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Rep. Shurtleff announces run for Speaker of NH House

State House Bureau

May 22. 2018 9:50AM

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story was incorrect. Republican Majority Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack has not announced he is running for Speaker of the New Hampshire House.

CONCORD – State Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, became the first representative to announce plans to run for Speaker of the House in a press conference at the Legislative Office Building on Monday.

The election for speaker will take place in the fall, after the results of the November election establish who controls the House of Representatives.

Shurtleff served as Democratic Majority Leader when the Democrats held a majority in the 2013-14 session, and since then has served as minority leader with the House under Republican control.

The former U.S. Marshal and Vietnam War veteran will first have to win re-election in his district in the fall and hope Democrats take the House.

“With the success we’ve had in our special elections this year, winning eight out of 10, and five of those in Republican districts, I’m very optimistic that Democrats will take back the House in November,” he said. “If we are the minority party, I will still look for Republican support for the speakership.”

Shurtleff’s early announcement may have been intended to solidify his support among rank-and-file Democrats and avoid a leadership battle should the party win a House majority. He was surrounded by 15 to 20 Democratic representatives supporting his candidacy.

State Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, in his sixth term, last year criticized what he called a virtual coronation of Shurtleff as Democratic candidate for speaker, without an opportunity for any opposition to come forward.

Shurtleff is now in his seventh term and has been a Democratic leader in one form or another for the past six years.

“I believe I have the vision, the background and experience to lead the New Hampshire House forward,” he said. “I will listen to the voices and solutions of House members on both sides of the aisle. I’ve learned so much more from those I disagree with.”

Republican House Majority Leader Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack, countered Shurtleff’s announcement with a statement of his own.

“We look forward to bringing House Republican’s record of success to Granite State voters this November,” said Hinch. “Under Republican Leadership in Concord, New Hampshire has the lowest unemployment in New England, enacted successful business tax cuts, and a record high Rainy Day Fund.”


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