nh01

Analysts say Chuck Morse primary win could make general election more competitive. "If Republicans nominate Bolduc (for U.S. Senate), we’d be inclined to keep our Leans Democratic rating as-is. We can, however, more easily see the race becoming a Toss-up if Morse is nominated." Both NH01 ("Toss-up") and NH02 ("Leans Democratic) are expected to be competitive in the general election, though these ratings may change. (Sabato's Crystal Ball) #nhsen #nh01 #nh02

Republicans look to avert a complicating NH primary result. The possibility that Don Bolduc could win the GOP primary "has set off a frantic burst of spending from Republican groups looking to boost Chuck Morse." Even people close to Bolduc "describe as a 'loose cannon' without much of a political organization or fundraising ability. He had raised less than $600,000 by August 24, compared to Hassan's $31.4 million." (Dan Merica for CNN) #nhsen

Kevin Smith has backing from former Gov. Craig Benson. "We need to send someone to Washington who is different and has a history of putting America first. That Republican candidate is Kevin Smith," Benson wrote in a guest column. (Seacoastonline) #nhsen

Rochester shuts down discussion of banning four LGBTQ+ books. About 20 community members showed up to oppose the effort undertaken by City Councilor Jim Gray, who is also a NH senator. The council voted 12-1 to remove Gray's request from the agenda. Gray said his views had been misrepresented by the media. (Karen Dandurant for #nhleg

Latino candidates for state and local offices explain proposals for their community. Allisandra Murray, Dr. Trinidad Tellez, Rep. Maria Perez, Jason Bonilla and Carlos Gonzales were quoted in this story. (Gabriela Lozada for NHPR) #nhleg

Enfield town officials are mulling a proposal for a new public beach on Lake Mascoma. The $50,000 project would involve about 1.5 acres of grassy lakefront land and would create a public swimming spot. The idea is to replace Shakoma Beach. (Liz Sauchelli for Valley News)

Investigation and documentary to feature what Michael Flynn has been up to. "The retired lieutenant general, former national security adviser, onetime anti-terrorism fighter, is now focused on his next task: building a movement centered on Christian nationalist ideas, where Christianity is at the center of American life and institutions." This AP/"Frontline" investigation includes a documentary set to premiere Oct. 18 (Michelle R. Smith for AP). (Flynn campaigned for Don Bolduc in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate last October, then Bolduc's campaign paid Flynn's company a $5,209 "event speaking fee," as Roger Sollenberger reported for Daily Best in February.)

A new framework approved Tuesday by NH lawmakers "will allow the state to begin settling claims in January with hundreds of people sexually and physically abused while at the state’s former Youth Development Center." (Annmarie Timmons for NHBulletin) #nhleg

More headlines:

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

PACs seen as a sign of increased engagement in local elections. "In Belknap County, two political action committees — one local, the other from out of state — spent significant dollars in this year’s state Republican primary election. Citizens for Belknap was a ubiquitous presence on the trail, with signs sprinkled across the county, while nationwide Make Liberty Win, focused on backing limited-government, 'pro-liberty' candidates." (Jon Decker for Laconia Daily Sun)

Trump calls Sununu, chats about U.S. Senate race. An aide to the governor confirmed that the former president initiated the chat, "and the Senate race came up as part of a larger" conversation. Sununu encouraged Trump to look closely at the contest. The big question is whether Trump might endorse Don Bolduc or Chuck Morse in the GOP primary. Sununu, who is believed to support Morse, has spoken negatively of Bolduc. Trump has spoken positively of Bolduc but said he's "'looking strongly' at whether to make an endorsement." (Kevin Landrigan for the Union Leader) #nhsen

Granite State Debates host GOP contenders in NH01 race. Over the course of the debate moderated by WMUR's Adam Sexton, the candidates – Matt Mowers, Karoline Leavitt, Gail Huff Brown, Tim Baxter and Russell Prescott – commented on rising energy prices, oversight of nuclear facilities, high housing costs, abortion restrictions, election confidence, whether they would impeach President Joe Biden, border policies and illegal drugs, COVID-19 booster shots, the idea that democracy itself is under threat, and more. See also post-debate reactions from the candidates. (WMUR) #nh01

Live Free or Die debates host GOP contenders in NH02 race. Over the course of the debate moderated by NH Today's Chris Ryan, the candidates – Bob Burns, George Hansel and Lily Tang Williams – answered questions about inflation, student loan forgiveness, drug price negotiation, strengthening Medicare, energy efficiency, whether the 2020 election was "compromised" and what fixes are needed, pathways to citizenship, marijuana legalization and more. All three said they would favor removing cannabis from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. (Granite Memo) #nh02

Committee OKs revised guidelines for Youth Development Center settlement awards. The victims' lawyer says it's not fair. "The state abused these folks as kids," attorney David A. Vicinanzo said. "Now it’s abusing them again by playing political spin games, pretending this is a victim-friendly process while ignoring and disrespecting the actual child victims." (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH)

State floating another behavioral health services proposal. After a proposal to help Portsmouth Regional Help build a new facility in Epping was withdrawn earlier this year, the NH Department of Health and Human Services will propose to spend the same sum in federal pandemic aid to help instead with a new facility for SolutionHealth, an integrated system founded by Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Health System. The latest proposal does not indicate where the facility would be located. (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH)

Juul settlement to yield $8.5 million in proceeds to NH. "The company recklessly targeted our children with deceptive and targeted marketing practices, created a public health crisis, and irresponsibly put profits over the health of our young people," said AG John Formella. (NH AG press release)

Monday, Sept. 5, 2022

Gail Huff Brown campaigning on "choice" when it comes to abortion. The GOP candidate for NH01 told NHJournal that she supports the NH abortion law, which bans abortion after 24 weeks, and "will never support any public funding for abortion or for contraception." But she released a 30-second "Life Choices" ad that recounts how she decided not to terminate her pregnancy at 20 weeks despite a risk to her own life. Some GOP strategists see her emphasis on "choice" as a smart move. At least one anti-abortion group called her strategy a mistake. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nh01

Daily Beast article calls NH01 race "new ground zero in the MAGA civil wars." House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is backing Matt Mowers. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, is backing Karoline Leavitt, her former press secretary. "The endorsements in the primary ... have largely fallen along similar lines to other MAGA proxy fights, but the demographics of the district and the involvement of House leadership give this power struggle its own flavor." (Jake Lahut for Daily Beast) #nh01

Three vying for the NH Senate seat Chuck Morse is vacating. Tw0 GOP candidates – Daryl Abbas of Salem and Peter E. Torosian of Atkinson – and one Democrat, Wayne Haubner of Salem, are running for NH Senate District 22. Abbas and Torosian are currently state reps. Torosian has sponsored legislation for NH to secede from the United States. Haubner is a tech exec and Digital Federal Credit Union board member. (Angelina Berube for The Eagle-Tribune) #nhleg

Editorial warns that Republicans "court disaster." The party's rightward shift, as exemplified by Don Bolduc's lead, is concerning, this editorial argues. (Conway Daily Sun) #nhsen

A poll finds that nearly 80% of likely voters say NH elections are free of fraud. "The Union Leader obtained a copy of the poll as the Special Committee on Voter Confidence was preparing to hold the final scheduled public listening session Tuesday at the Keene Public Library." (Kevin Landrigan for the Union Leader)

How the EPA's new proposed rule for PFAS chemicals could help with NH cleanup efforts. "The EPA is proposing a hazardous substance designation for PFOA and PFOS under its 'Superfund' program." The head of the NH Department of Environmental Services waste management division said the designation would help efforts at sites that are already listed as federal priorities, such as the former Pease Air Force Base and the Coakley Landfill. It could also give the state more leverage with polluters at other sites. (Mara Hoplamazian for NHPR)

Ten candidates are running in the GOP primary for NH01. This overview covers all 10, not just the five who are appearing on debate stages. (Catherine McLaughlin for The Laconia Daily Sun) #nh01

Sununu responds to Rolling Stone calling him "a hardcore libertarian." Speaking with Drew Cline for WFEA, Sununu said, "I think on a national level, yeah, obviously I'm very much lowercase-L 'libertarian.' The capital-L Libertarian Party has gone off the rails here in New Hampshire. Nationally, they're OK. But here in New Hampshire, they've kind of gone off the rails with a little bit of crazy." Sununu said he's for limited government, local control and low taxes, so that's something liberal publications would understandably see as libertarian in a national context. "My job is to support business and get out of their way as best we can," he said. Sununu also talked about why NH National Guard members are headed to the Mexico border. (Drew Cline for WFEA) #nhgov

Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022

Campaigning for 2024 presidential nomination "already on"? Not until after the November election will the race for the 2024 presidential nomination really get underway, but early visits by Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Ted Cruz and other GOP hopefuls have been happening since early 2021. "I think the race is already on," said NH Institute of Politics executive director Neil Levesque. (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #fitn

Outside money trying to influence NH federal elections. "Retail politics is still practiced with a passion in the Granite State, but it pales in effectiveness to the millions of dollars poured into our purple state to influence outcomes." (Garry Rayno for InDepthNH) #nhsen #nh01 #nh01

Dems are playing to older voters nationwide. They are highlighting their work on prescription drug costs and criticizing Republicans over suggests Social Security changes. "A quick glance at the Senate map shows how decisive older voters could be. Of the eight states at the center of the battle for the chamber, which is split 50-50, five are among the 20 oldest states in the country: New Hampshire is 2nd, Florida is 5th, Pennsylvania is 7th and Ohio and Wisconsin are in the teens." Plus, Nevada and Arizona are "havens for retirees." (Kevin Robillard for HuffPost) #nhsen

Don Bolduc says he's not sure why GOP establishment doesn't back him. In a WMUR CloseUp interview, the frontrunner in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate shrugged off criticism from Sununu and national Republicans, arguing that his "outsider" campaign is working. When given the opportunity to distance himself from Michael Flynn – a Trump ally who pleaded the 5th Amendment rather than saying whether he supports the peaceful transition of power – Bolduc didn't take the chance: "I am for a peaceful process. ... General Flynn and I served in combat together, and I consider him an admirable man. He's entitled to his comments." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Chuck Morse argues the FBI search and seizure of classified documents at Trump's Mar-a-Lago property is a symptom of politicization. In a WMUR CloseUp interview, Adam Sexton pressed him on the core question: "Should former President Trump have given the documents back when the government asked for them?" Morse replied: "I'm sure there's legal things in here where President Trump should be working with the FBI to give documents, but let's be honest, Adam, what happened that day was politicizing the process, and I don't believe in that." Morse said calls to dismantle the FBI go too far. What's needed is an investigation of FBI leadership, he said. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Union Leader sees reasons to pick Gail Huff Brown for NH01. With an editorial, the paper called her "a serious, level-headed woman who uses her knowledge of the issues rather than brashness to convince voters." The editorial contrasted her with GOP competitors Matt Mowers ("a modern man on the political make") and Karoline Leavitt ("barely legally old enough to serve"). "We don’t think Chris Pappas and the Democrats want to face Gail Huff Brown this November." (Union Leader) #nh01

📺 Interviews on WMUR's CloseUp

All five major GOP candidates for U.S. Senate have been featured in WMUR CloseUp interviews this summer. The winner will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. #nhsen

All five major GOP candidates for NH01 have been featured in WMUR CloseUp interviews this summer. The winner will take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas. #nh01

All three major GOP candidates for NH02 have been featured in WMUR CloseUp interviews this summer. The winner will take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster. #nh02

Major candidates for NH governor have been featured in WMUR CloseUp interviews this summer. They are competing with incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu. #nhgov

Sununu was interviewed for CloseUp back in January and in May.

Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022

Free Staters "seek to undo" NH government "from within." "More than 6,000 people have relocated to New Hampshire since the effort was launched 21 years ago, according to its organizers. And while some dispute that claim, legislators on both sides of the aisle in Concord agree that Free Staters have come to wield outsize political influence." (Brian MacQuarrie for The Boston Globe)

Sen. Ted Cruz to stump for Karoline Leavitt. The conservative Republican from Texas will attend a get-out-the-vote rally Thursday, Sept. 8, at American Legion Post 27 in Londonderry. Cruz endorsed Leavitt in October, calling her "a fighter who shares our core values." In a statement, Leavitt called Cruz "one of the greatest champions of the Constitution and our God-given freedoms on Capitol Hill." Leavitt is competing with Matt Mowers and others in the GOP primary for a chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas in November. (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News)

Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

Republicans and Democrats flood NH airwaves with ads about Chuck Morse. "National Democrats on Friday began a $3.1 million television advertising blitz aimed at influencing the opposing party’s contest, one day after national Republicans launched their own $4.5 million spree of ads. By the Sept. 13 primary, outside groups will have spent far more than all of the candidates combined." Establishment GOP groups figure frontrunner Don Bolduc would be weak in the general election. So too do Democrats. (Trip Gabriel for The New York Times) #nhsen

This ad spend by national Dems fits a pattern of meddling. "While the Democratic spot is not an outright boost of a pro-Trump candidate in a Republican primary, it does fit into a broader pattern of Democratic ads affecting GOP nominating contests this primary season. Democratic groups in other states ... have spent tens of millions of dollars boosting less-electable Republicans in primaries this year, often by tying them to former President Donald Trump." But the Senate Majority PAC's ad doesn't mention Don Bolduc, just Chuck Morse – "and on terms that could work in the general election, too." (Joseph Gedeon for Politico) #nhsen

Jay Nordlinger criticizes Dems for GOP primary ads. "Democrats have been warning about MAGA and the threat it poses to democracy. ... If you don’t like something — if you don’t want something — don’t pay for it. Don’t fund it. Don’t invite it," he wrote. (National Review)

How the establishment GOP aims to beat Sen. Maggie Hassan. From a national perspective, Hassan is considered "one of the more vulnerable Democrats in the November general election." But some Republicans have warned that nominating Don Bolduc could weaken the GOP's odds. While a PAC created by a former National Republican Senatorial Committee staffer spends more than $4 million to boost Chuck Morse's candidacy in the GOP primary, "a PAC aligned with McConnell, the Senate Leadership Fund, announced Friday it had purchased $23 million in advertising aimed at Hassan that will start airing Sept. 13, the day of the primary." This is the McConnell-affiliated fund's first investment in NH. (Azi Paybarah for The Washington Post) #nhsen

Republican-aligned super PAC plans $23 million ad buy to win against Maggie Hassan. Republicans view the incumbent Democrat as vulnerable. "And the move by the Senate Leadership Fund ... is another sign that Republicans still believe Hassan is beatable in November, even without a topflight GOP nominee." (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #nhsen

Chuck Morse changes his mind on federal abortion restrictions. "In January, he told News 9 he would support a version of New Hampshire's 24-week abortion ban in the U.S. Senate. Now, he considers abortion to be a state issue." (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nhsen

Don Bolduc and Chuck Morse respond to President Joe Biden's "MAGA Republicans" speech. Biden warned of "an extremism" within the GOP "that threatens the very foundations of our republic." Most Republicans aren't "MAGA Republicans," he said. "But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country." Bolduc said Biden was "yelling at the clouds while he insults half of our country." Morse said, "Count me as one of the 'MAGA Republicans' Joe Biden has decided to insult last night." (Bolduc tweet, Morse tweet) #nhsen

Don Bolduc chastises incumbents over their COVID-19 leadership. In a Washington Times op-ed calling Labor Day "the official kick-off of the political campaign season," Bolduc said "many of these same politicians who aided and abetted our government’s misguided approach to COVID-19 are asking for a fresh term in Washington. They are hoping for those early days of the pandemic to be a distant memory come November." (The Washington Times) #nhsen

Don Bolduc sat for an interview with NHPR's Rick Ganley. Bolduc is aiming to win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate so he can take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan in November. Ganley asked Bolduc about election security misinformation, inflation, abortion restrictions, climate change, immigration and border enforcement. "I'm a hell no on new spending. It's out of control. We've got to reverse our energy policies. They created the inflation," Bolduc said. NHPR included a lengthy editor's note after Bolduc's response regarding election security. (NHPR interview, NHPR series overview) #nhsen

Ads to boost Vikram Mansharamani and Kevin Smith. While super PACs drop millions on frontrunner Don Bolduc and contender Chuck Morse, smaller ad buys from two more outside groups will boost other major candidates in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Granite State Leadership Fund, which spent $353,000, will tout Mansharamani. Stand for New Hampshire, which is backing Smith, spent $84,000 on TV ads. (Bridget Bowman and Ben Kamisar for NBC News) #nhsen

Contenders for GOP primary in NH01 trade barbs. A super PAC backing Matt Morse released an ad calling Karoline Leavitt a "woke Gen Z’er." With her own ad, Leavitt called Mowers "another swamp doormat." (Bridget Bowman and Ben Kamisar for NBC News) #nh01

Democrats push abortion rights to center of campaign. "In separate appearances in Concord and Manchester this week, Democrats Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas, both of whom are facing tight re-election battles this fall, said electing Democrats is the way to ensure that abortion rights and access to health care including contraception, STD and cancer screenings, aren’t further eroded." (Josh Rogers for NHPR) #nhsen #nh01

The NH AG's Office is investigating four anonymous political mailers sent to voters in the NH02 district. The mailers, which do not identify the person or entity responsible for the advertising, were produced by Reynolds DeWalt, a printing company based in Massachusetts and affiliated with Democrats. Neither the printer nor its lawyers at Elias Law Group have said who is behind the mailers. The mailers promoted Bob Burns and cast doubt on George Hansel, who are running in the GOP primary for a chance to challenge Democratic incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster. (Josh Rogers for NHPR, NH AG statement, Rick Green for Keene Sentinel, Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nh02

Biden's student debt cancelation order unpopular among Republicans and most NH independents. In a Granite State Poll conducted Aug. 25-29 by the UNH Survey Center, an overwhelming 86% of Democrats in NH supported the student debt cancelation, while 88% of Republicans and 59% of independents in NH opposed it (±2.2%). (Granite State Poll)

Groups object to NH solid waste plan. "Working on Waste, a citizens’ initiative focusing on safe alternatives to incinerators and landfills, has added its voice to groups who say the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ draft solid waste plan is not aggressive enough in embracing change." (Thomas P. Caldwell for InDepthNH)

Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

Libertarian candidates for NH governor and U.S. Senate qualify for November ballot. Karlyn Borysenko, who is running for governor, and Jeremy Kauffman, who is running for Senate, filed their ballot access petitions Thursday. Officials deemed their petitions complete and valid, so both will appear as third-party candidates in the general election. When asked whether he expects to win, Kauffman told Granite Memo that will be a challenge, since "so many wealthy, out-of-state donors are supporting the establishment candidates." Even so, Kauffman said he'll use conventional and unconventional strategies to keep getting people's attention. "I hope my campaign will encourage more New Hampshire residents to embrace liberty, encourage more libertarians to embrace New Hampshire, and force the anti-liberty Republicans and Democrats to embrace liberty positions even when they don't want to," he said. Third-party candidate filings are due Sept. 7. (SOS Declarations of Intent) #nhsen #nhgov

Chuck Morse endorsed by Hillsboro weekly newspaper. The Messenger, a Granite Quill publication run by publisher Leigh Bosse and editor Joyce Bosse, argued Morse is the candidate in the GOP primary best prepared to win against Maggie Hassan in the general election. "We know that Morse can beat Hassan because he's done it already," the editorial states. "When Hassan was Governor, she opposed every attempt to cut the state's punishingly high business taxes, even vetoing a balanced budget because it cut business tax rates. But Morse held Republicans together, pushed the Legislature to override Hassan's veto, and started a series of tax reforms that have made New Hampshire's economy the strongest in the Northeast." (The Messenger) #nhsen

Free Stater steps down as Belknap County delegation chair. During a contentious meeting Thursday, NH Rep. Mike Sylvia, R-Belmont, claimed an Aug. 1 emergency meeting related to the Gunstock Area Commission was illegal. Sylvia, who is running for reelection, moved to another seat at the table and didn't resign from the legislature. Also during the meeting, NH Rep. Barbara Comtois, R-Center Barnstead, stepped down as secretary of the delegation, and NH Rep. Dawn Johnson, R-Laconia, stormed out of the meeting. (Paula Tracy for InDepthNH) #nhleg

Bruce Fenton sat for an interview with NHPR's Rick Ganley. Fenton is aiming to win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate so he can take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan in November. Ganley asked Fenton about election security misinformation, inflation, abortion restrictions, climate change, immigration and border enforcement. "I am a leave-me-aloneist, and I'm consistent across all issues on that," Fenton said. "I want the government out of our lives and out of our wallets. And I don't want any new abortion regulations of any kind or any ban." (NHPR interview, NHPR series overview) #nhsen

Leaders to discuss potential removal of four LGBTQ books from Rochester Public Library. Republican NH Sen. Jim Gray, who is also a city councilor, is targeting the books after he received an email from a parent. Library trustees, not the City Council, control the books offered in the library. The topic is slated for discussion at the Sept. 6 council meeting. (Karen Dandurant for Foster's Daily Democrat)

Jon Decker interviews some from the "horde of Republicans" running for U.S. Senate, including lesser-known candidates. (Laconia Daily Sun)

Why Pete Buttigieg was in NH and how he's handling speculation about his presidential ambitions. "Buttigieg’s infrastructure sales pitch is both enhanced and hampered by his own political celebrity, particularly in New Hampshire — an early voting state where he finished second behind Sen. Bernie Sanders, and where he recently essentially tied Biden in a wildly hypothetical poll of a 2024 contested primary." (Adam Wren for Politico)

August 2022

Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022

Super PAC spending millions to back Chuck Morse in campaign's final weeks. White Mountain PAC bought at least $3.5 million in TV ad time for the home stretch of the GOP primary for U.S. Senate. Two people told Politico the spending will back Morse, who is trailing Don Bolduc. The ad focuses on immigration and finishing the southern border wall. Bolduc spokesperson James Thompson said the ad buy will "backfire with grassroots voters" who like Bolduc's "outsider" status and "fresh perspective." (Natalie Allison for Politico, Bridget Bowman and Ben Kamisar for NBC, Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader) #nhsen

Lawsuit challenges use of electronic voting machines. Daniel Richard of Auburn sued to assert that NH leaders have no authority to use electronic ballot-counting machines at polling places. A judge in Rockingham County Superior Court agreed to hear arguments Sept. 9, just four days before the Sept. 13 primary. (Kevin Landrigan for Union Leader)

Hassan castigates GOP candidates over abortion rights. During an event at Equality Health Center in Concord, the incumbent Democrat condemned the anti-abortion views of Chuck Morse, Don Bolduc and Kevin Smith. The major GOP candidates "have been competing to see who can be the most anti-choice," she said. Hassan didn't mention candidates Bruce Fenton or Vikram Mansharamani. Meanwhile, Pappas and Kuster spoke about abortion rights at their own events in Manchester. (Kevin Landrigan for the Union Leader) #nhsen

Vikram Mansharamani sat for an interview with NHPR's Rick Ganley. Mansharamani is aiming to win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate so he can take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan in November. Ganley asked Mansharamani about election security misinformation, inflation, abortion restrictions, climate change, immigration and border enforcement. "I do believe we cannot have a democracy where 50% or so of the population doesn't believe in the integrity of the process. That means we do need to strengthen our institutions," Mansharamani said. Interviews with four other GOP candidates are airing this week. (NHPR interview, NHPR series overview) #nhsen

NH Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut speaks with NHPR about the meaning of "an adequate education" and the state's "divisive concepts" law. Edelblut said he defers to the legislature to define education adequacy. (He had testified this year in support of focusing the definition of "adequate" on core subjects, but the definition was expanded after advocacy from teachers.) When asked about the state's 2021 "divisive concepts" law, Edelblut said the restrictions are "anti-discrimination provisions ... because we really want to make sure that none of our students, none of our educators are discriminated against in any way, shape or form." (Julia Furukawa for NHPR)

The GOP primary for NH Senate District 16 typifies an intraparty divide. NH Rep. Barbara Griffin, a traditional Republican, is running against NH Rep. Michael Yakubovich, a Liberty Republican with ties to the Free State Project. "While supporters of the candidates battle over who is a 'real Republican,' some insiders expect Griffin to do well in her hometown of Goffstown and for Yakubovich to hold down his home base in Hooksett with a split in Manchester Ward 1. That means whoever can reach and win over conservatives in Candia and Raymond could be on their way to the state Senate," Adam Sexton reported for WMUR. Meanwhile, June Trisciani, a Manchester at-large alderman and rising star among NH Dems, will run in Senate District 16 as a write-in candidate, Kevin Landrigan reported for the Union Leader. (WMUR, Union Leader) #nhleg

An article featured in the 2022 Freshman special edition of The Dartmouth gives new college students an overview of NH politics. The piece includes quotes from history professor Annelise Orleck, government professor and NH Rep. Russell Muirhead, NH Rep. Mary Hakken-Phillips, NH Sen. Sue Prentiss, NH Rep. Sharon Nordgren and Dartmouth Dems president Gabi Rodriguez. (Taylor Haber for The Dartmouth)

Register of probate: A little-known position becomes a political challenge "The two candidates vying Sept. 13 to be the Republican candidate for Belknap County Register of Probate — Marc Abear of Meredith and the incumbent Alan Glassman of Barnstead — fundamentally disagree on whether the job should be abolished altogether, or restored in full to provide a valuable community service." Voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to do away with the positions statewide. (Roberta Baker for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Bruce Fenton meets with Keene Sentinel editorial board. "If Fenton had his way, 2022 would be the last time citizens cast direct votes for U.S. senators, a right granted by the U.S. Constitution’s 17th Amendment. Before the amendment was ratified in 1913, state legislatures selected U.S. senators. ... He said returning the selection of senators to state lawmakers could ease the concentration of power inherent in expensive political campaigns." (Rick Green for Keene Sentinel) #nhsen

Vikram Mansharamani meets with Keene Sentinel editorial board. "A former Harvard University lecturer, Mansharamani has no first-hand political experience but said he feels he’s right for a senatorial role because he’s analyzed the national economy throughout his career. He said he’s worked with Fortune 500 companies to navigate uncertainty around regulations and economics." (Tim Nail for Keene Sentinel) #nhsen

Four GOP candidates seek two seats in NH House District 6. Two incumbents, Brodie Deshaies and John MacDonald, are facing a Sept. 13 primary challenge from Lawrence Borland and Katy Peternel. All are from Wolfeboro. Candidates were asked about their backgrounds, qualifications, views on recent NH legislation and top issues looking forward. They were also asked whether they would vote for Trump again in 2024 – one candidate said no. (Daymond Steer for Conway Daily Sun)

Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022

Don Bolduc looks like the clear GOP frontrunner for U.S. Senate. Among likely Republican primary voters, 43% support Bolduc, 22% support Chuck Morse and 20% remain undecided (±3.3%), according to the Granite State Poll conducted Aug. 25-29 by the UNH Survey Center. The other candidates polled at 5% or less. An endorsement from Sununu or Trump could nudge the undecideds either way: the poll suggests Sununu's endorsement would have a greater net positive impact than Trump's endorsement. Sununu has made clear he won't back Bolduc. Sununu is believed to favor Morse, but some worry a formal endorsement could spur Trump to back Bolduc. Trump didn't endorse Bolduc in 2020 and hasn't said whether he'll make an endorsement in the 2022 race. (UNH Survey Center, NHJournal) #nhsen

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, endorses Don Bolduc, calling him "a Patriot and a champion" for NH people. Bolduc thanked Gaetz and tweeted, "Granite Staters are looking for an Outsider!" NH Dems Chairman Raymond Buckley said Bolduc's acceptance of the endorsement shows he is an "an extreme, far-right candidate." Gaetz, a close Trump ally, has drawn attention with crass comments and controversies. (Gaetz tweet, Bolduc tweet, Kevin Landrigan tweet) #nhsen

Kevin Smith sat for an interview with NHPR's Rick Ganley. Smith is aiming to win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate so he can take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan in November. Ganley asked Smith about election security misinformation, inflation, abortion restrictions, climate change, immigration and border enforcement. "We have to stop printing money in Washington. I've said we have to go back to a balanced budget," Smith said. "We have to go back to the Gramm-Rudman law from the 1980s, which said that you had to have a balanced budget every year or else there were automatic budget cuts. So that's one way you can bring down the cost of inflation." Interviews with four other GOP candidates are airing this week. (NHPR Smith interview, NHPR series overview) #nhsen

Maryland ⁦Gov. Larry Hogan visited NH to fundraise for NH state reps. "We're pretty divided right now, both in the Republican Party and in the country," Hogan told Paul Steinhauser reporting for Fox News. "In 10 weeks, we'll find out – as the dust settles and the smoke clears – we'll found out where we are as a party," Hogan added. "But I think that's going to evolve into next year. Time will tell which direction we're going to go." (Steinhauser tweet) #nhleg #fitn

Former ambassador Richard Grenell went on the NHJournal podcast to tout Matt Mowers. Grenell, who worked with Mowers at the State Department during the Trump administration, visited Manchester on Aug. 28 for a cookout event with Mowers in the GOP primary for NH01. "He's a smart guy. He's a confident patriot. He's somebody who's brave and courageous," Grenell said of Mowers. (NHJournal) #nh01

Republicans set sights on long-sought NH01 win. The district has gone to the GOP only twice in the past decade. "Republicans are also hoping for a breakthrough in the Senate and to oust incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan ... Given the narrow margins in both the House and the Senate, both races could be paramount to the two parties' hopes to control either chamber of Congress after the midterm elections." (Washington Examiner) #nh01

Mike Pompeo will swing by "Politics & Eggs" on Sept. 20. His appearance will come "amid speculation over a potential 2024 presidential bid." Other potential GOP presidential candidates, including Mike Pence and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, have made similar stops in recent months. Pompeo served as CIA director then Secretary of State in the Trump administration. (The Hill, Event details) #fitn

Did you know? You can find information about NH political events on the Granite Memo calendar. Check back for frequent updates. 

Three GOP candidates in NH02 primary tussle in two-hour radio debate. George Hansel, Bob Burns and Lily Tang Williams are competing for a chance to face Rep. Annie Kuster in November. All three said Biden won in 2020 by enough votes to win legitimately, though each expressed concerns about vote harvesting. Hansel and Burns are seen as the two leading candidates. Burns has repeatedly been called the "MAGA candidate" by Democrats. Hansel said: "Democrats are propping up my opponents because they are scared of me." (Kevin Landrigan for the Union Leader, Good Morning NH with Chris Ryan) #nh02

Still unclear who's sending NH02 mail anonymously. John Doherty, managing partner of Reynolds DeWalt, told NHJournal that anonymous mailers related to federal elections "get mailed all the time." He refused to disclose the organization that ordered the mailers. Now a Democratic PAC is backing a TV ad bolstering Bob Burns as the pro-Trump choice in the GOP primary. Burns is up against George Hansel and Lily Tang Williams for a shot to take on Annie Kuster in November. (Michael Graham for NHJournal) #nh02

What's at stake in the GOP primary for NH02? Democratic incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster has represented the district for the past decade. The three GOP hopefuls competing in the Sept. 13 primary for a chance to unseat her in November are Bob Burns, George Hansel and Lily Tang Williams. "Here’s a look at where the race stands, and what’s at stake." (Josh Rogers for NHPR)

Pappas sits for WMUR interview. The incumbent Democrat said his GOP challengers are "out of step" with NH voters. (Adam Sexton for WMUR) #nh01

Monday, Aug. 29, 2022

Both leading GOP candidates in NH02 race disavow a series of anonymous mailings. The mailers promote Bob Burns as the pro-Trump candidate and claim Burns’ leading opponent, George Hansel, does not support Trump's agenda. The shop that sent the mail has done work for Democratic campaigns. The candidates alleged Democratic interference in the GOP primary. (Union Leader, following NHJournal) #nh02

Chuck Morse sat for an interview with NHPR's Rick Ganley. Morse, the current NH Senate president, is aiming to win the GOP primary for U.S. Senate so he can take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan in November. Ganley asked Morse about election security misinformation, inflation, abortion restrictions, climate change, immigration and border enforcement. "We ought to close that border and we ought to build that wall," Morse said. Interviews with four more candidates will air this week. (NHPR Morse interview, NHPR series overview) #nhsen

In a new TV ad, Chuck Morse says he'll finish Trump’s border wall. The ad's narration says Morse built his business with "hard work" and "no illegals." The spot blames Biden and Pelosi for border woes and says Morse will "stop the flood of crime and drugs." His campaign said they will spend $300,000 to run the ad statewide on broadcast and cable. (Paul Steinhauser for Fox News) #nhsen

Hassan suggests Biden went too far with his comments about "semi-fascism" in the Republican Party. "I have concerns that some people seem to think that violence is (an) appropriate way of resolving disputes in our democracy, but I think President Biden's comments just painted with way too broad a brush," Hassan told WMUR's Adam Sexton. Hassan supporter Ed McCabe, however, said Biden's comments were spot on, since some "radical Trump people" stormed the Capitol to block Biden's victory. "Those are fascists, OK? So he's calling them what they are." (WMUR)

Weekend rally in downtown Nashua denounces racist groups. About 50 people gathered Saturday for the event organized by NH Rep. Maria Perez, who said more elected officials should be speaking out against hate groups and working to protect immigrants and other minorities. (NHPR, InDepthNH) #nhleg

What will COVID precautions look like for college students this year? UNH President James Dean said masks are no longer required, except in certain facilities. Students must undergo COVID testing before they arrive and again within their first two weeks on campus. After that, COVID testing is voluntary. (The New Hampshire)

Tom Sherman, who's running for governor, accuses Sununu of appeasing extremists. "In New Hampshire and across the country we’re watching extremists attempt to tear down long-held rights and institutions. Public schools. Reproductive rights. The integrity of our elections. ... For years when it suited his political ambitions, Chris Sununu catered to these extremists, giving them a wink and a nod to keep them on his side," Sherman wrote. (Seacoastonline guest column) #nhgov

Tom Sherman and other Democrats argue PPP aid for businesses is comparable to student loan forgiveness. Sununu and others disagree. In response to pandemic lockdowns, nearly 24,000 PPP loans were issued in NH, "the vast majority going to small businesses." Great New Hampshire Restaurants CEO Tom Boucher said PPP and college debt "aren’t even close to the same category." (NHJournal) #nhgov

After visiting Berlin on Friday, Pete Buttigieg caught up Monday with Chris Ryan. Buttigieg touted the Berlin snow melt project as part of the Biden administration's work. When asked whether there's any chance he'd run in the 2024 presidential primary, Buttigieg demurred. "I can't talk about the campaign side of things while I'm here doing my day job," he said. (NH Today) #fitn

Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022

Sununu appears on CNN's "State of the Union." The interview with Dana Bash lasted about 8 minutes.

  • On the redacted FBI affidavit for the Mar-a-Lago search: Sununu called for transparency. "When are we going to see the cards?" he said.
  • On student loan forgiveness: Sununu called Biden's policy an unfair "political shell game" with taxpayer money. "I paid $278.03 every month for about 15 years between my wife and I to pay our student loans back," he said. "There was never an expectation that the government should get involved and pay that." (Those 180 payments would total $50,045.40.)
  • On fascism and white supremacy: Biden recently said there's an "extreme MAGA philosophy ... almost like semi-fascism" in the GOP. In response, Sununu said Biden's comment insulted half the country. Bash pressed him: "So you don't see any elements of that at all in your party?" Sununu's response: "You can see elements of fascism and white supremacy in America. Let's own that as Americans. There's no doubt."

On the Libertarian Party of NH's "outrageous" tweets: Sununu said, "That should pretty much be the end of the Libertarian Party in New Hampshire. And I mean that." (Full CNN video, LPNH tweet 1, LPNH tweet 2, Boston Globe) #nhgov

Anonymous mailers featuring candidates in NH02 GOP primary prompt AG investigation. The mailers, which don't disclose who paid for them, tout Bob Burns as more pro-Trump than his opponent, Keene Mayor George Hansel. Burns and Hansel campaigns said they had no involvement. The political mail shop that sent the mystery mail, Reynolds DeWalt, which has done work for Democratic campaigns, did not respond to NHJournal's requests for comment. Burns, Hansel and Lily Tang Williams are competing in the GOP primary for a chance to face Democratic incumbent Rep. Annie Kuster. (NHJournal) #nh02

Don't expect Ron DeSantis in NH anytime soon. Sources said the FL governor is focused on his general election faceoff with former Gov. Charlie Crist. NH Rep. Doug Thomas, R-Rockingham, said "factions" within the GOP want someone other than Trump in 2024. “There are people who love Ron DeSantis. I like him,” he said. “There are people who like Trump. I like him. There are people who like Kristi Noem. I like her.” (The Daily Beast) #fitn

Republicans are eyeing U.S. Senate seats in a few key states, including NH. But some cite "candidate quality" fears. In the GOP primary, frontrunner Don Bolduc could join the group of "hard-right candidates" chosen this year by Republican primary voters in various states despite warnings about their viability in the general election. Chuck Morse is Bolduc's "biggest primary threat" and "the preferred candidate of much of what remains of the G.O.P. establishment." The NRSC has committed to spend $6.5 million on the NH race after the primary. "Ms. Hassan has long been seen as vulnerable." (New York Times) #nhsen

Matt Mowers expresses confidence in NH01 as Republican primary nears. Polling shows GOP rival Karoline Leavitt may be catching up to Mowers. "It doesn't matter what the polls show," Mowers said. "What matters every single day is our message and making sure we get out there, continue to work hard every day." Mowers cited the public's concerns about inflation, drugs and immigration. Adam Sexton (at 7:32) asks about Mowers having voted in both the NH and NJ presidential primaries in 2016. The NH AG has said the letter of the law was followed. "What about the spirit of the law?" Sexton asks. "Is this the way the system is supposed to work, that a political operative can move around the country and vote in multiple presidential primaries?" Mowers dismissed the criticism as political talking points, emphasized the NH AG's finding and said voters want to talk about the issues. Trump endorsed Mowers in 2020 but hasn't in 2022. "I'd welcome his support," Mowers said. (WMUR CloseUp, YouTube, WMUR preview) #nh01

Karoline Leavitt bashes Matt Mowers by questioning his loyalty to Trump. Both served in the Trump administration and are now running in the GOP primary for NH01. In a WMUR CloseUp interview, Leavitt argues Mowers has been too supportive of Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adam Sexton (at 7:36) notes Leavitt has said she thinks Biden didn't win legitimately, then he asks, "Is it safe to say then if you lose this primary, you're just going to say, 'Oh, that was voter fraud, too'?" Leavitt laughs. "Well, we'll see what happens in three weeks," she said. "What I do know is I am working incredibly hard, and I will support the Republican nominee in this race because I do believe that Chris Pappas has to be fired." (WMUR CloseUp, YouTube, WMUR preview) #nh01

Two Manchester cops are taking their gun store lawsuit to the NH Supreme Court. The officers, who were shot on duty in 2016, are suing the store that sold the firearm and the NH Department of Safety, which provided the background check. The lower court said both the store and the state had followed current law. (NHJournal)

Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022

Power struggle over ski resort raises questions about Sununu's grip on the Republican Party. “There was, I think, a fine line between Republicans and Free Staters. Now there’s a battle line,” said political consultant Scott Spradling. (AP)

Outrageous tweets from the Libertarian Party of NH draw outrage. They tweeted a photo of Meghan McCain crying at the casket of her father, Sen. John McCain, as the Union Leader reported. Subsequently, @LPNH has tweeted "we don’t apologize" and retweeted Justin O'Donnell, who wrote that offensive tweets are "radicalizing voters and activists of the future."

State rep urges others to "learn from my mistake" after her DUI arrest. Video from the May incident shows Rep. Erica Layon, R-Derry, being questioned by police. She told officers the NH House had just rejected a "parental rights" bill she had supported, and she suggested a former Derry town councilor had paid them to arrest her. Layon is running for reelection. (Derry News) #nhleg

Friday, Aug. 26, 2022

Newspaper publisher cries foul after her arrest over how political ads were labeled. “This is clearly a case of a small business needing to defend itself against overreaching government,” said Londonderry Times publisher Debra Paul, who faces six misdemeanor charges. Her arrest came after the NH AG's office sent her letters in March 2019, March 2021 and September 2021 alerting her to the improper labeling, according to a police affidavit. (AP)

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg touts snow-melting project in Berlin. With a $19.5 million federal grant, the project will pipe excess heat from the Burgess Biopower plant under streets and sidewalks. Buttigieg said tax dollars should be spent in ways that "make a difference and create economic growth." Buttigieg (who recently polled ahead of Joe Biden among NH Democrats) acknowledged he had campaigned in NH ahead of the 2020 presidential primary (in which he finished second behind Bernie Sanders). (WMUR, UNH poll)

Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022

Candidates challenging Sununu in the GOP gubernatorial primary argue the base is unhappy with the incumbent. “It’s the conservatives. They’re ready for a change," said Thad Riley, one of five challengers in the Sept. 13 primary. Still, Sununu consistently ranks among the nation's most popular governors. (NHJournal) #nhgov

Criteria announced for Granite State Debates. Candidates for governor, U.S. Senate or U.S. House seeking inclusion in the 2022 Granite State Debates must meet all predetermined objective criteria by Aug. 22. (WMUR)

Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022

The Ballot Law Commission declined to block candidacies of state reps who advocated for NH secession. The commission determined it does not have jurisdiction because the question at hand relates to the U.S. Constitution, not state election law. (WMUR, NH Bulletin, InDepthNH) #nhleg

Four GOP candidates for Senate were on stage for Newsmax debate at St. Anselm College. "The net result? Not much. [Kevin] Smith is still the best debater, [Bruce] Fenton is still a bitcoin firebrand, [Chuck] Morse is still uncomfortable with the format, and [Don] Bolduc is very likely still the frontrunner." A fifth candidate, Vikram Mansharamani, was excluded for polling below 4%. (NHJournal) #nhsen

Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022

Maggie Hassan barely won her Senate seat in in 2016. Could a few lucky breaks help her keep it? "Hassan is a prime example of a surprisingly positive turnaround for her party in Senate races. A series of fortunate-for-her events have put her in a much stronger position for November than her approval numbers, which are underwater, alone would predict. ... But Hassan still faces an uphill fight. ... Whether Hassan can prevail may hinge on whom Republicans nominate to face her." (Tal Kopan for The Boston Globe)

Monday, Aug. 22, 2022

Three election monitors appointed in response to local ballot-counting problems. The NH Attorney General’s Office announced the names of election monitors appointed for the Sept. 13 primary: Eugene van Loan in Windham, Eric Forcier in Bedford and Bonnie Winnona MacKinnon in Laconia's Ward 6. Monitors must produce a report within 30 days of the primary. (Union Leader)

Politico report suggests Trump backlash might be reason for Sununu to refrain from endorsing Chuck Morse for U.S. Senate. "New Hampshire political insiders believe Sununu would back Morse, with whom he shares a hometown of Salem and has worked alongside at the state Capitol, if he were to weigh in. But some GOP strategists worry that an endorsement by Sununu, who has publicly insulted Trump, could prompt the former president to react with an endorsement of Bolduc, who Trump passed over for an endorsement in 2020." No word yet from Sununu or Trump on whether they'll endorse. (Politico) #nhsen

Atkinson woman claims candidates who supported secession are now disqualified for office. Karen Steele alleges that 14 Republican members of the NH House violated the U.S. Constitution by taking actions related to a resolution that would have asked NH voters to decide whether the state should secede. The dispute will go before the Ballot Law Commission on Wednesday, Aug. 24. (InDepthNH) #nhleg

Libertarian candidate Jeremy Kauffman featured in Reuters investigation. Kauffman, who's running for U.S. Senate, cofounded Odysee, a video website that Reuters described as part of "a new breed" of sites that "thrive on misinformation and hate." When asked about extremist content, Kauffman said that even "morally questionable groups, such as Reuters journalists or the Proud Boys, should be allowed to speak to others that want to hear them." In response to the article, Kauffman tweeted, "being smeared by corporate journos is the closest one gets to an award for successfully opposing the regime." (Reuters, Kauffman tweet) #nhsen

Don Bolduc campaign comments on Confederate flag flap. A military-style Jeep in a convoy supporting Bolduc at Londonderry's Old Home Day parade on Saturday sported a Bolduc campaign sign and a Confederate flag. Town officials condemned the flag. "Supporters of this symbol of racism, hate, and treason will find no refuge in Londonderry," they said. Bolduc political director Jimmy Thompson said the vehicle wasn't registered by the campaign, Bolduc became aware of the situation after the parade and asked the driver to remove his campaign sign, and Bolduc "deplores any and all discrimination based on race, gender or anything else." (NHPR, Union Leader, Sexton tweet) #nhsen

Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022

Endorsements from Trump and/or Sununu could boost GOP candidates in three federal primaries: Senate, NH01 and NH02. Sununu endorsed Keene Mayor George Hansel for NH02. Trump hasn't endorsed in any of the three races. For candidates aiming to win the Nov. 8 general election, a Sununu endorsement would be more valuable than a Trump endorsement, New England College provost Wayne Lesperance said. (Union Leader) #nhsen #nh01 #nh01

Union Leader endorses Chuck Morse in GOP primary for U.S. Senate. The editorial faulted Morse for "his milquetoast response to Donald Trump’s post-election antics," but it credited Morse with keeping NH taxes and spending low while keeping standards high – and it said he can effectively represent NH interests in Washington "in the mold of Judd Gregg and Norris Cotton." In the primary, Morse is up against Don Bolduc, Bruce Fenton, Kevin Smith and Vikram Mansharamani. The winner will take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan. (Union Leader) #nhsen

Friday, Aug. 19, 2022

Four GOP candidates for Senate are lined up for a Newsmax debate. Don Bolduc, Bruce Fenton, Chuck Morse and Kevin Smith are expected to participate in the Aug. 24 event beginning at 9 p.m. at St. Anselm College (Newsmax). Notably absent from that list? Vikram Mansharamani. His campaign said the network won't let him participate because he's polling below 4%. (NHJournal) #nhsen

Sununu won't endorse Bolduc in GOP primary for Senate. "He's not a serious candidate ... and if he were the GOP nominee I have no doubt we would have a much harder time," the governor said Friday on WGIR radio. The campaign declined to respond directly but said Bolduc's message is resonating with voters. (NHPR) #nhsen

Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022

Two candidates appear to be neck-and-neck in the GOP primary for NH01. Or maybe there's a clear frontrunner? It depends on which poll you consult.

  • A survey conducted Aug. 14-17 by GOP pollster Remington Research Group shows Matt Mowers and Karoline Leavitt tied at 21%, with 35% of likely GOP primary voters still undecided (±4.5%). The poll was conducted for the Leavitt campaign. (NHJournal)
  • A survey conducted Aug. 1-4 by GOP pollster The Tarrance Group shows Mowers at 37% with a 24-point lead over Leavitt (±5.8%). The poll was conducted for the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund. NHJournal reportedly obtained a poll memo and verified its authenticity with unnamed sources. (NHJournal)
  • These latest poll numbers come after an NHJournal poll showed Mowers with a significant lead (NHJournal) and a St. Anselm College poll showed Leavitt nipping at Mowers' heels. (WMUR) #nh01

Expect heightened scrutiny of NH elections this fall. That's the message from Secretary of State David Scanlan after revelations of past ballot-counting errors in Windham, Bedford and Laconia. Scanlan’s office has begun hosting about a dozen voluntary training sessions for election workers. (InDepthNH)

Opioid drugmaker Endo reaches $450 million settlement with NH and 33 other states. The agreement resolves allegations that the company deceptively marketed Opana ER and downplayed its addiction risks. This case involves one of several complaints NH has filed related to the ongoing opioid crisis. (NH Business Review)

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022

Mike Pence paid a visit. He supported candidates ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and fueled speculation about his 2024 intentions.

  • With a "Politics and Eggs" speech in Manchester, the former VP urged Republicans to rally around "a bold, optimistic agenda" for freedom. (Video: New England Council)
  • Critics were unimpressed: NHJournal's Michael Graham said Pence's speech was "heavy on platitudes." Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi said Pence delivered "more mush."
  • Asked about the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, Pence expressed concern but urged GOP to quit lashing out at law enforcement. "Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police," he said. (AP)
  • Asked about Jan. 6 committee's investigation, Pence signaled that he might be open to testifying. "If there was an invitation to participate, I'd consider it," he said. (WMUR)
  • Pence reprised his comments in a phone interview for Good Morning NH with Jack Heath.
  • Later in the day, Pence met with and tweeted his support for NH Senate candidates Tim Lang and Carrie Gendreau. #nhleg #fitn

Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022

Republicans vying to challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan met in a radio debate. The five main candidates – Chuck Morse, Kevin Smith, Don Bolduc, Bruce Fenton and Vikram Mansharamani – agreed that pocketbook issues are key voter concerns. (NHPR, NHJournal, Debate Hour 1, Debate Hour 2) #nhsen

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, visited Manchester and the Seacoast. Cotton, a possible 2024 presidential hopeful, said he's focused on the 2022 midterms for now. He criticized Democrats and claimed the FBI is "an enforcement arm of the Democratic Party." (WMUR) #fitn

Clear frontrunner in GOP primary for U.S. Senate. The new Saint Anselm College poll showed Don Bolduc with 32%, followed by Chuck Morse with 16%. Three other candidates – Kevin Smith, Bruce Fenton and Vikram Mansharamani – had less than 4% apiece. The winner will face Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. (NBC, WMUR, Poll) #nhsen

Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

Two candidates lead the rest in GOP primary for NH01. Matt Mowers leads with 25%, followed by Karoline Leavitt with 21% in the new St. Anselm College poll (±4.8%). Trailing them are Gail Huff Brown at 9%, Tim Baxter at 8% and Russell Prescott at 2%. One-third of respondents were undecided. The winner will face Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas. (WMUR, Poll) #nh01

Republican primary for NH02 still "a jump ball." Bob Burns is at 12%, George Hansel is at 10% and Lily Tang Williams is at 8% in the new St. Anselm College poll (±4.9%), with 65% of voters still unsure who they will pick. The winner will face Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster. (WMUR, Poll) #nh01

This is where the cheat sheet records end. Or begin? It's really all a matter of perspective.