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Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Forrester says Hassan push for Pappas in 1st CD race exposes divisions

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 04. 2018 9:55PM

Republican State Chairman Jeanie Forrester says U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan’s endorsement of Democratic congressional candidate Chris Pappas of Manchester reveals deep divisions in that party.

“Maggie Hassan’s endorsement today of Chris Pappas for Congress pits her against the powerful pro-abortion women’s group Emily’s List, which recently backed out-of-stater Maura Sullivan. It also pits her once again against socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose son Levi is also running for Congress,” Forrester said in a statement Wednesday.

“In 2016, Hassan notoriously flouted the will of New Hampshire Democrats by joining other so-called Super Delegates in backing Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the Democrat presidential primary, despite Sanders’ clear victory over Clinton. So what’s the takeaway? The system is still rigged and Democrats are bitterly divided.”

Some liberal activists in the party didn’t take all that kindly on social media to the first-term senator choosing sides in this eight-person primary.

“If you like the establishment, vote for Pappas,” posted Chris Liquori of Portsmouth on Facebook. “I couldn’t think of a better endorsement for the establishment candidate.”

Former state Rep. Eileen Ehlers of Manchester said her favorite candidate is Rep. Mindi Messner of Rye.

“Vote for a bold leader, a fighter, a strong voice — Mindi for Congress,” Ehlers wrote.

North Hampton activist Sean Doherty is another Messner supporter who condemned Hassan’s role in this race.

“Didn’t she also give her super delegate vote to Clinton? She doesn’t care about the people, she cares about Maggie Hassan,” Doherty said.

But there’s no arguing Hassan’s backing of Pappas is a big lift, not the least of which for financial reasons.

Pappas has already been playing catchup to Sullivan, who early on raised nearly twice as much as Pappas did.

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A recovering state economy continues to keep state government pretty flush with cash.

Administrative Services Commissioner Charles Arlinghaus reported this week March was a solid month.

The $665 million that came in was $13.9 million over what state budget writers had expected.

For the year, the $1.8 billion to come into state coffers is $53 million above or 3 percent over that plan.

March is a big revenue month; April and the final fiscal month of June are significant contributors as well.

Despite business tax cuts, the two main taxes paid by businesses, the business profits and business enterprise taxes, provide the bulk of the revenue surplus, $49 million over plan through March.

Another solid performer given gains in the stock market is the 5 percent interest and dividends tax.

This tax so far has brought in $7 million or 16 percent over the forecast.

While the real estate market is healthy, forecasters appear to have over estimated what it would generate.

Through March, the real estate transfer tax returns are $7.8 million off that forecast.

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When a turf battle arose in the New Hampshire House over which committee should deal with the Marsy’s Law amendment to the state Constitution (CACR 22), House Speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, decided to let both sides win.

The House Judiciary and Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committees will host a joint hearing next Tuesday morning on the proposal in Rooms 206-08 in the Legislature Office Building.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had custody of the measure in the upper chamber.

A philosophical case was made for the involvement of both House panels.

House Judiciary Committee typically gets all legislation dealing with the judicial branch, especially those that involve its administration.

But this amendment also has implications for law enforcement and the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has dealt with bills dealing with such issues as restitution for victims.

Rather than have two committees take pieces of the measure or have it heard by each one separately, Chandler decided the two should meet together for this purpose.

Some House budget writers maintain House Finance should separately examine the fiscal impact of this measure on local, county and state expenditures.

That’s not going to happen.

An April 18 work session has been set for this amendment and that’s past the deadline for committees to report on House bills that are going anywhere else for further review.

Marsy’s Law supporters will commemorate National Crime Victim Rights Week by hosting a panel discussion on the proposition next Wednesday night at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Speakers for the 5:30 p.m. event include Gov. Chris Sununu, Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald, state Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury and victim Bob Marriott.

Marsy’s Law backers have added another paid advocate to their ranks, former Republican State Chairman Jennifer Horn of Nashua.

She has not disclosed how much she’s getting paid to consult, not to lobby, on behalf of the amendment.

Horn signed on to help after the Senate overwhelmingly endorsed the amendment last month.

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Ohio Gov. and potential 2020 presidential candidate John Kasich said he’ll campaign and raise money for Gov. Sununu’s reelection if the governor wants him to.

You can count on that.

But Kasich said all Republican incumbents, regardless of their standing in the polls or the strength of their prospective opponents this fall, need to be clear-headed about the rocky waters that lie ahead in these mid-term elections.

“There’s a blue wave coming,” Kasich said.

As for Russian interference in U.S. elections during 2016 and elections to come, Kasich said that’s not even in dispute.

Kasich stressed when it comes to today’s American political discourse, this disinformation campaign isn’t at the root of U.S. problems.

“The Russians don’t work to divide us; we are already divided. They just provide some high octane fuel to feed that division,” Kasich said.

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Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas will have company in his Republican primary bid for Executive Council in the Fourth District.

Former state Rep. Jane Cormier of Hooksett told supporters at last month’s gun rights rally that she would be entering this race whether Gatsas was in it or not.

Cormier served in the New Hampshire House from 2013-14 and then tried to unseat incumbent, GOP state Sen. David Boutin of Hooksett. Boutin won that primary and reelection race in 2014.

She vows to be a defender for the taxpayer.

“We need to ensure that contracts are properly bid and awarded. Sole source contracts should be the exception, not the rule,” Cormier said. “Unfortunately, it seems a significant amount of money is spent outside of New Hampshire, and it’s time to put New Hampshire’s interests ahead of the special interest groups.”
Since 2014, Cormier has also served as president of New Hampshire Right to Life.

If it wasn’t Cormier, it would be someone else in this primary as social conservatives who oppose abortion are not about to allow Gatsas a free ride to the nomination in a Republican-leaning seat on the Executive Council.

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Executive Council Democratic candidate Garth Corriveau landed the endorsement of two Manchester police unions, the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association and the Manchester Association of Police Supervisors.

“Garth has a proven record of strengthening public safety. His leadership in adding more police officers to our city’s streets has been so important in our efforts to combat the opioid crisis. Garth will always work to bring people together to strengthen public safety and support law enforcement. We are proud to stand with Garth, because he always stands with us,” said MAPS President Rich Brennan in a statement.

Organized labor unions from the Queen City are not likely to support a former mayor (Gatsas) whose opposition at times stood between them getting a bigger pay raise.

Gatsas was not in open warfare with unions while he was mayor, but to live within the city’s tax cap, Gatsas opposed some contracts the majority on the Manchester Board of Aldermen had supported.

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Project Veritas founder and conservative activist James O’Keefe will be the guest speaker for the Cheshire County Republican Committee’s Lincoln Day Dinner.

The event is set for 6 p.m. on April 27 at the Keene Country Club.

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Rank-and-file state legislators may appear to be a little more winded than usual.

That’s because the 2018 schedule is a compressed one and Republican legislative leaders in both the Senate and House remain determined to stick to it.

House and Senate rules call for final action on all bills by May 24.

That’s about two weeks earlier than most election-year sessions conclude.

The usual time to shut it down is at or near the end of the candidate filing period.

For the 2018 election, all candidates have to sign up to run between June 6-15.

This earlier deadline means all legislation will get wrapped up four days before Memorial Day.

As we’ve already seen from 10 special elections, this 2018 election cycle is a very unpredictable one.

Clearly the party in power (read GOP) wants to get its work done as quickly as possible so that there’s enough time to get back home and campaign.

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Earlier this week, Senator Hassan took part in the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, GA., and called for better integration within the health care system to fight the opioid epidemic.

“We cannot just invest in a model that treats this crisis as a one-time issue,” Hassan said in prepared remarks. “We need policies that are based in the reality that some of our people are going to need treatment and recovery services throughout their lives in order to stay healthy.”

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen along with Hassan, both D-N.H., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI., wrote a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration urging the agency to come up with regulations that require naloxone, the anti-overdose drug, to be part of all airline emergency medical kits.

They said the FAA should require training for flight attendants to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug overdoses.

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There’s finally a way to comprehensively compare New Hampshire’s campaign finance disclosure laws with their counterparts in other 49 states and the District of Columbia.

It’s a new database from the Campaign Finance Institute of Washington, D.C.

This catalogs the current status and history of state election laws from 1996-2016 and in an interactive map shows how New Hampshire visually stands out or is in the middle of the pack on a host of campaign finance metrics.

For example, New Hampshire is among the vast number of states that have no contribution limits at all on how much political action committees can give to a state political party.

Anyone who gives at least $26 to a candidate in New Hampshire must be identified and that is a greater level of disclosure than exists in most states.

Here’s the link to the database:

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A Concord city prosecutor and former city councilor has entered the race for county attorney in Merrimack County.

Republican Paul Halvorsen has been an assistant city prosecutor for 12 years and prior to that served for nearly three years in the New Hampshire Public Defender’s office.

A retired, Air Force officer and pilot, Halvorsen served for 21 years in active duty, seven of them working in the area of drug interdiction.

He seeks to replace as county attorney Scott Murray, who recently was confirmed as President Trump’s U.S. attorney in New Hampshire.

Email news and tips to granitestatus@unionleader.

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