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NH-Senate: A Prime Democratic Opportunity


Rep. Paul Hodes declared his candidacy for New Hampshire's Senate seat today.

President Obama's decision to tap New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R) as his commerce secretary hands Senate Democrats a golden pickup opportunity next November.

While many Democrats had hoped that Gov. John Lynch (D) would pick a Democratic replacement for Gregg and thereby give the party a filibuster-proof, 60 seat majority in the 111th Congress, Lynch named a caretaker Republican -- former Gregg chief of staff Bonnie Newman -- to serve out the remaining two years on the incumbent's term.

But, Newman will not run for reelection, meaning that the seat will be vacant in 2010.

That's very good news for Democrats who over the last two elections have made major gains in the Granite State. In 2006, Democrats knocked off both of the state's House Republicans and two years later Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) beat then incumbent John Sununu (R) while Obama carried the state over Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) by a 54 percent to 45 percent margin.

And, Democrats appear ready to unite behind Rep. Paul Hodes who formally announced his campaign today on the Blue Hampshire site. There is some talk that Hodes's colleague -- Rep. Carol Shea Porter -- will also run but it is clear that the state and national party establishment will get behind Hodes.

The Republican field is far less clear with two names mentioned in the early going: Sununu and former Gov. Steve Merrill.

Sununu served in the House from 1996 to 2002 and then a single term in the Senate. His father, also named John, is a legend in New Hampshire politics, having served as governor and White House chief of staff for President George H.W. Bush. Sununu currently lives in Washington, however, and may not want to uproot his family to return to the state and run.

Merrill spent four years in the mid to late eighties as New Hampshire's attorney general before being elected governor in 1992. He retired from that office in 1996 and was replaced by Shaheen. He did not return an email seeking to gauge his interest in the post.

Another intriguing name is former state attorney general Tom Rath who is one of the lead political operatives in the state. Reached today, Rath left the door wide open to a bid. "I think the last few days prove that nothing is ever really predictable," he said. "But a truly open U.S, Senate seat should never be summarily dismissed and so I think it is worth considering."

Among the other GOP names being mentioned: 2008 congressional candidate Jennifer Horn, wealthy businessman Sean Mahoney and state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte is seen as a longshot as she is close to Lynch and is reportedly far more interested in the governor's mansion.

Even before Gregg's resignation, Senate Democrats had planned to target New Hampshire in 2010 and our Friday Senate Line put the state as the seventh most likely to switch parties next fall.

Now the seat becomes a higher priority for Democrats -- joining Florida, Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri as top-tier pickup opportunities.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 4, 2009; 12:08 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

"there was a deal made between the wh, the gov and the senator. a deal is a deal and at this point we don't know what the exchange is only that gov lynch appointed another republican. what is lynch getting?"

Lynch doesn't need to get anything. Obama and Gregg agreed to appoint him on the condition Lynch agreed to name a Republican. Without the agreement, Gregg doesn't resign, there's no vacancy, hence, Lynch doesn't gain or lose anything in the transaction (and he's a very Adams-y guy in trying to be above party politics).

Posted by: SeanC1 | February 4, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"I just figured out that President Obama went with Michelle to that school to talk the kids yesterday, because....."

because they will talk to the kids at that school...but would never send THEIR kids to that school!

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

thank you thatsnuts...
(big grin))))
i just left government after 18 years and i am in corporate america. i am having more fun.

oh, I am a smoker too so forget about running for office, eh???

I just figured out that President Obama went with Michelle to that school to talk the kids yesterday, because.....
he can only smoke in the Presidential car.
So expect more "field trips"...
((((( hearty laughs)

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Live Free or Die Trying!

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 4, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama need to stop with trying to be bipartisan.
1. He should fire Robert Gates
2. Get rid of The Republican Tranportation Sec
3. Withdraw Gregg's appointment as Commerce Sec

The Republicans are NOT INTO OBAMA. They will never follows his agenda and Gates will try to delay the pull out from Iraq. The Republicans want Obama to fail and I would not trust them one bit. He does not need them anyway.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 4, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"
hobsry:
can't. let's see why:
I have a DUI from 1994 on my background check that the USA Patriot Act spoils. Heaven forbid 19 years later I should want to do something like FIND A JOB!!
I didn't pay income tax in 2003, but got caught in 2005 and had to pay it back (a whopping $574.00)
I was born in England and don't have a long form.
I had a nanny that was illegal.
I was caught in a public restroom at DIA with a very wide stance but I really had to go.
I did have sexual relations with that man.
And last but surely not least
I am from Chicago.
So you know what that means.

Did I forget anything? OH YES....now what the heck makes you believe I was a supporter of Bush?


Posted by: TheBabeNemo"

Sure your corrupt as hell but your honest about it. I'll vote for you even if you may be an illegal alien.....your honest....that is change I could believe in

Posted by: Thatsnuts | February 4, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

heerman....
hey, don't talk about John Elway like that. He's thinking about making a run in the upcoming years!!!

<<<< anyone have the press briefing on?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

mj:
republicans need a miracle.

reminds me of gone with the wind:

"Look only in books, for it is but a civilization gone with the wind"

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Governor Lynch should have given the seat to a horse, albeit a Republican one.

That way he could say that he kept his promise to Judd Gregg.

Or perhaps a dog, guinea pig or cat would have looked better on the floor of the senate?

Posted by: Heerman532 | February 4, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

an opportunity is not the same as having an incumbent. there was a deal made between the wh, the gov and the senator. a deal is a deal and at this point we don't know what the exchange is only that gov lynch appointed another republican. what is lynch getting? why isn't the media asking? another political deal, just like the (almost) one in IL. and we'll se in two years if the now appointed senator chagnes her mind and runs - lets see who will be shocked at that one.

Posted by: mj9501 | February 4, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

hobsry:
can't. let's see why:
I have a DUI from 1994 on my background check that the USA Patriot Act spoils. Heaven forbid 19 years later I should want to do something like FIND A JOB!!
I didn't pay income tax in 2003, but got caught in 2005 and had to pay it back (a whopping $574.00)
I was born in England and don't have a long form.
I had a nanny that was illegal.
I was caught in a public restroom at DIA with a very wide stance but I really had to go.
I did have sexual relations with that man.
And last but surely not least
I am from Chicago.
So you know what that means.

Did I forget anything? OH YES....now what the heck makes you believe I was a supporter of Bush?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

nothin' about Arizona?

We just gave up Dem Janet for Rep Jan.
We still have McCain and Kyl. We did lose Hayworth though.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, TheBabeNemo:
if you got the guts, why don't YOU run for the Senate or House in your State? My guess you won't because you're too conservative and a Bush follower.

Posted by: hobsry7350 | February 4, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris,

What a great opportunity! I don't want to jump the gun, well, I guess I do, but here's the Friday Line for the Senate now:
1. NH - Blueing state, strongest candidate (Cong Hodes) clearing Democratic field, confusion amongst weaker candidates on the GOP side.
2. MO - Even state, strongest candidate (Secretary of State Carnahan) clearing Democratic field, messy primary on GOP side.
3. OH - Blueing state, strong candidates on Dem side, one imperfect candidate (Portman) on the GOP side.
4. KY - Bunning seems determined to run and is a damaged incumbent. Democrats range from fantastic (AG Conway, State Auditor Luellen) to pretty good (Lt Gov Mongiardo).
5. FL - Still reddish state, potentially strong candidates on both sides.
6. NC - Freshman Burr has undistinguished record in blueing state in a seat that turns over every 6 years. If AG Roy Cooper runs this is a very close race.
7. KS - If Sebelius runs, this is an even race - maybe a democratic lean and moves up to number 4. If not it falls off the list.
8. IL - If Burris is nominated and the GOP nominates Congressman Kirk or Congressman Roskam, this is a tough race. If a stronger democrat is nominated then this falls off the list.
9. LA - If Cong Melancon runs for Dems, he could beat the damaged Vitter.
10. CO - Bennet is a complete unknown. If he's as talented as Ritter thinks, he will be in a strong position to be reelected. If he makes mistakes then it could be close.

Posted by: stpaulsage | February 4, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: leapin :
I find it very interesting that NE once was the “Cradle of Democracy" and is now the "Cradle of Socialism". Perhaps the overcrowded conditions and pollution caused this.

speaking of stupid , your post pretty much sets a record.
No income tax, no sales tax, listed as the 9 best state to start a business in, lowest teen pregancy, highest HS graduation rate. NH ranks 20th in population density (that's near the middle incase you don't know the number of states).


Posted by: newagent99 | February 4, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I find it very interesting that NE once was the “Cradle of Democracy" and is now the "Cradle of Socialism". Perhaps the overcrowded conditions and pollution caused this.

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The reason that the historic Republican state of New Hampshire is becomming more and more Democratic is because New Hampshire has always had Republican control with low taxes and individual freedom. Whereas the rest of Democratic Party--controlled New England states has had confiscatory taxes, and government controlled limited individual and property rights that mandated things like the Kelo decision, and group-rights, New Hampshire was the only New England state that didn't go along with the creeping Socialism going on there. The funny thing about New Hampshire's trend to Democrat Socialist control, is that the same people who ruined the living conditions of the rest of the New England states with their high taxes and control of individual freedoms, are moving to New Hampshire to get away from the conditions that they set up. They don't want to live under the rules that they set up, so they're all moving to New Hampshire to get away from them. And that's why New Hampshire is getting more and more Democrat.

Posted by: armpeg | February 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

To cyberfool,dopper0189 & carabis:
Let me say - I voted for Obama. With that in mind, don't get to overconfident. Obama's only been in office for less than a month. There's not going to be a chance in h-e-double hockey sticks that Obama' is going to be mediocre. He'll either get this contry's economic mess solved or he'll bust the country into separate little fiefdoms. If he does help the country, then the Repugnuts will be lucky to win 1 Senate seat (out of the five I hear that are going to be open) and maybe 100-120 House seats (all 435 contested). If he fails, he'll fail spectacularly and us Damnocrats will be voted out of every office, 'cept dog catcher. Just a warning guys!

Posted by: hobsry7350 | February 4, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

If Lynch was too much of a pansy to replace Gregg with a Democrat, then he should have found the farthest right, biggest nutjob Republican he could and appoint him/her. That would have left the Republicans with either a primary fight in 2010 or an unelectable candidate. Why fight fair again?

Posted by: caribis | February 4, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

TheBabeNemo to answer you question it's more like an UNDERTAKER Republican the GOP is dead in the NorthEast, Bonnie Newman will just help bring out the dead!

Posted by: dopper0189 | February 4, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

what the heck is a "caretaker Republican".

is that anything like a Republican with Democratic leanings????

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 4, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

New England Republicans are an endangered species. The likelyhood of the Republicans retaining that seat in 2010 are somewhere between slim and none. And that is all before getting to the particulars of individual people.

Posted by: cyberfool | February 4, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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