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Woodburn steps aside as Senate minority leader

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 06. 2018 9:39PM

CONCORD — North Country state Sen. Jeff Woodburn is resigning his position as leader of the Democratic minority in the state Senate in the wake of his arrest last week on domestic violence charges.

“I’m voluntarily stepping aside as minority leader to devote my full attention to clearing my name and representing my North Country constituents,” Woodburn said in a statement issued Monday. “As a father, my family comes first. Supporting them will be my priority during the difficult time ahead.”

The three-term state senator was not immediately available for comment, but his statement suggests that he will not heed calls to resign his Senate seat and still plans to run for reelection.

According to a Democratic party official, Senate Democrats will select an interim minority leader to serve until the November election, after which another leadership vote will be taken.

Woodburn will most likely not be participating in the vote for interim leader, according to the party official who spoke on background.

Eight of nine Democratic senators have called on Woodburn to resign, with Manchester Sen. Lou D’Allesandro the only exception.

Woodburn, 53, was arrested Thursday and charged with nine misdemeanor counts of violent contact with his “intimate partner,” according to Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald.

The Whitefield Democrat represents the most northern of the 24 senate districts and has been actively seeking reelection.

MacDonald said the charges of simple assault, domestic violence, criminal mischief and criminal trespass cover contact from last August through this past June. The most recent domestic violence charge states that Woodburn on two occasions bit a female adult on the hand, once on Dec. 15, 2017, and then again on her right forearm resulting in bruising this past June 9-10.

According to MacDonald’s statement, Woodburn is also accused of striking the victim in the face on one occasion, in the stomach with his hand and kicking in the locked door to the victim’s home.

MacDonald did not identify the victim other than to call her Woodburn’s “intimate partner.” In a statement released hours after his arrest, Woodburn made no mention of quitting and vowed to fight the charges.

The state Republican Party on Monday identified more than $34,000 in Woodburn donations to New Hampshire Democratic causes and candidates, and urged the recipients to use the money to combat domestic violence.

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