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Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Boutin to take another shot at NH Senate seat in Dist. 16 rematch with Cavanaugh

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 03. 2018 11:57PM




This could be one of the better rematches of the 2018 election season.

We’re not talking about Chris Sununu vs. Colin Van Ostern, Round II, for governor, although if that emerges it could be a decent fight.

No, this is about the state Senate Dist. 16 race. Granite Status has exclusively confirmed that former state Sen. David Boutin, a Hooksett Republican, wants another shot at the seat he lost in a special election last summer to Manchester Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh.

Boutin is making it broadly official later today.

As we know, 2017 was a big momentum year for New Hampshire Democrats, as they won eight of 10 special elections.

Cavanaugh was a dream candidate, a pro-union Democrat without a lot of baggage as a liberal tax and spender, except for some City Hall votes. He warmed to the role as a first-time hopeful for state office, raised a huge war chest and remained a very disciplined candidate.

Boutin got caught in the off-year tide. This rematch will tell us whether Boutin was a victim of bad timing or if Cavanaugh was that strong.

“From working to cut taxes for struggling families and small businesses to sponsoring legislation to protect women and children from violence and sexual abuse, my priorities have always been to make New Hampshire families safer and build a stronger economy.” Boutin said.

Since leaving the Senate and not running for re-election in 2016, Boutin chaired the Oversight Commission on Children’s Services and has been a board member of Webster House — a group home in Manchester for children in need of a safe place.

His elective career includes 17 years serving on local boards and commissions, with stints on Hooksett’s planning board and town council.

If elected, Boutin said he’s determined to pursue more reforms at the Division of Children, Youth and Families and to bring better accountability to that agency when it comes to child fatalities.

In 2015, he was inducted into the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Hall of Fame.

“I will also work to strengthen the laws that protect against domestic violence and sexual abuse, and increase funding for shelters for victims of domestic violence,” Boutin said.

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State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, isn’t going anywhere but figures this is a good time to take stock. For the past year, D’Allesandro has been working on a book that could be out as early as March. There are a lot of memories and plenty of advice he said he’s looking forward to offering.

Every week he’s been meeting with Mark Bodanza, an accomplished writer, historian and trial lawyer from Leominster, Mass.

Bodanza has written seven books, including memoirs of Boston Celtic legends Sam Jones and JoJo White.

“He’s been a great help to me to bring out all the thoughts and observations I want to put into the book,” D’Allesandro said.

The duo is still choosing a publisher for the book, whose draft title is: “Lou D’Allesandro: Lion of the Senate. A guide to presidential hopefuls.”

Through more than four decades of state service, D’Allesandro served on the Executive Council as a Republican (1975-81) and then in the House of Representatives (1996-98) and the state Senate (1999-present) as a Democrat.

Every Democratic nominee for President since Bill Clinton’s first run has asked for D’Allesandro’s help and counsel.

Those who’ve known D’Allesandro are aware of his athletic past as a member of both the University of New Hampshire (2010) and Southern New Hampshire University Halls of Fame (1970).

He was a football team co-captain, a two-year lacrosse and one-year baseball player for the Wildcats.

D’Allesandro was the first athletic director and men’s basketball coach at New Hampshire College, which became SNHU, and played a big role in getting the school its NCAA status.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with this project but it is a lot more work than you think it is,” D’Allesandro said.

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Dr. Stewart Levenson of Hopkinton is a political newcomer as GOP candidate in the Second Congressional District but his fund-raising debut has gone pretty well.

Levenson has raised more than $100,000 and at year’s end, he had $300,000 in the bank.

The former department head and whistleblower of problems at the VA Medical Center in Manchester donated $200,000 of his own money to the campaign.

Levenson’s political consultant, Tom DeRosa of b-fresh consulting, said the cash on hand is the most for any GOP congressional challenger after their first quarter raising money.

Nashua Rep. Steve Negron is also in this GOP primary, while former Dartmouth-Hitchcock executive and WMUR political director Josh McElveen is actively exploring a bid.

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There’s a new Republican seriously eying the First Congressional District seat and he’s not your prototypical party person.

He’s Mark Hounsell of Conway, a former state senator and current Carroll County commissioner.

“Should I eventually make the decision to run it will be to first seek the Republican nomination in September of 2018. In my estimation it is essential that the next congressman from the Granite State be a Republican,” Hounsell said.

“In recent days I have become deeply concerned by the divisive tone that the Democratic frontrunner, Chris Pappas, is broadcasting in his multifaceted fundraising campaign. It is clear to me the Democratic Party leadership, as well as their candidates, are either unwilling, or incapable of working in a manner that benefits the people of New Hampshire.”

Hounsell, a 65-year-old Conway native, said Democrats are pursuing a “socialist and liberal partisan agenda.”

He embraces the entire Republican Party platform “save the one that supports so-called right to work and merit pay.”

A licensed master plumber, Hounsell is the current labor member on the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB)

“As my mentor, Governor Meldrim Thomson Jr., so aptly declared, I shall continue to put people above politics. If I was to describe my political philosophy it would be paleo-conservative in the manner of Pat Buchanan,” Hounsell said.

Over the years, Hounsell has changed his partisan stripes and not just once.

He was a conservative Republican in the state Senate.

Then in 2006 he became a Democrat and filed to run for his old Senate seat before withdrawing for health reasons.

The Democratic Party nominated activist George Cleveland to replace Hounsell.

Then in 2014, Hounsell ran as an registered independent for one of three House seats, losing that race.

Hounsell thinks 2018 is the year Republicans can win back this seat that’s bounced from one party to the other four times over the past decade.

“The insistence of the Democrats to move to the left will cause them votes. On the other hand, the GOP, under the direction of Chairman Jeanie Forrester, has been busy building increased support from unaffiliated voters. Her efforts are attracting more moderate voters to join with the strong conservative base of the Republican Party,” Hounsell said.

State Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, and ex-liquor law enforcement chief Eddie Edwards of Dover are the only declared GOP hopefuls while six Democrats are in the running.

Former GOP Vice Chairman Matt Mayberry of Dover is also considered likely to get into hunt.

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You knew there would be a New Hampshire angle to Steve Bannon and his frontal assault on President Trump’s family inner circle, didn’t you?

We only have excerpts from the book author Michael Wolff wrote and President Trump has already declared in response that Bannon not just lost his job but “lost his mind”

Bannon said the meeting Donald Trump Jr., the President’s eldest son, held with a Russian lawyer was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

“They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV,” Bannon wrote.

Trump Jr. helped set up this Trump Tower summit in July 2016 with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, senior Trump campaign officials, and other Russians.

According to Wolff in New York Magazine, Bannon said if necessary there were better ways of pulling off that session.

Bannon suggested they should have held the meeting in a “Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire,” and between lawyers, not senior campaign officials.

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There’s one financial benefit to being the party out of presidential power in New Hampshire.

Invariably there are many more in that party who want to run for President next time than those who want to challenge the incumbent.

And all of the above have every incentive to try and use their political action committees to curry favor with party leaders and elected officials in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

We’re already seeing that play out here.

Maryland congressman and self-made wealthy businessman John Delaney is the only declared Democratic candidate.

He’s already opened up the checkbook giving sizable dollars, $5,000 apiece to the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Committee to Elect House Democrats with $2,500 to state Senate hopeful Jonathan Thomas Mongan of Brentwood.

Then you get the inevitable bidding war and that can mean even bigger dollars for the recipients.

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan hasn’t discouraged talk that he too is exploring a 2020 presidential run.

Ryan gave the New Hampshire Young Democrats $2,500 in August.

These checks never stay secret for very long so sure enough, Delaney did Ryan one better, giving the Young Democratic group $5,000 in September and then another $1,000 in November.


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