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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Hassan beefs up staff with five additions; four executive councilors back Bergeron for RNC

Senior Political Reporter

April 04. 2012 11:48AM

MAGGIE BUILDS STAFF. Democratic candidate for governor Maggie Hassan has added five young activists to her campaign staff, the Granite Status has learned.

Hassan earlier this year announced the hiring of campaign manager Matt Burgess, finance director Pamela Danielson and political director Wyatt Fore.

Thursday, she will announce the addition of Kyle Sutton as field director, Craig Brown as grassroots coordinator, Emily Brown as fund-raising coordinator, Ben Hanna as research and new media assistant and Andrew Laskar as a fund-raising assistant.

Sutton is a former field director for the West Virginia Democratic Party and has worked for campaigns and Democratic operations in Colorado, Virginia, Indiana and Michigan.

Craig Brown was a field assistant for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's 2008 campaign, while Wilton native Emily Brown comes to the state from EMILY's List in Washington and worked on Sen. Patty Murray's reelection campaign in Washington state.

Hanna, a Westmoreland native, was a Middlbury College campus coordinator for the 2008 Obama campaign while Laskar is a recent intern for The Angerholzer Team and New Partners in Washington, D.C. He also has worked in fund-raising for Florida Sen. Ben Nelson and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison


Hassan this week announced she will hold 23 house parties throughout the state in late April, May, June and beyond, in addition to the 23 she began her tour with in early March.

Hassan's Democratic opponent, Jackie Cilley, meanwhile, is minus a campaign manager as businesswoman and former Senate Democratic caucus executive director Rachel Napear left the campaign this week. Volunteer coordinator Liz Merry is currently filling in on an interim basis.

(Earlier updates and the full March 29 Granite Status follow.)

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, UPDATE: HEADED TO THE WHITE HOUSE. First Lady Michelle Obama apparently had such a good time at the Penacook Community Center last month that she would like to see the kids she met there again.

We've learned that she has invited 50 children and adults from the center to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday.

Center executive director Deb Cuddahy said 24 children and 26 adults, primarily center staff and board members, will make the trip.

'We are absolutely delighted and thrilled,' Cuddahy said.

Mrs. Obama visited the community center on March 9 to promote her 'Let's Move!' initiative, which focuses on nutrition and physical activity for children to combat childhood obesity.

Also today, the Obama campaign said Vice President Joe Biden will return to the state on Thursday, April, 12 for a political event at a location yet to be announced.

It will be Biden's fourth visit to the state in five months. He previously visited the state in November, January and February.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, UPDATE: COUNCILORS FOR BERGERON. In the inside-the-GOP race for Republican National Committeewoman, former Cheshire County Republican Committeee Chair Juliana Bergeron today announced she has been endorsed by four of the five Executive Councilors.

Siding with Bergeron in her race against Deputy House speaker Pam Tucker are councilors Ray Burton, Ray Wieczorek, Dan St. Hilaire and Chris Sununu.

'I am pleased to have the support and confidence of so many elected officials, grassroots activists and party leaders from across New Hampshire,' said Bergeron in a statement. 'As National Committeewoman I will be an outspoken and ardent defender of our candidates and the Republican platform, as well as a vocal advocate for our First in the Nation primary tradition.'

'Juliana has the background in recruiting and raising the funds needed to elect our candidates, as well as has the skills needed to be influential at all levels of the Party,' said Councilor Wieczorek.

'Juliana is an extremely hard working and an excellent manager. She has been a constant and consistent supporter for the NHGOP, and will be effective in furthering the Republican platform,' said Councilor St. Hilaire.

The Republican State Committee will elect a successor to outgoing Republican National Committeewoman Phyllis Woods on April 14 at a meeting at Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith.

(Earlier updates and the full March 29 Granite Status follow.)

FRIDAY, MARCH 30, UPDATE: PLENTY OF FUND-RAISING PLEAS. Candidates and political parties are always asking for money. But with an important end-of-the-quarter deadline looming on Saturday night, they are sending out fund-raising pleas fast and furious.

For candidates for the U.S. House, the quarterly campaign finance reports that will be made public in mid-April will be an important first gauge of financial support during this election year.

'Time is Running Out!' screamed an email plea from 1st District U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta on Wednesday.

'If you're anything like me, you are amazed at how truly fast time can fly. It feels like just yesterday we were heading to the polls to vote in the historic 2010 election,' the Guinta email says. 'Now here we are almost 2 years later at the close of the first quarter of the 2012 election year.'

Guinta goes on to, in effect, pick the winner in a pending Democratic primary campaign to oppose him in November between former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and Democratic National Committee member Joanne Dowdell.

'Now, my opponent, Carol Shea-Porter is coming after me with her same partisan rhetoric, and is trying to get the national Democrats to do the same.' He then makes the pitch for money. There's no mention of Dowdell.

Guinta had raised $782,829 between his election over Shea-Porter in November 2010 and the end of 2011, and at the end of 2011, he reported having $562,273 on hand in his campaign account.

Shea-Porter raised $293,865 between the November 2010 election and the end of 2011 and had $142,496 on hand in her campaign account at the end of 2011.

Dowdell reported ending 2011 with $98,444 in her account.

In the 2nd District congressional race, Democrat Ann McLane Kuster had raised more than $1 million in the 14 months between her close loss to Republican U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass in November 2010 and the end of 2011. She had $828,135 on hand in her campaign account as of Dec . 31.

Bass raised $760,000 between his win in November 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011 and had reported $600,264 on hand at the end of 2011.

Kuster's two most recent fund-raising emails, sent on Thursday and today, tries to use Bass' vote for the controversial House Republican budget pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan to prompt supporters to write her a check.

'Yesterday Congressman Bass joined House Republicans to pass the disastrous Ryan budget, and Annie asked you to stand with her so we can take back this seat for middle class families,' wrote Kuster campaign finance director Emily Mellencamp. 'The response was overwhelming -- in just a few hours, almost 200 people contributed, and we're now just $1,681 from our grassroots fundraising goal!'

'There's just 36 hours left before our deadline,' Mellencamp warns.

The political parties are also trying get supporters to write checks before the deadline, each by trying to focus on what it perceives as the other party's soft spots for inspiration. For the Democrats, the 'target' is New Hampshire House speaker William O'Brien; for the Republican's, it's President Barack Obama.

'O'Brien's Corruption of Power,' headed NHDP chairman Raymond Buckley's Thursday fund-raising plea, focusing on O'Brien's surprise move Wednesday to take up and have the House vote on Gov. John Lynch's veto of the House redistricting plan.

'Bill O'Brien wants the state to take over Medicare -- and (GOP candidate for governor) Ovide Lamontagne has announced that it would be one of his top priorities if he was elected Governor,' claims Buckley in asking for contributions. 'We need to keep the governor's office and return sanity to the Legislature.'

'Obama's Flexibility' was the headline of NHGOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald's Friday fund-raising email in which he recounted President telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this week that after the election he will have 'more flexibility' on issues such as missile defense.

'The vision that President Obama, (and Democratic candidates for governor) Jackie Cilley and Maggie Hassan have for our country is to continue down this path of making the United States more like Europe,' MacDonald warns in his fund-raising plea.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, the NHDP raised $815,372 during 2011 and ended the year with $144,012 on hand. The party began filing reports monthly this year, and as of Feb. 29, it had $166,395 on hand.

The state GOP, which files twice a year, raised $389,705 during 2011 and had $55,627 on hand as of the end of last year.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is not up for reelection until 2014, but sent out a fund-raising plea of her own today, asking her supporters to give money to Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, who is running for reelection.

(Earlier updates and the full March 29 Granite Status follow.)

THURSDAY, MARCH 29, UPDATE: OUT BEFORE HE'S IN. Republican Seacoast businessman Steve Kenda flirted with the idea of running for governor this year, but has decided against it, citing 'realism' and saying it would be "unwise."

Kenda formed an exploratory committee in January and had spoken to various GOP and business groups, testing the proverbial political waters.

Today, he issued a statement saying, 'Realism is a leader's most basic qualification, and with that in mind, I have explored a run for governor with no illusions about the cost, the odds, the goals, and the rewards. And much as I want to help steer New Hampshire toward a brighter future, I have concluded that doing so this year would be unwise.'

Kenda, CEO of HireAbility in Londonderry, said he will continue to 'focus on employment and growth,' and, 'politically, I intend to keep my options open. To the extent that I can contribute constructively to the NHGOP, I will do so.'

Kenda's decision leaves Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith as the only two announced GOP candidates for governor, and Kenda spokesman Kate Schackai said he plans "no endorsement at this point."

She also said she is not aware of any plans by Kenda to run for any other political office this year.

Democrats in the race to succeed the outgoing John Lynch are former state Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley.

Kenda' decision is likely to intensify speculation that Carlisle One Media head and state GOP Finance Committee chairman Bill Binnie may get into the race.

Binnie, a 2010 candidate for the U.S. Senate, told the Granite Status this week, "I haven't ruled it out. I haven't ruled it in." See more from Binnie below.

(The full March 29 Granite Status follows.)

THURSDAY, MARCH 29: THE NEW HAMPSHIRE REUNION. Two top Granite State presidential campaign operatives met up in Green Bay, Wis., of all places, last Saturday night.

The encounter caught the attention of the 'Twitter-sphere.'

Ryan Williams, the Mitt Romney spokesman and former 'attack dog' spokesman for the New Hampshire Republican Party, told us he has been 'truth-squading' Rick Santorum's events lately to 'expose his numerous distortions and mistruths.'

So, Williams walked into Santorum's Louisiana primary victory party last Saturday at a bar in Green Bay - the site of the next primary next Tuesday - to put the Romney spin on things to reporters.

'This is the saddest, most pathetic victory party I've ever seen,' Williams was quoted as saying. 'Where are all the supporters?'

Just before Santorum arrived, in walked Manchester's Mike Biundo, Santorum's campaign manager, who's known Williams for quite some time.

'We shook hands and talked a bit - and then he asked me to leave,' Williams told the Status. 'Which I did.'

'I didn't think it was appropriate,' Biundo said later, according to a reporter in the Washington Examiner. 'They keep wanting to write this race off and say that it's done, yet they keep sending surrogates to our events to spin the press. They've been following us around for a while. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a coincidence that we were in the same bar.'

One reporter immediately tweeted: 'New Hampshire reunion: Santorum campaign manager Mike Biundo and @RyanGOP chat. Then @RyanGOP is asked to leave.'

Back in New Hampshire, state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, who felt the Ryan Williams verbal teeth daily in 2010, replied on Twitter: 'And did he leave? I should have tried that two years ago!'

It didn't stop there, however.

Williams continued to follow Santorum around on Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday night, Williams was in attendance when Santorum made big news by scolding New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny for asking Santorum to explain his comment that Romney is 'the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.'

No surprise to anyone in New Hampshire who knows Williams, or knows of him, it turns out Williams obviously had a big hand in prompting reporters to press Santorum on the comments, provoking the Santorum outburst.

According to an ABC News blog, on Monday Santorum 'accused Ryan Williams, a Romney spokesman who attended the Franksville rally Sunday, of feeding lines to reporters who then interrogated him on the rope line.'

'They sent a Romney person to our speech, he fed the line to all the reporters. We saw it happening,' Santorum said, according to ABC. 'And everybody in that room, even the reporters said, 'Oh, yes, we understood what you meant. But, you know, the Romney people said this to us, so we had to ask you about it.' That's what happened.'

Ryan Williams - at it again.

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THE SUNUNU CONNECTION. Williams' former boss in the NHGOP, former Gov. and Romney surrogate John H. Sununu, is proud to have members of his real and political families facing off on both sides of the Republican primary campaign for governor.

But Sununu made it clear to us earlier this week that he will not take sides in the contest between Ovide Lamontagne and Kevin Smith.

Long-time political operative Paul Collins has been hired to manage Lamontagne's campaign.

Collins got his start in politics 30 years ago when he worked on Sununu's initial campaign for governor and then as a special assistant in Sununu's governor's office. He followed Sununu to the Bush (41) White House in 1989 as a special assistant while Sununu was chief of staff.

He then hooked up with Sununu's son, John E., as a campaign manager, staffer and then, chief of staff during John E.'s years as a House member and U.S. senator.

Collins then became executive director of the NHGOP under the elder Sununu's chairmanship in 2009 and 2010.

Meanwhile, Sununu sons James and Michael, along with former long-time John E. Sununu aide Jamie Burnett, are managing Smith's campaign. Tom DeRosa, who worked with Collins and the elder Sununu as a key staffer at the NHGOP, is smiths political director.

Small state.

After our report on Collins broke on Tuesday, Smith's camp sent us a statement from John H. Sununu lauding DeRosa as 'a well-respected and dedicated professional who played an integral role in our historic Republican victories in 2010.'

Sununu told us later, 'They're all good, smart people, political junkies, good conservative Republicans and the campaigns are lucky to have them.

'It may disappoint some people, but I personally am not going to get involved in any primary this year, other than the presidential,' Sununu said. 'I'm not even going to allow myself, in the darkest corner of my mind, to have a preference. That way I won't slip up.

'The state is lucky to have a couple of good candidates like Ovide and Kevin running, and they are lucky to have a bunch of good operatives working for them.'

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ANDREW HEADED HOME. Newt Gingrich's former New Hampshire primary campaign manager is among the casualties of the big shakeup in the Gingrich campaign announced Tuesday night.

'It's a double-edged sword,' Andrew Hemingway told us a few hours after he had been told that his services will no longer be needed as of the end of the month.

'It's a good time to move on,' he said.

Hemingway, the former chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and a web/digital expert, has been on the staff at Gingrich's Washington headquarters since about a week after the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary.

'I am a part of the policy and digital communications team. Having fun!' he emailed the Status just last week.

He confirmed on Wednesday that, indeed, he was among the one-third of the staff laid off as part of the announced scaling back of the Gingrich campaign operation.

Gingrich also replaced his campaign manager and scaled back his schedule.

Still, Gingrich said he intends to stay in the GOP presidential race all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

'I talked to Newt this morning,' Hemingway said Wednesday. 'We hugged. He thanked me and I thanked him and he is definitely determined to go all the way to Tampa.'

As for Hemingway, 'It's been awesome. It's been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade the opportunity. I have no hard feelings toward Newt or anyone on the campaign. This is a sad reality of campaigning.

'I'm looking forward to getting back to New Hampshire and getting back involved in the political scene,' Hemingway said.

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NYQUIST STAFFS UP. Attorney Lee Nyquist of New Boston hasn't formally announced his candidacy for the District 9 state Senate seat yet, but he's taking all the necessary steps in that direction.

Democrat Nyquist, calling himself 'a very probable candidate,' told the Granite Status that he has hired staff, launched a campaign website, filed a campaign exploratory committee and is holding events in Bedford, New Boston, Jaffrey, and elsewhere around the district in the coming weeks.

Nyquist says he has hired campaign veteran and former state Rep. Kevin Hodges as his consultant, Mike Hoefer, managing editor of, to handle his website, and Doug Hasson of Bridge Communications, based in Connecticut and Washington, D.C., to focus on direct mail and other communications efforts.

Hoefer was state Sen. Molly Kelly's campaign manager, while Hodges has managed Senate candidate Bob Backus' campaign.

Deanna Powell of New Boston is Nyquist's volunteer coordinator and fiscal agent.

Nyquist will begin touring the district, with appearances scheduled for April 4 at the Bedford Library, April 24 in Jaffrey, and April 25 at the Whipple Free Library in New Boston.

The campaign's website is

'We've also been working very hard at fund-raising and have raised several thousand dollars,' Nyquist said.

Nyquist, an attorney and the long-time New Boston town moderator, has said that although District 9 has been highly Republican in the past, he believes that with the addition of what he views as more moderate towns through redistricting, he has a chance to win with his moderate message, a call for a return to 'collegiality' in Concord.

Republicans expected to run for the seat are state Rep. Ken Hawkins, R-Bedford, and state Sen. Andy Sanborn, who has said he expects to relocate from his home in Henniker to Bedford.

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SOUCY READIES CAMPAIGN. After serving as interim executive director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party for several months, long-time Manchester activist, former alderman and former state Senate Chief of Staff Donna Soucy was named chief financial officer of the party 'during the transition,' as the party announced new staff hires on Tuesday.

Why wasn't she named permanent executive director?

She is gearing up her race for the open state Senate seat in District 18. We've learned she is expected to announce in the next week or so.

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MAHONEY FOR OVIDE. Lamontagne will announce later today he is being endorsed by businessman and long-time GOP activist Sean Mahoney.

When Mahoney ran for the 1st District U.S. House seat in 2010, Collins was his campaign manager.

Mahoney is also a former Republican National Committeeman and former finance chairman of the NHGOP.

He will have a leading role on Lamontagne's finance committee.

Mahoney called Lamontagne 'a trusted conservative and a tested leader.'

He said Lamontagne's leadership in the public, private and non-profit sectors and 'his unwavering conservative principles' make him 'ideally suited' to be governor.

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51 FOR SMITH. GOP candidate for governor Kevin Smith today will roll out 51 new grassroots supporters.

Key names on the list include:

-- Renee Riedel-Plummer of Portsmouth, vice president of marketing at Two International Group, LLC.

-- Jane Lane of Keene, a former New Hampshire staffer for U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, and former long-time officer of the National Federation of Republican Women.

-- Police Chief Richard Crate of Enfield, an officer of the New Hampshire Associations of Chiefs of Police.

-- Linda Frawley of Belmont, a long-time activist for former Sen. John E. Sununu and a communications consultant.

The full list is on

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A BIG 'MAYBE.' Carlisle One Media head Bill Binnie, the current state Republican finance chairman and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate, says there's nothing new to report about a possible run for governor.

But he's keeping his proverbial powder dry.

'I've been consistent about this,' he said. 'I have been asked by a number of people. I'm very flattered to be asked. I am committed right now to being the chair of the finance committee and we are in the process of repairing and improving the finances of the NHGOP, which is going well.

'I haven't ruled it out. I haven't ruled it in,' said Binnie. 'I'm really honored to be asked and at the appropriate time I may consider it, but right now I'm really committed to fixing the financial issues we have as a party.'

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O'BRIEN V. NHDP. While the New Hampshire Democratic Party continues to wage a war of words against Republican Speaker of the House Bill O'Brien in the media and at party events, O'Brien continues his own battle against the party and chairman Buckley - in the courtroom.

O'Brien's lawsuit against the NHDP, filed in September 2011, continues in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

O'Brien is suing the party over Buckley's 2010 'robo calls' made in reaction to an O'Brien mailer at the time asking Democrats in his district to write him in on the Democratic ballot.

The party in August 2011 agreed to pay a $5,000 fine after the state Attorney General found the party had violated a state law because, the AG said, the calls failed to identify the name of the political organization paying for the call within the first 30 seconds of the call. The party denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay the fine to put the matter to rest.

O'Brien didn't let it rest, however, suing the NHDP in civil court, arguing that since there were 394 calls, the party should not only be fined $1,000 per call under the law, but the fine should be tripled to $3,000 per call for 'willful' violations - for a total of $1.182 million.

The party, of course, vehemently argues against O'Brien's allegations, and in one filing says that a fine of $1.182 million against the party 'will, in essence, result in the financial oblivion of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.'

The latest twist had Judge David Garfunkel ruling this week in favor of O'Brien's request to hold a bench trial and against the Democratic Party's motion to hold a jury trial.

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SUNUNU AND NOM. Former Gov. Sununu was named in a previously confidential 2010 memo by the pro-traditional marriage National Organization for Marriage as a potential help in overturning same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.

The memo, which was made public in a court case involving NOM in Maine, says that in trying to overturn same-sex marriage in New Hampshire, 'We are working with Republican Party chairman and former Governor John Sununu to implement a plan to defeat Governor Lynch and flip both houses of the legislature.'

The memo also said, 'The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.'

The state Democratic Party has called on GOP candidate for governor Smith, who was a lobbyist for NOM (he parted ways with NOM on March 22, after the vote to keep the same-sex marriage law in tact in New Hampshire), and Lamontagne, who also backs a repeal of same-sex marriage, to renounce NOM.

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FEUD FINISHED. The long-running redistricting stalemate between U.S. Reps Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass has been resolved.

Details were expected to be brought out on the state Senate floor late yesterday, but we've learned that both sides are happy with a deal that has Sanborton, Tilton and Campton moving from Bass's CD 2 to Guinta's CD1, and Deerfield, Northwood and Center Harbor moving from CD1 to CD2.

Bass had wanted to beef up the Republican vote in the district as he girds for a tough reelection battle with Democrat Ann McLane Kuster.

Guinta had refused to give up any of his key Republican towns.

This plan, we're told, helps Bass somewhat while preserving Guinta's slight lean-GOP district. It gives the 1st District swing towns that slightly lean GOP in exchange for swing towns that generally lean a little more heavily to the GOP.

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APPOINTMENT FOR KATRINA. Former congressional candidate Katrina Swett has been appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The appointment was made on Monday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The USCIRF was created by Congress as part of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and reauthorized by Congress in 2011.

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COLLINS MOVES TO MITT. The day before he was named Lamontagne's campaign manager, Paul Collins announced he's now a Mitt Romney delegate to the Republican National Convention.

Collins had been a delegate for Jon Huntsman, who dropped out of the presidential race shortly after finishing third in the New Hampshire Primary.

Also supporting Romney will be Huntsman alternate delegate Brad Blais.

Huntsman's other two New Hampshire delegates, consultant Sarah CrawfordStewart and business executive Renee Riedel-Plummer, told the Status they remain uncommitted.

While the state GOP had been allocated a total of 23 delegates, the Republican National Committee cut the total to 12 in sanctioning the state GOP after the state held its primary earlier than allowed by an RNC rule. According to the RNC, Romney will get seven of those delegates (prior to the Collins move), Ron Paul is allocated three, with two delegates 'unbound.'

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GOP DELEGATES POSTED. The Secretary of State's office has posted on its website the names of 17 delegates and 17 alternates for Romney and Paul. The list pre-dates the shift of Collins from Huntsman to Romney and ignores the sanction imposed by the RNC. It also does not include three 'super-delegates' - state GOP Chairman Wayne MacDonald, and Republican National Committee members Steve Duprey and Phyllis Wood, who would not be included as delegates if the sanction is enforced at the convention.

The Romney delegates, in addition to Collins, are former U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, former Gov. John H. Sununu, state Sens. David Boutin and Chuck Morse, attorney Tom Rath, former House speakers Douglas Scamman, Jr., and Donna Sytek, Beverly Bruce, former state GOP Chairman Gerald Carmen, Merrimack County Sheriff Scott Hilliard, Romney campaign adviser Jim Merrill and Executive Councilor Dan St. Hilaire.

Paul's delegates are state Sens. Jim Forsythe and Andy Sanborn, state Rep. Paul Mirski, Ron Noyes and Donna Mauro.

Former state Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan noted that only two of Romney's now 13 delegates and one of his 12 alternates are women, for a total of three out of 25 delegates and alternates.

'Just another example of how clueless the Romney campaign can be,' Sullivan emailed us. 'It isn't as if Republican attitudes toward women haven't been an issue lately!'

State Democrats are in the process of electing their 35 delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Party spokesman Sean Doyle said that the 18 who have been elected so far will elect the final 10 at-large delegates on April 28.

Monday marks the opening of the filing period for those 10 additional delegates and two alternates. Filing forms will be on on Monday morning or at the office, 105 North State St., Concord.

The party also will send seven automatic delegates, or'super-delegates' to Charlotte: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. John Lynch, NHDP Chairman Buckley, Vice Chair Martha Fuller Clark, and Democratic National Committee members Sullivan, Peter Burling and Joanne Dowdell.

Doyle noted that the delegates who are elected are equally divided between men and women.

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DENNEHY HELPING FRANK. Republican strategist Michael Dennehy says he has become increasingly impressed with U.S. Rep. Guinta during his past 15 months representing the state's 1st Congressional District.

So, Dennehy said, when Guinta asked him recently to become the treasurer of Guinta's new leadership PAC, Dennehy obliged.

Guinta this week announced the formation of 'GUINTAPAC: Getting Us Involved Now, Transitioning America, which, he said, 'will work to support individuals and organizations that share common-sense, small-government solutions for improving our economy and middle-class job creation.'

Leadership PACs, which are separate from campaign finance committees, are common among House members and senators, giving them a vehicle to make contributions to other member of Congress, their PACs and the PACs of other industries and interests.

By having a leadership PAC, a politician can increase his or her influence on Capitol Hill. It is sometimes an indication that they have their eye on a leadership position or higher office at some point in the future. Politicians cannot use leadership PAC proceeds for their own campaigns.

Both of New Hampshire's U.S. senators have leadership PACs. Shaheen's is A New Direction PAC, while Kelly Ayotte's is KellyPAC. Rep. Bass has the Monadnock PAC.

Former Sen. Gregg still has his White Mountain PAC and former Sen. John E. Sununu still has his Daniel Webster PAC.

Dennehy said that while he previously had not been politically close to Guinta, he was 'impressed with him over the debt-ceiling debate.'

Dennehy is now in the mix as Guinta begins to gear up a reelection campaign, but Dennehy said the new position does not mean he will be a part of Guinta's campaign. He said there have been no discussions along those lines.

John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News.

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