Nov 13, 2014 3:28 PM

Kevin Landrigan: Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, pulls out of NH House speaker's race

CONCORD - State Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, abruptly pulled out of her bid for speaker of the New Hampshire House Thursday, citing the serious illness that befell her husband, State Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford. The move leaves two former House speakers jostling for the top nod, Mont Vernon Republican Bill O'Brien versus Bartlett Republican Gene Chandler.

Republicans took back the majority in the 400-person House with elections last week that give them about a 240-160 advantage over Democrats.

O'Brien was speaker of the House for two years until Democrats came back into power after the 2012 elections.

Chandler was speaker of the House for four years about a decade ago.

Sanborn was not widely seen as a threat to winning the support of her GOP peers at the caucus.

Supporters of hers claim she had as many as 70 backers, however.

Several House Republican members had announced support for Sanborn who had started a caucus for small business owners who serve in the Legislature.

"As many of you know, my husband Andy became ill last week and spent time in the hospital. While the long term prognosis looks good, today there is sufficient uncertainty. At this time, my priority is getting Andy's health,'' Sanborn said in a statement.

"As such, I recognize that today I cannot give 100% to the role of speaker, as family always comes first. Therefore, I am withdrawing from the Speaker's race to focus on family and the job of state representative.''

In making her decision public, Sanborn did not endorse either O'Brien or Chandler.

This will be a rematch.

In November 2010, O'Brien edged Chandler by only nine votes among GOP members. After that vote the GOP bloc united and unanimously backed O'Brien to lead them.


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