THE STATE CANDIDATES' first required contribution and expenditure reports were due last week and the money raised just grows and grows.
Only one of the gubernatorial candidates flexed real fundraising muscle, Gov Maggie Hassan. Sheraised $2.1 million, including funds under her exploratory political action committee.
Her take for the August report was the largest since Gov. Craig Benson dropped several more million on his effort to win the Republican primary in 2002.
The GOP has spent considerable time talking about the $33,000 Hassan had to return to two union PACs, but that is a drop in the bucket to what she raised overall. The money was reported as both contributions and expenditures going back to the unions.
Her largest donation - $50,000 - came from Emily's List, which supports pro-choice, Democratic women.
The two major Republican gubernatorial contenders had difficulty raising money, unless it was their own.
Former BAE CEO Walter Havenstein's campaign raised $1.99 million, but $1.5 million, or three-quarters of that was money he gave his campaign.
Earlier, Havenstein said he had no intention of self-funding, but obviously he is doing just that. There could be two reasons: it is difficult to raise money when you have plenty of it to spend (as Benson found out), or contributors want to see a buy-in from the candidate before they ante up.
The other Republican, Tea Party activist and entrepreneur Andrew Hemingway raised an anemic $100,245 - and about a quarter of it was his own money.
Hemingway released a two-word statement: "David Brat." That's a reference to the Virginia Tea Party candidate who was significantly outspent by U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor but who won the GOP primary for a U.S. House seat.
However much any of the three candidates raises between now and the general election in November will pale compared to the outside money that will pour into the race from special interest groups.
Not that long ago, raising $50,000 or $60,000 for an executive council campaign would be enough to win re-election, or at least make it a competitive race.
District 4 incumbent Chris Pappas, D-Manchester, raised a record $133,000 to date for his re-election bid and has cash of $109,000. He has a primary opponent in Maria A. Chilson of Manchester. She didn't file a report. You don't have to file a report if you raise less than $500.
On the Republican side, former U.S. Postal administrator Jim Adams of Pittsfield raised $36,499 and has $16,960 on hand, while Robert Burns of Manchester, who lost to Pappas two years ago, raised $3,525 and has about $700 in cash.
The other Democratic young turk on the council, District 2 Councilor Colin Van Ostern of Concord, raised $106,128 and has cash of $73,761. Republican Timothy Dillon of Concord did not file a report.
More big money was raised in the District 5 GOP primary between Steve Hattamer of Hollis and former councilor David Wheeler of Milford.
Hattamer raised $90,940 and has cash of $55,977, which prompted Wheeler to note that 98 percent of Hattamer's contributions come from people in the health care industry. Hattamer is a Nashua anesthesiologist. How is he going to vote on Medicaid or Medicare contracts before the council? Wheeler asked.
Wheeler raised $21,844 and has cash of $16,887. Wheeler loaned his campaign about $5,000.
On the Democratic side, former Rep. Jennifer Daler of Temple raised $6,901 and has $3,834 in cash, while Nashua alderman Diane Sheehan raised $5,728 but spent $11,654.
The GOP young turk on the council, District 3 Councilor Chris Sununu of Newfields, raised $67,938 and has cash of $51,493, while Democratic opponent Robin McLane of Portsmouth raised $4,693 and has cash of $3,106.
District 1 councilor Joe Kenney, R-Wakefield, did not file a report. Reached Friday on his way back from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on active duty with his Marine reserve unit, Kenney said he did not raise the $500 threshold to file a report, but intends to begin fundraising soon.
"I do not have a primary so I was not focusing in on it," Kenney said, "but I will be, I will be."
Kenney faces a rematch with Michael Cryans, D-Hanover, who lost the special election on town meeting day, but raised $28,962 and has cash of $20,357.
There are several key primaries for Republicans that will go a long way in determining whether Republicans hold control of the state Senate, grow their numbers or watch Democrats take over again after four years.
Aaron Day and the N.H. Republican Liberty Caucus and American for Prosperity NH have targeted Republicans who voted for Medicaid expansion and the gas tax increase including Sens. David Boutin, R-Hooksett; and Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton and both have tough primaries.
These along with three other Republican primaries will determine whether it is far more likely Democrats will hold on to their seats or if more Democrats will be in play for the general election.
Republicans believe Sen. Peggy Gilmour, D-Hollis, is vulnerable in the district that is more Republican after the political boundaries were redrawn two years ago.
The Republican primary for that District 12 seat pits Rep. Michael McCarthy against former Rep. Kevin Avard, both from Nashua. McCarthy is the more moderate of the two, an arch opponent of right-to-work and seen as having a better chance of upsetting Gilmour.
McCarthy raised over $10,000 while Avard more than $5,000 for the race. Gilmour, however, has raised $113,340.
Boutin faces former Rep. Jane Cormier in a primary, with the winner facing long-time Democratic activist Maureen Raiche Manning of Manchester in the general election.
To date, Boutin raised $155,010 for the race and Cormier $11,060. Raiche Manning just announced she would run a write-in campaign to be on the general election ballot and the draft committee raised $3,185.
In District 24, incumbent Stiles faces a challenge from North Hampton businessman Steve Kenda.
Kendra, who toyed with running for governor several years ago, raised $33,270 for the primary, $8,300 his own money.
Stiles is thought to be more appealing to independent voters. She raised $91,827 for the primary election.
The winner will face Rep. Chris Mums of Hampton. Mums, who does not have a primary, has raised $82,754.
For the last decade, the District 8 seat has been held by Sen. Bob Odell, R-New London, who decided to spend more time with his family. Odell is backing former NH Bankers Association president Jerry Little, R- Weare. State GOP vice chair J P Marzullo of Deering said he would take on Odell do largely for his vote for Medicaid expansion. Marzullo remained in the race after Odell said he would retire.
Marzullo raised $12,165 for the primary while Little raised $46,127.
The GOP winner will face Rep. Linda Tanner, D-Sunapee, a long-time teacher in the Kearsarge Regional School District which makes up more than a third of the district.
Tanner, who does not have a primary, raised $30,871.
Republicans believe District 18 Sen. Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, is vulnerable. The Republican primary pits Rep. George Lambert, R-Litchfield, against Manchester Board of School Committee member Robyn Dunphy.
Lambert, one of the most conservative members of the House, raised $4,350 for the primary while Dunphy did not file a report.
Soucy raised $146,843 and does not have a primary.
There are two races in which the Republican winner is all but guaranteed to win the general election, Districts 11 and 19.
Former Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, resigned in June to head HealthTrust, the insurance arm of what was once the NH Municipal Association.
That opened the floodgates for Republicans. Rep. Gary Daniels of Milford, former Rep. Maureen Mooney of Merrimack, Merrimack town councilor Daniel Dwyer and Merrimack attorney Dan Hynes all filed for the seat.
Similarly Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, decided to call it quits after two terms and three Republican candidates emerged almost immediately, former Sen. Frank Sapareto of Derry, Derry GOP chair Jim Foley, and Rockingham County GOP chair Regina Birdsell of Hampstead.
And the winner of the one Democratic primary between Concord School Board member Kass Ardinger and Legal Assistance attorney Dan Feltes of Concord, is almost certain to be the District 15 senator replacing former Senate President Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord, who is not seeking re-election.
The Senate will return Monday Sept. 15 to take up the one Senate bill Hassan vetoed this year dealing with the Division of Juvenile Services and the Youth Detention Center.
The House returns two days later to take up the vetoes of its three bills and the Senate bill if that is overridden two days earlier.
Just when the Senate meets is the question, either 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will be addressing the Hillsborough County Republican Committee's Primary Gala Sept. 6.