Oct 5, 2015 8:22 PM
CONCORD - "Listen her decision to run for the Senate opens it up for a lot of people,’’ says veteran Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, one of many now giving it a look.
And how. Maggie Hassan’s 2016 senate bid will identify the next, new rising star.
The last time it was this wide open? 2002 That’s when the last governor, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen ran for the Senate; voters gave us Governor Craig Benson, the only Republican in the last 10 elections to win the corner office.
Shaheen lost that race to then-Republican Congressman John E. Sununu; six years later she returned the favor, winning a rematch.
"We’ve had Democratic governors over the past 10 plus years and we’ve really seen a sense of stagnation.’’
That’s Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, the Newfields Republican who got out early as did Wilton Republican State Rep. Frank Edelblut.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, haven’t ruled it out.
Sources confirm Councilor Colin Van Ostern, a Concord Democrat is in and he’ll make an announcement in days.
The sure signs; NH1 News confirms two big hires by Van Ostern first naming longtime Democratic fund-raiser Debbie Butler of Concord as the treasurer of Van Ostern’s political committee.
Butler was co-chair of Democrat John Lynch’s first successful run for governor in 2004.
Anna Moffett comes aboard as Van Ostern’s full-time finance director.
She held a similar role for Congressman Annie Kuster, D-NH, who set records when she first won the Second District seat in 2012.
Moffett went on to raise $3 million for a Democratic congresswoman in Connecticut last fall.
The strategy is how Van Ostern first won the council seat; an early financial war chest so big many observers conclude that it scared the incumbent, Concord Republican Dan St. Hilaire, into dropping his own plans to defend his seat.
Other maybe Democrats include Stefany Shaheen, the eldest daughter of Senator Jeanne and political godfather Billy Shaheen.
"Knowing me I’m the last guy to tell a woman in my family what to do or what they are going to do. I think she’ll do what her heart tells her to do,’’ Bill Shaheen says.
Senator Andrew Hosmer of Laconia is getting a lot of encouragement.
"But really haven’t made any decision; I don’t have any time frame, but happy to continue the conversations,’’ Hosmer said.
And Manchester Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.
"I’ve done it before and it’s a tough, tough business,’’ he confided.
With four or more democrats in the mix, the governor has no problem with a crowded primary to replace her.
"We have a great bench in the Democratic Party and the people of New Hampshire the past few years have made great progress,’’ Hassan told nh1 news.
The Senate’s top Democrat sees a big ripple effect.
"I can count almost half the republicans in the senate on the list of moving up or moving out,’’ said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn of Dalton.
In politics, the thing about change is hope always springs eternal. Republicans think they’ve got a shot at the corner office, Democrats now think they can win the Legislature.
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