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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Final report: Hassan campaign raised $1.91 million, spent $1.86 million

Senior Political Reporter

November 14. 2012 11:26AM

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14, UPDATE: SANBORN BACKS CHANDLER. After deciding not to run for New Hampshire House Minority Leader, Rep.-elect Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, has decided to endorse Speaker Pro Tem Gene Chandler over Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker.

'We need to begin the process of rebuilding the Republican party, and it starts with choosing a leader at the State House who understands our core values and can effectively convey them to the people of New Hampshire,' Sanborn said. 'Gene Chandler is a proven leader with the ability to bring people together and solve problems.'

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14, UPDATE: MAGGIE'S FINAL NUMBERS. Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan's campaign raised $1,916,738 from 7,648 contributors, including 7,554 individual contributors, during her successful campaign.

Hassan's final campaign finance report, to be filed later today, also shows that she spent $1,865,33. She ended the campaign with $35,009 on hand.

Her report shows she raised $96,985 during the final reporting period, Oct. 30 to Nov. 6.

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14, UPDATE: CHAT WITH THE GOV. Former Govs. John H. Sununu, Steve Merrill and Craig Benson will be featured in a 'fireside chat' at the annual Josiah Bartlett Dinner on Dec. 4.

Retiring Executive Councilor and former Manchester Mayor Ray Wieczorek will be honored.

The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy is a conservative self-described non-profit, non-partisan research center and think tank.

The dinner will be held at the Grappone Center in Concord beginning at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, with dinner at 7 p.m.

Wieczorek will receive the center's 2012 Libertas Award.

Ticket/contribution levels range from $100 to $10,000.

For more information please contact Robin Anderson at

or visit

All three former Republican governors were active in the just-concluded election. Sununu was a top -- and often controversial -- national surrogate for Mitt Romney, while Benson supported Kevin Smith and then Ovide Lamontagne for governor. Merrill was also a top Lamontagne backer.

It should be interesting to hear their views on the results.

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

TUESDAY, NOV. 13, UPDATE: THE 'COSMO 100.' Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan rubbed elbows with some of New York's most famous and influential women at an exclusive luncheon on Monday.

Hassan was among a group of women politicians recognized at the 'Cosmo 100 Lunch' at Michael's restaurant in Manhattan.

According to, the event, organized by Cosmopolitan magazine, honored New York's 100 most influential women, including actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Westfeldt, 'fashion icons' Diane Von Furstenburg and Carmen Dell'Orefice and 'media power players' Randi Zuckerberg and Meryl Poster.

Also reported to have attended were CBS' Gayle King, Lara Spencer and Deborah Roberts, MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, Ali Wentworth, comedian, author and wife of ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Lisa Caputo, Sallie Krawcheck, Pat Mitchell, Pat Fili-Krushel, Gillian Flynn, Jessica Seinfeld and Lauren Bush Lauren.

'But the biggest applause was saved for the handful of female politicians on hand, including New Hampshire Governor-elect Maggie Hassan, Hawaii Congresswoman-elect Tulsi Gabbard, and New York Congresswoman-elect Grace Meng,' Adweek reported.

Hassan spokesman Marc Goldberg said the luncheon 'was an opportunity for prominent women to come together to talk about women in leadership.'

Hassan will be the only woman Democratic governor in the country when she takes office in January.

Hassan has also announced that her transition team will be headed by Pamela Walsh, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. John Lynch and former press secretary for former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

Hassan's transition office will open on Wednesday on Hazen Drive in Concord.

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

FRIDAY, NOV. 9, UPDATE: WOMEN RULE, CONTINUED. As we report below, New Hampshire made history on Tuesday by putting the finishing touches on the first-ever-in-the-nation all-women congressional delegation when voters elected Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster to the U.S. House to join U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte in Washington.

The state, of course, also elected its second woman governor in Maggie Hassan.

Today, the 'women rule' theme of New Hampshire elected leadership continued when state Senate Democrats chose Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, as the leader of their minority caucus. It marked the sixth time she has been chosen the Democrats' leader.

She served as Senate President when Democrats controlled the Senate from 2006 through 2010.

In the House, former Speaker Rep. Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, is the leading candidate to again become the new Democratic majority's choice for Speaker, while current Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker, R-Greenland, is a strong candidate to become the House Minority Leader.

State legislative leadership leaders will be officially chosen on Dec. 5 with Hassan and the new Congress taking office in January.

So, by early January, New Hampshire elected leadership lineup could look like this:

- Governor: Hassan (D)

- U.S. Senators: Shaheen (D), Ayotte (R);

- U.S. Reps. : Shea-Porter (D); Kuster (D)

- New Hampshire House Speaker: Norelli (D)

- House Minority Leader: Tucker (R)

- Senate Minority Leader: Larsen (D).

While Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, is also running for House speaker, and Rep. Gene Chandler is also running for House minority leader, under this very possible scenario, the lone man in the leadership mix would be Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, who was unofficially named to lead the Senate majority caucus on Wednesday and was chosen in an official caucus vote today.

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

FRIDAY, NOV. 9, UPDATE: HURST MAY SEEK CHAIRMANSHIP. State Republican Party vice chairman Cliff Hurst confirmed today he is considering running for chairman of the party.

The state committee will choose its leadership in January.

Hurst, the three-time chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee, said he was flattered by a new Facebook page and web site set up to draft him to run.

He said he had 'nothing to do' with them but said he intended to consider a candidacy through the weekend and speak with current chairman Wayne MacDonald, who also has yet to decide if he will run for a full term.

Hurst said he was unsure if he would run against MacDonald if MacDonald runs, but he did not rule it out.

Hurst co-chaired the state presidential campaigns of Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Tim Pawlenty, who ran briefly for President in the early stages of the 2012 campaign.

Republican supporters of Hurst tell the Granite Status they believe he has the ability to unite the party because he appeals to all factions of the party.

Meanwhile, in the race shaping up for Republican leader of the House, outgoing state Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, said he is helping Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker's campaign for minority leader and that she 'has already reached' receiving support form at least one-third of the caucus.

Friday afternoon, Tucker released an initial list of 70 supporters in the 178-member caucus. The number may change depending on recounts.

Bates said it appears the race for minority leader will boil down to Tucker, R-Greenland, versus former House speaker Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, the current Speaker Pro Tem.

State Rep.-elect Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, was also considering running for minority leader, but decided against it.

House Democrats will chose their candidate for speaker on Nov. 17. House Republicans will caucus on Nov. 15 to chose their leader.

There will be no corresponding drama in the state Senate. Republicans, who have a 13-11 majority, have made Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, their choice for Senate President and Sen. Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, has been chosen Senate Democratic Leader by her colleagues.

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

THURSDAY, NOV. 8, UPDATE: State Rep.-elect Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, said late Thursday she is considering running for New Hampshire House Republican leader.

(Update: Wednesday, Nov. 8: After considering it for several days, Sanborn said she will not be a candidate because she does not want to "divide the party.")

Sanborn resigned from the House in June at the same time her husband, Andy, resigned from the state Senate. They relocated from Henniker to Bedford and ran for the House and Senate again.

Both won on Tuesday, although Andy Sanborn's opponent, Democrat Lee Nyquist, on Thursday filed for a recount of the close finish in Senate District 9.

Laurie Sanborn won her House seat by a 61 to 39 percent landslide.

Democrats won the majority in the House on Tuesday and speaker Bill O'Brien has since said he will not seek the leadership of the minority caucus.

Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker and former speaker Gene Chandler have said they are candidates for GOP leader.

Laurie Sanborn told the Granite Status Thursday evening she has been 'getting calls from Legislators, asking me to consider running for House Minority Leader.

'While the reasons are broad, most say this is a result of my success in creating and running the House Business Caucus, combined with my strong business background,' she wrote in an email.

'Additionally, it is time to bring our party back together in an inclusive, respectful, success-oriented way, and prove to the voters we, as Republicans, have the solutions to solve our economic challenges.

'Many of us know the voters have been exceptionally clear that respectful decorum is required in politics and we cannot go back to divisive ways,' Sanborn wrote. 'That is not to say we give up on our principles but we can and have to communicate in a polite manner.

'A group of supporters and I will be discussing the future of our party and I will make a final decision soon,' Sanborn wrote.

(Earlier updates and the full Nov. 8 Granite Status follow.)

THURSDAY, NOV. 8, UPDATE: O'BRIEN'S CHOICES. House speaker Bill O'Brien today quickly ended speculation that he may run for chairman of the state Republican Party in January.

He told the Granite Status he has no interest in the post currently held by Wayne MacDonald.

'If I were going to stay engaged, it would have been as House Republican Leader,' said O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, who was forced to give up his position as speaker by the election results, which put Democrats in the majority in the House.

O'Brien said he has no interest in being the leader of the minority caucus in the House, either.

Instead, for the House GOP leadership post, he said he favors Deputy Speaker Pam Tucker, R-Greenland, over Speaker Pro Tem Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, whom he described as 'the two principal candidates.' He said he considers both friends.

'My take on it is that I think Pam Tucker would be a great person to lead the House Republicans,' O'Brien said. 'I think it's maybe time for some of us who have been there a while to step back a little bit and let there be a new face for the party.'

Tucker endorsed O'Brien for speaker two years ago, while Chandler ran against him.

Republican House members will caucus on Nov. 15 to choose a leader. The majority Democrats will caucus on Nov. 17 and are expected to choose between Reps. Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, the former speaker, and Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, for their leader.

House members will officially choose a speaker on Dec. 5.

O'Brien, who won reelection as a House member, said he intends to now 'reach a different balance' personally by re-starting his law practice, which he said he almost entirely abandoned while he worked '60 to 70 hours a week' as speaker, and 'meet my obligations as a back-bencher' in the House.

That is also why he has no interest in running for state GOP chairman when the party makes its choice in January.

'Whoever is party chairman should approach the role as a full-time job, just as you do as House speaker,' O'Brien said.

He said he sees 'merit' in the party considering paying a full time chairman.

Meanwhile, current NHGOP chairman MacDonald said he has not yet decided whether he will seek a full term as chairman.

MacDonald, the former vice chairman, became chairman after former chairman Jack Kimball resigned in October 2011. MacDonald is currently filling Kimball's unexpired term.

'I want to give it a week or a week-and-a-half to shake out at this point,' MacDonald said. 'I want to let things settle before I make my decision. Whatever I do I want to make sure the party is in good hands and moving in the right direction."

Conservative Jennifer Horn, founder of the 'We the People' advocacy group and a former congressional candidate, confirmed she has been approached by party activists over the past two days asking her to consider running for party chair.

She has not decided, she said, but 'I do think we need to re-group and rebuild and reevaluate how we ended up as we did on Tuesday and have serious and honest conversations about what kind of leadership will get us where we need to be.

'The people who have reached out to me are people that I respect and care about and I take them seriously,' Horn said. 'I will give it serious consideration but whether I will run is not decided, yet.'

State Republicans will soon hold caucuses throughout the state to choose state committee members. The state committee will meet in late January to choose its leadership. The first caucus is in Derry on Tuesday.

(The full Nov. 8 Granite Status follows.)

THURSDAY, NOV. 8: WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? Another November, another wave election in New Hampshire.

Two years ago, the wave was Republican red. Tuesday it was Democratic blue.

So what else is new?

Tuesday marked the fifth wave election in the past six New Hampshire campaigns.

The state went red in 2002 and 2010 and blue in 2006, 2008, and now in 2012.

Why has the state become so - well - bi-polar?

This year, there were several factors:

-- Displeasure with the "Tea Party" nature of the New Hampshire Republican Party over the past two years, embodied by soon-to-be former House speaker Bill O'Brien and, to a lesser degree, Ovide Lamontagne and Frank Guinta.

-- A weak top of the ticket in Mitt Romney, who, despite his home here, was never, in two tries, able to fully connect with this state.

-- A strong close by President Barack Obama, with a massive get-out-the-vote effort by his campaign and a rejuvenated overall state Democratic operation that bounced back from its own debacle in 2010.

-- A sharp, textbook campaign by Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan in the mold of John Lynch and Jeanne Shaheen.

-- A passive campaign by Lamontagne, who gave further credence to the age-old notion that nice guys finish last.

We'll get to all that shortly, but first, history.

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REMEMBERING SUSAN. "Heaven is abuzz with election results," U.S. Rep.-elect Ann Kuster said Wednesday.

She was referring to her late mother, former state Sen. Susan McLane, who served in the New Hampshire Legislature for a quarter of a century and was an early proponent of recruiting New Hampshire women to become active in government.

Perhaps McLane's dream is fulfilled now that New Hampshire made history by completing the first-ever-in-the-nation all-women congressional delegation, not to mention it will have a woman governor, too.

In January, Kuster will join Carol Shea-Porter in the U.S. House while Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte will continue in the U.S. Senate.

But as Kuster pointed out, "It's no fluke."

Dating back to the days when her mother chaired the House Ways and Means Committee and went on to become a powerful player in the state Senate, New Hampshire has long had women of both political parties in prominent roles in Concord.

Some who come to mind are the late House Majority Leader Caroline Gross, Donna Sytek, the first woman New Hampshire House speaker; Vesta Roy, the first woman Senate President; former seven-term state Sen. Eileen Foley and former House Democratic Leader Mary Chambers, who was the first woman House leader of either party.

Former House speaker Terie Norelli may be speaker again, although she is expected to have a contested race.

We could go on.

Shaheen recalled in an interview that when she was took office as governor, Sytek headed the House and Beverly Hollingworth, who lost a bid to return to the Senate on Tuesday, was the Senate President.

"We were the first in the country to have that," Shaheen recalled. "We also elected an all-woman majority leadership of the state Senate, for the first time in the country."

Hassan and Kuster call Shaheen their mentor. Shaheen said Susan McLane was a mentor of sorts to her.

"She was one of the people who reached out to me and offered support and help over the years when I was getting involved in politics, so it's really exciting to see it come full circle," said Shaheen, the first woman in the country to serve as a governor and U.S. Senator.

"What happened Tuesday is a great testament to the voters of New Hampshire who clearly understand that it's not about gender, but that it's about what your views are and what expertise and ability you bring to the job.

"For a very long time, we had the highest percentage of women in our state Legislature. We've had women being ground-breakers for a very long time," Shaheen said.

Hassan said the state's tradition of being gender-blind "shows that voters care about solving problems. They want to bring whatever the right experience and perspective is to the problem, and this time that happened to be women who were running for office."

Former and future U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said she felt "blessed" in 2006 to become the first woman Granite Stater to serve in the U.S. House, "and now I'm fortunate enough to be part of history again."

She said she had "a very nice call" with Republican Ayotte on Wednesday, "and discussed the passion we share for serving our military men and women."

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WHY THE SWINGS? There was plenty of analysis to go around on why what happened on Tuesday really happened.

Fairly or unfairly, plenty of blame was placed on the GOP majority in the New Hampshire House and now outgoing speaker O'Brien.

Shaheen said the regular shifts in the mood of the voters "is a reflection of how they feel about the decisions being made by the policy-makers at the time."

She called the Tuesday vote "a repudiation of the extreme agenda that people perceived in the state Legislature. It was a clear signal that they want to keep things moving forward in the direction of John Lynch and moderation and the progress the state has made in so many areas."

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Republican, was tossed out of the U.S. House in 2006 by Shea-Porter riding a big blue wave.

This time, he said, "There was a perception among independent voters that this Legislature over-reached and didn't focus on jobs and the economy and got sidetracked on ideological issues, the same way the Democrats got sidetracked two years ago."

He said the Senate "focused on what matters," and, as a result, didn't flip, as the House did.

In the governor's race, Bradley said, "Maggie and her team did a better job of painting Ovide as an ultra-conservative than Ovide and his team did painting her as a ultra-liberal."

Bradley said Hassan, while liberal, "knows you've got to govern from the middle. When I debated her in the Senate, I always had to bring my 'A' game."

Then, there was the grassroots.

Shaheen called the state Obama organization "exemplary, probably one of the best campaign efforts I've ever seen in New Hampshire."

And she's been working on New Hampshire campaigns since 1980.

She noted that with contested races in Massachusetts and Maine, the vast majority of volunteers in the state were not imported from other states, but were "New Hampshire folks who felt strongly about the election."

State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley contained his joy at the results long enough for a pragmatic analysis.

"We are truly a purple state," he said, "and so all it takes is a slight movement one way or another to flip the whole thing.

"In 2010, just enough Democrats sat home. In 2012, just enough Democrats showed up.

"Where the Republicans seem to be a little bit more consistent, Democrats are fluctuating a little more about whether we're showing up or not, and that makes a world of difference," said Buckley.

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NEXT UP? 2014 is just around the corner, politically speaking.

Who, from the GOP point of view, are the survivors of the Tuesday debacle and the most likely top players going forward?

Lamontagne, now "oh-for-four," has probably seen his last race.

Kevin Smith, who was blown away in the September gubernatorial primary by Lamontagne but who ran a thoughtful, articulate first-time race, emerges as a strong potential candidate to take on Hassan in two years.

Smith did an effective job heading the No Income Tax PAC. Although Question 1, to place an income tax ban in the constitution, failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority, it was supported by 57 percent. Not a bad showing.

He was not ruling out a candidacy on Wednesday, but said, "In the immediate future I plan to be involved in rebuilding the party and making sure we rebound and have a strong 2014 election."

Very early speculation for governor is also centering on Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, state Sen. Chuck Morse, Bradley, former RNC member and congressional hopeful Sean Mahoney and fellow former U.S. House candidate Rich Ashooh.

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STARTING EARLY. And, of course, the other big 2014 race will be for the U.S. Senate.

Shaheen reiterated Wednesday she intends to seek reelection and intends to get started soon.

"Sadly, the world we're in is that there is so much outside money in the campaign that you have to start early," she said.

Who emerges to take her on?

John E. Sununu is the obvious first name to come up, but if he shuns a rubber match with Shaheen, attention turns to Bradley and Guinta.

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This week's loss probably won't deter Guinta from strongly considering running again for a major office, whether it's the House or Senate.

After all, our next governor lost to Russell Prescott two years ago. As we know, the political pendulum swings and '14 will be another mid-term election.

Others on the GOP "bench" for top offices include businessman Fred Tausch, who ran the advocacy group STEWARD of Prosperity; former congressional candidate Jennifer Horn; outgoing state Sen. Gary Lambert; Portsmouth attorney John Lyons; and, if he's not too busy building a media empire, former U.S. Senate candidate Bill Binnie.

More immediately, the state GOP will select a chairman in January. Names we've heard on that front include Horn and, yes, O'Brien.

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John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at Twitter: @jdistaso.

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