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June 22. 2014 12:31AM

Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Democrats and Republicans parties round out
 their next tickets in NH

DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS had one last chance to fill party tickets last week by naming candidates for any seats still vacant after the filing period closed June 13.

Democrats used the provision to file 34 candidates for House seats, though two were disallowed by Secretary of State Bill Gardner. Republicans filed only one candidate for the House.

Neither party filed candidates for the two open seats in state Senate races.

Not having the minority party file a candidate to challenge the sitting Senate president is somewhat of a tradition. This time, Democrats did not file anyone to run against Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, in District 22. Democrats may not be that unhappy with Morse, who helped them achieve perhaps their No. 1 priority this session, Medicaid expansion.

But it's far more likely the Democrats are not challenging Morse because District 22 is heavily Republican.

However, District 16, which includes the three northern wards in Manchester as well as Candia, Hooksett, Bow and Dunbarton, is a different story.

While the district may lean Republican, the race in 2012 between Republican incumbent David Burton of Hooksett and Manchester Democrat Kathleen Kelley was decided by less than 400 votes.

Democrats were hoping Patrick Arnold- who lost a close race to former District 16 Sen. and current Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas - would run, but he took himself out of the competition, and no one else stepped forward.

It is hard to imagine Democratic state party Chairman Raymond Buckley of Manchester won't find someone for a write-in campaign to make sure the seat is contested in November, especially when a bitter Republican primary is in the offering between Boutin and Jane Cormier, a representative who resigned last month after she moved to Hooksett from Alton.

On the Republican side, the party did not file candidates in two open state Senate races, District 5 and District 10.

Both seats are solidly Democratic, but Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover, is a first-term senator, though he represented Hanover in the House for several terms.

Some of the bills Pierce has sponsored during the session have been opposed by Republicans, but again, why waste the time and money.

The same is true in District 10, where Sen. Molly Kelly, D-Keene, is serving her fourth term. And much like in District 5, no strong Republican candidate is readily apparent, so the two senators are likely to have a free ride come November.

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Primaries: The Democrats have few primaries for the top of the ticket, offices including governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. representative, Executive Council and state Senate.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has two challengers, one a Free Stater with his own radio show in Keene, but U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, 1st District U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and 2nd District U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster are running unopposed, as you might expect for incumbents.

There are two primaries for Executive Council seats, in District 4, where incumbent Chris Pappas is challenged by Maria Chilson of Manchester, and in District 5, where former Rep. Jennifer Daler of Temple faces Nashua Alderman Diane Sheehan for the seat held by Debora Pignatelli, D-Nashua, who decided not to seek reelection.

There is only one state Senate primary, in District 15, the seat long held by former Senate President Sylvia Larsen of Concord. Two Concord residents, Kass Ardinger and Dan Feltes, are facing off.

The Republican side is a different story, with four candidates for governor, two with a shot at winning the primary, and 10 running for U.S. Senate, three of them major candidates.

The 1st Congressional District has four candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta of Manchester, and former University of New Hampshire business school dean Dan Innis of Portsmouth.

In the 2nd Congressional District, there are also four candidates, two of which are well-funded and therefore have a shot at winning the primary: former state Sen. Gary Lambert of Nashua and current state Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem.

Republicans have two primaries for Executive Council seats in District 4, with Jim Adams of Pittsfield taking on last year's nominee, Robert Burns of Manchester.

The District 5 race pits former Executive Councilor David Wheeler of Milford and Steve Hattamer of Hollis.

Republicans have nine primaries for state Senate races, including against four incumbents in District 2, District 16, District 17 and District 24. The District 11 race for the seat left vacant when former Senate President Peter Bragdon of Milford resigned has a four-candidate field vying in the decidedly Republican district.

Other primaries are in Districts 8, 11, 12, 18, 19 and 21. Three candidates are vying for the District 19 and 21 nominations.

While primaries can be bitter and costly, they do drive up interest and turn out the party base.

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Ballot Law Commission: The Ballot Law Commission meets June 30 at 9:30 a.m. in Rooms 301-303 of the Legislative Office Building to decide questions related to three people.On the day he filed to run, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein asked the BLC to settle before the primary election the question of his eligibility to become governor.

Democratic Party officials claim he does not meet state residency requirements because he lived in Maryland as recently as 2012. They say he took advantage of a homestead property tax credit available only to Maryland residents, registered a vehicle in that state and held a Maryland driver's license.

Havenstein maintains New Hampshire has been his residence since he moved to Bedford in 1999, although he lived temporarily in Maryland from 2007 through 2012.

Havenstein said he wants to end any uncertainty or confusion over his official domicile and eligibility.

"Rather than wait for frivolous complaints, I want to get this clarified as quickly as we can," Havenstein said when he filed for governor this month. "I'm 100 percent confident there will be no issue with my eligibility."

New Hampshire requires a governor to have lived in the state for seven years before holding office.

Nashua's Stacie Laughton wants to run for the House, but Gardner ruled she cannot.

Laughton was the state's first openly transgender legislator when she was elected to the House in 2012. She withdrew from the office before being sworn in after revelations that she still had unpaid restitution following a 2008 conviction for fraudulent credit card use.

Until her sentence is served or dismissed, she cannot run for the House, Gardner ruled, and she is appealing that decision.

The third case involves an out-of-state resident who wants to run for the 1st Congressional District seat. Allan Levene of Georgia said he would be a resident of the state by the time he was sworn in, but Gardner said that is not permissible under the state constitution.Gardner made a similar ruling against Democrat William Bryk of Brooklyn, N.,Y., who wanted to run in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Bryk did not contest Gardner's ruling, but Levene is.

grayno@unionleader.com





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