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Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Lamontagne's campaign coffers dwarf those of rivals in race for governor

State House Bureau

August 26. 2012 1:55AM

WHO HAS THE MONEY? With just weeks to go before the Sept. 11 primary, candidates filed their contribution and expenditure reports with the Secretary of State's Office last week.

Judging from the reports, don't expect any shocking upsets in the governor's contests.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan outraised their opponents by large margins and in Hassan's case outspent everyone.

Lamontagne is sitting on the biggest pile of money if something unexpected occurs in the final few weeks.

Lamontagne raised $1.184 million for his campaign, spent $465,838, and has $718,362 in cash.

His campaign says 88 percent of his contributions come from New Hampshire residents, political organizations and businesses.

Lamontagne's Republican opponent, Kevin Smith, raised $324,037, spent $222,914 and has $101,123 in cash.

Unlike Lamontagne's contributions, which mainly come from individuals, much of it in small contributions, almost half of Smith's money is from out-of-state limited liability companies (LLCs), many of them associated with Dunkin' Donuts' franchises. If that sounds familiar, that is because former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Stephen raised a great deal of money from similar if not the same out-of-state LLCs when he ran against Gov. John Lynch in 2010.

On the Democratic side, Hassan raised $930,135, spent $828,535 and has $100,585 in cash.

Much of Hassan's funds have been spent on staff to build her ground game, but she has also spent nearly $100,000 for television ads and time booked for the future.

More than 3,100 people, including people from 200 New Hampshire cities and towns, have contributed to the Hassan campaign, said Matt Burgess, Hassan's campaign manager, noting 64 percent of Hassan's donors have given $100 or less.

Democratic opponent Jackie Cilley raised $233,165, spent $180,692 and has $52,472 in cash for the final three weeks of the campaign.

For the reporting period, 95 percent of Cilley's supporters live in New Hampshire with 84.5 percent contributing $100 or less and 58 percent $50 or less, her campaign said.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Kennedy did not file a campaign contribution and expenditure report.

Two Democrats in Executive Council races have raised some considerable money for their runs, Colin Van Ostern in the District 2 race and Chris Pappas in the District 3 race.

Van Ostern raised $153,088, spent $29,020 and has $124,068 in cash on hand, while Pappas raised $106,442, spent $29,203 and has $77,239 in the bank.

Pappas raised more than the three Republicans running to face him combined.

State Senate candidates also have raised some considerable funds for their races, particularly Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester, who has collected $305,247, spent $94,929 and has cash of $210,318. His opponent in the District 20 race, Alderman and Rep. Phil Greazzo, R-Manchester, raised $8,280, spent $4,560 and has $3,720 in cash.

Also raising considerable money is former Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, who is seeking the District 9 seat after serving as the District 7 senator. Sanborn raised $110,006, spent $29,325 and has $80,671 left in cash. Sanborn contributed about $25,000 to his own campaign.

His opponent, Rep. Ken Hawkins, has raised about $38,000 and spent about half of it.

Another contribution and expenditure report is due in two weeks.

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RESTORATION WORK: Lost in the matter of the Gov. Henry W. Keyes portrait and who is in the enhanced photo was a painting-restoration project the Joint Legislative Historical Committee approved last week along with its decision to remove the Keyes portrait until the issue is resolved.

Under the plan, seven paintings would be restored by a conservator recommended by the New Hampshire Historical Society and the Currier Museum of Art.

Committee Chairman Rep. Rob Rowe, R-Amherst, noted there are 207 paintings in the State House that were surveyed by Carey Johnson of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Virginia Drew, Visitors Center director.

He noted that 50 needed work, while seven where chosen to begin the project, with the work ranging from minor fixes to major repairs.

The committee decided to move ahead with the work, which will cost about $3,000.

The committee has a budget of $10,000 a year, which if not used rolls over into the committee's fund. The fund has $73,986 tucked away.

The portraits to be restored are those of Govs. James Reed, Samuel Dinsmoor, Hiram Tuttle and Jared Williams. Also, work will be done on portraits of Edmund Burke, Lemuel Patte and Woodbury Langdon.

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LIQUOR COMMISSION STUDY: While House Speaker William O'Brien continued to turn up the heat on the state Liquor Commission last week, he finally did what most expected him to do: appoint a special committee to investigate what has become a very controversial agency.

In a statement naming the committee, O'Brien said, 'The hard-working taxpayers surely deserve answers about how their money is being spent, and this committee will find out if there is mismanagement, waste or illegal activities taking place in a $550 million-a-year state organization.'

Along with the committee, O'Brien has filed about half a dozen right-to-know requests seeking information from the commission.

'As the speaker said, 'You just keep knocking over rocks and see what you can find,' said House Chief of Staff Greg Moore. 'And the more rocks you knock over, the more people you find who come to you with concerns.'

O'Brien has also filed a right-to-know request with the Attorney General's Office over its preliminary investigation into allegations the commission illegally hired a lobbyist under the guise of paying for a feasibility study.

O'Brien has voiced concerns in the past that the investigation conducted by Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice, which cleared the commissioners of any wrongdoing, never included talks with House Commerce Committee Chairman John Hunt, R-Rindge, or Enforcement Division Chief Eddie Edwards, key people who could have shed light on the situation.

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LGC DECISION FALLOUT: Predictably, the Local Government Center's board of directors voted to ask the administrative hearings officer to reconsider his decision to have the organization rebate $50 million to the cities and towns it covers through its health care insurance program.

The decision by Donald Mitchell also requires the center to separate its risk pool programs, such as workers' compensation, property and liability, and health insurance programs with separate boards of directors.

The secretary of state and the Bureau of Securities Regulation, which brought charges against the LGC, will hold a public forum Monday at 7 p.m. in the McConnell Center Cafeteria in Dover to explain the decision.

In February, the Dover City Council requested the secretary of state's help to recover money the city believes it is owed by the LGC.

The city sought the return of $282,000 it paid in health insurance premiums that had been diverted to help support the center's workers' compensation insurance program.

The Secretary of State's Office is in charge of regulating the risk pools run by the LGC, Primex and SchoolCare.

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RNC RULES COMMITTEE VOTE: State Republicans are touting the recent Republican National Committee Rules Committee vote to institute harsher penalties for states that move their presidential selection primaries and caucuses into the window reserved for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Last year, Florida moved its primary into the window, causing a domino effect that moved the Iowa caucuses to two days after New Year's Day and New Hampshire about a week later.

When Iowa and New Hampshire moved to adjust to Florida's change, they also had their convention delegations cut in half.

The new rule would protect the delegates for the early primary and caucus states, but a new 'super penalty' would cause any state that broke party rules to lose all but nine delegates.

The new rules also carve out the four early states, so they won't suffer the same fate they experienced this year with their delegations cut in half.

Under the proposed rule, the four states would not be penalized if they have to move their contests to preserve their early status.

'Preserving our First-in-the-Nation primary is our top priority,' said Republican State Party Chairman Wayne MacDonald. 'This win will protect both the delegates to the national convention, as well as protect our historic position in the primary process.''

The new rules have to go to the convention floor, where anything can happen, particularly in rebel Florida, where the gathering will be held.

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Garry Rayno may be reached at

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