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Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Eversource PAC donated money to every state senator

By DAN TUOHY
June 21. 2017 10:04PM




POWER PLAY: Eversource PAC-NH, in a finance filing last week with the Secretary of State’s Office, gave donations to every single member of the New Hampshire Senate.

The PAC reported $11,132.79 in receipts. The contributions spanned the political spectrum. It includes $1,000 to former Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, who is running in a special election for Senate District 16, a vacancy created with the death of Sen. Scott McGilvray, D-Hooksett. Boutin faces Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh and Libertarian Jason Dubrow in the July 25 contest.

The fundraising, from Nov. 5, 2016, to May 29, 2017, comes from employees of Eversource and related divisions. The PAC has got its bases covered: It reported contributing $250 to the Senate Republican Majority PAC, $350 to the Senate Democratic Caucus, $350 to the Committee to Elect House Republicans, and $250 to the Committee to elect House Democrats. And on May 3, Eversource PAC-NH made a $5,000 donation to Friends of Chris Sununu, the governor’s campaign committee.

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THE GOVERNOR and Executive Council have called for a special election in Hillsborough County District 15, the House vacancy that occurred with the March death of Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, R-Manchester. This is a Ward 8 seat. The filing period opens Monday and runs through June 30. The primary is Sept. 19, and the special election is Nov. 7. Those dates align with the Manchester city election calendar, which will give the race more attention than if it were a stand-alone special election.

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AS THE NEW Hampshire Democratic Party was wrapping up its final county caucuses Wednesday night, one thing stood out among all the county Executive Committees. Democrats, for the first time in state party history, will have had a majority of women in the executive positions — chairman, vice chairman, secretary and treasurer. Democrats have 12 caucuses, one for each county, and separate caucuses for Manchester and Nashua.

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PORCFEST, the Free State Project’s 14th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, got underway Wednesday and featured remarks by Republican State Committee Chairman Jeanie Forrester.She was there to discuss “how the state Republican Party is embracing libertarian ideals, candidates, and activists,” according to the PorcFest schedule. The title of her talk: “The NHGOP Embraces Liberty.” The festival goes through Sunday at Roger’s Campground. Other speakers this week include FSP founder Jason Sorens, Darryl W. Perry, LPNH chairman, and Jilletta Jarvis, a Libertarian candidate for governor. Forrester is not the only Republican attending. Former Gov. Craig Benson, R-Rye, welcomed the FSP to New Hampshire after the group identified the state in 2003 as the place to encourage 20,000 liberty-loving individuals to move to. It’s not a political party, nor a political organization. It’s a registered educational nonprofit organization.

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SAYING HE LEARNED some lessons from a failed 2016 run, former state Rep. Jack Flanagan of Brookline is again in the race for the 2nd Congressional District. What did he learn from being an also-ran? While pausing a bicycle ride Wednesday, he said he realized he needs to raise more cash for a campaign. That’s one reason why he’s starting earlier. He lost the GOP primary last fall to former Rep. Jim Lawrence by 5,134 votes. U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., defeated Lawrence, 50-45 percent. Libertarian John Babiarz had 17,088 votes. Lawrence was so close that political observers wondered what might have happened if the National Republican Congressional Committee had made the race a priority. Kuster, who raised $3.2 million in 2016, still sits atop a massive war chest. Flanagan raised only $60,575 in 2016, and $20,000 of that was candidate loans. All of this is to say that Flanagan’s entry, or political re-entry, is unlikely to scare anyone away. State Rep. Steve Negron, R-Nashua, plans to make a decision by the end of next week. All signs point to him getting into the race. There’s still buzz about former state Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker, a “healthcare attorney, nurse and military veteran with a secret security clearance,” as her LinkedIn summary puts it, being a contender.

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ADVOCACY: The Granite State Values PAC and the NH Worker Freedom PAC registered as political advocacy organizations with the secretary of state earlier this month. J.P. Marzullo, a former vice chairman of the state GOP, is chairman of the Values PAC, while well-known activist Karen Testerman is treasurer. The NH Worker Freedom PAC, whose chairman is Ed Naile, exists to support right-to-work legislation.

QUICK TAKES:

• New Hampshire Democratic Party Executive Director Amy Kennedy was elected the secretary of the Association of State Democratic Executive Directors last week when the Association of State Democratic Chairs met in Detroit. Raymond Buckley, chairman of the state party, was elected president emeritus of the ASDC.

• U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., voted this week to confirm Brock Long as administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Ensuring that New Hampshire has the resources necessary to prepare for, respond to and mitigate the effects of any man-made or natural disaster is integral to the safety of our communities and the economic well-being of our entire state,” Hassan said.

• State Sen. Andy Sanborn, a Republican who is running for the 1st Congressional District, spoke Wednesday to a “Right of Center” meeting of conservatives at the Americans for Prosperity-NH headquarters. Former state GOP Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry, who is leaning toward a run for the seat himself, was seen there networking early. He said Wednesday he will delay his decision on a run for the 1st District until later this year. He’s focusing on volunteer efforts to help Community Toolbox, a nonprofit group that supports veterans and others who struggle with home repairs.

• The memorial to Gov. John Winant in front of the New Hampshire State Library will be dedicated June 30 at 10 a.m. Winant, a Republican, was the Granite State’s first three-term governor. He was also appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be the first director of the Social Security Administration.

• Bruce Fox, 66, of Dublin, announced he is running as a Democrat for the state Senate seat currently held by Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford. Fox, a former selectman and current cemetery trustee in his hometown, runs Friendly Farm, a petting zoo and farm open to the public. He said he would like to see the balance of power evened out between Republicans and Democrats in Concord.

Dan Tuohy covers politics and government for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Email news and information to dtuohy@unionleader.com.


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