Miscellany Blue - New Hampshire Politics

Cook declines gubernatorial bid, concedes he would lose

Another Republican has publicly declined to challenge Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in her 2014 reelection bid. Attorney Brad Cook was honest about why he chose not to run. In a prepared statement, he acknowledged he would lose:

"I want to thank all those who encouraged me to run, who offered help and money, but the historic fact is that first-term governors almost always win a second term. I would be doing a disservice to my family, friends and myself to engage in the kind of effort required only to make a point. I would not run to lose.”

Cook would have been an interesting candidate. Earlier this year, he challenged political orthodoxy by declaring he would not take “the pledge" to veto a broadbased sales or income tax.

Cook made headlines in 2011 when state Rep. Harry Accornero (R-Laconia) accused him of committing treason. Accornero was reacting to a ruling by the New Hampshire Ballot Commission, chaired by Cook, that denied a “birther” complaint attempting to keep Pres. Obama off the ballot for the 2012 presidential primary.

Republicans are still left without a candidate to take on the first-term governor. Since 1926, only one first-term New Hampshire governor, Republican Craig Benson, has been denied reelection. The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan newsletter covering campaigns and politics, rates the race “Safe Democrat.”


Rothenberg: N.H. gov race ‘Currently Safe Democrat’

The Rothenberg Political Report, a non-partisan newsletter covering campaigns and politics, has changed its rating for the New Hampshire governor’s race from “Democrat Favored” to “Currently Safe Democrat.”

No Republican has yet stepped forward to challenge first-term Gov. Maggie Hassan. Since 1926, only one first-term New Hampshire governor, Republican Craig Benson, has been denied reelection.


National group targets N.H. for marijuana legalization

New Hampshire is one of ten states targeted by the Marijuana Policy Project to end marijuana prohibition by 2017.

The national group says it is participating in lobbying and grassroots organizing efforts to pass legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in the Granite State and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed like alcohol.

Earlier this year, New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed House Bill 573, which allows seriously ill residents to use the drug for medical purposes.


Cornerstone laments lack of GOP challengers

In a moment of honesty today, the executive director of Cornerstone lamented the lack of top-tier challengers to take on Democrats for the 2014 midterm election. Just 15 months before voters head to the polls, no Republicans have officially entered the races to face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Congresswoman Ann Kuster or Gov. Maggie Hassan.


ARG Poll: Hassan job approval jumps

A new survey from American Research Group indicates 47% of New Hampshire voters approve of the job Gov. Maggie Hassan is doing compared to 31% who disapprove.

Hassan’s net job approval, the percentage of voters who approve of her performance minus the percentage who disapprove, now stands at +16%. Just three months ago, Hassan’s net approval was +7% with 33% approving of her job performance and 26% disapproving.

The survey was completed before the legislature approved, and Hassan signed, a compromise budget that was passed unanimously by the Senate and almost unanimously by the House.

Hassan’s 47% job approval is similar to that of former Gov. John Lynch at the same point in his first term. Lynch’s job approval stood at 51% in June, 2005.

American Research Group surveyed 600 Granite State adults including 539 registered voters on June 22-25, 2013. The poll has a +/-4.0% margin of error for the total sample and a a +/-4.2% margin of error for the sample of registered voters.


Jennifer Horn hears voices, cranks it up to 11

Political spinmeisters routinely offer a creative interpretation of the facts and figures. And then there’s New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn, who makes it up out of whole cloth and then cranks it up to 11.

In a strident statement today, Horn blasted Gov. Maggie Hassan for fiscal mismanagement and for saying she is taking a hands-off approach to the state budget process:

In an interview with the Portsmouth Herald, Hassan indicated that she would step back from the budget process and let the House and Senate work on the budget without her without her [sic] guidance.

Follow the link to the Herald interview and try to find where Hassan said she will “step back” and withhold “guidance.” I dare you. Here’s the part of the interview Horn was apparently referring to:

Hassan said on Friday that the House and Senate now must find a way to work together and reconcile the differences between their priorities and beliefs about how those priorities should be funded.


Dean Barker: Elected officials failed Granite Staters

Dean Barker reviews the responses of New Hampshire’s top elected officials to gun safety proposals and concludes “only President Obama and Rep. Shea-Porter advocated on behalf of the majority of Granite Staters when it mattered:”

When President Obama unveiled his plan for commonsense gun safety in the wake of 20 murdered children, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter immediately responded with support for it. She was vindicated in her leadership on this by two subsequent polls (UNH, NEC) showing clear majority support in New Hampshire for the key elements of the President’s plan.

Senators Shaheen and Ayotte, Rep. Kuster, and Gov. Hassan (who, it will be remembered, made a very publicized choice to be speak out on the federal issue of DOMA) were all silent on the President’s plan unless pressed by reporters.


Pindell: Expanded gambling vote could go either way

WMUR’s James Pindell has surveyed all 397 House lawmakers to gauge support for expanded gambling. The result? Too close to call:

The survey suggests that there are so many undecided and so many we haven’t heard back from, that it looks like this vote could go either way. If it doesn’t pass, it could be a tough political loss for freshman Gov. Maggie Hassan, who staked her budget plan on approval.

DECISION    VOTE (DEM)  VOTE (GOP)   VOTE (TOTAL)
Yes             54          49           103
No              54          65           119
Undecided       44          20            64
Not Saying       6           3             9
No Response     60          42           102
TOTAL:         218         179           397

WMUR has the detailed results, including the response from each individual lawmaker.


Quote of the day: New Hampshire has led the way

Throughout our history, every time we have sought to include all people in the life of our democracy, we have grown stronger. I’m proud that New Hampshire has led the way in ensuring marriage equality for all of our citizens, because encouraging strong marriages for loving couples strengthens families and communities. We are urging the Supreme Court to strike down these discriminatory measures because all New Hampshire married couples should receive fair and equal treatment from the federal government.

— Gov. Maggie Hassan, announcing New Hampshire has joined more than a dozen other states in two amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court defending the right to civil marriage for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.


Manuse: ‘The voters have spoken … God help us all’

Yesterday, Gov. Maggie Hassan sent a letter to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services declaring the state’s intent to pursue a federal-state partnership health benefit exchange.

I do not believe it is in the best interest of our people to allow the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all exchange on New Hampshire,” she explained.

The state is prevented from establishing its own exchange, where consumers will compare and purchase insurance plans, due to a 2012 state law that prohibits it.

Free Stater and former state Rep. Andrew Manuse was the prime sponsor of that law, House Bill 1297. He was convinced that if all the states ceded their regulatory authority to the federal government, it would lead to repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Today, Manuse admits that his plan is in shambles. Congress is not going to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he concedes. “God help us all:”

Elections have consequences. This partnership exchange will be the absolute worst consequence of electing a Democratic House and governor in 2012.

I fought for four years to kill Obamacare, including two in the House that resulted in the passage of HB 1297 (2012) and the prohibition of a state exchange. This partnership exchange is better than a state exchange, but I fear it will not have the desired effect of forcing the Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with true free-market reforms….

It saddens me greatly to watch my state go down this road, but the voters have spoken, and they will get what they voted for, God help us all!


HuffPo prediction: Hassan knocks off Ayotte

The 2016 senatorial election is years away, but that’s not stopping pundits from handicapping the race. Ryan Grim, Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, made his prediction on The McLaughlin Group: “Maggie Hassan jumps into the New Hampshire Senate race, knocks off Kelly Ayotte.”


Emily’s List endorses Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

In its first endorsement of the 2014 electoral cycle, Emily’s List threw its support behind Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, calling her a “truly remarkable leader" who has been a "champion for women, working families, and veterans."

Stephanie Schriock, Emily’s List president, said the 2012 election proved women voters want leaders like Shaheen who will fight for equal pay and violence prevention legislation. “Republicans, she said, “haven’t gotten the message, and are doubling down on their anti-woman platform" that would "roll back the clock on women’s rights and opportunities." That’s why Emily’s List is determined to send Shaheen back to Washington, she said.

In the 2011-2012 cycle, the group supported Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster and Gov. Maggie Hassan, raising over $540,000 for the three candidates and spending $550,000 in independent expenditures.


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