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Stefany Shaheen, leads a consensus agreement on early childhood event on Monday; tells NH Political Report she'll make public her 2016 plans before too long.

Dec 11, 2015 7:28 PM

Landrigan: NH Political Report. Bipartisan consensus on early childhood; Ben Carson may bolt the GOP?


When bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill remains a Haley’s Comet-like event, we offer Monday’s consensus petition on pledging to support early childhood education.

Stefany Shaheen, the eldest daughter of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, managed to get all the heavies in both political parties on board.

Confirmed for a Monday press event at the Concord YMCA is Gov. Maggie Hassan, Congresswoman Annie Kuster and Shaheen; Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, has submitted a letter of support and at week’s end, Congressman Frank Guinta, R-NH, is said to be crafting one.

"We need to spotlight when we get consensus like this because it doesn’t happen often enough," Stefany Shaheen tells the NH Political Report.

Already 700 have signed this petition.

Oh yes, Shaheen’s 2016 Democratic primary campaign for governor; she promises to give an update on that soon.

Our sources tell us the Shaheen franchise has identified up to $2 million in ready campaign cash the former Portsmouth city councilor could draw upon.

Her father, Billy, is said to be even more fired up about Stefany giving it a go than her mom.

But at this hour, it looks much more like a yes than a no on a run for the corner office next year.


He won’t make it official until early in 2016.

But now former House Majority Leader Jack Flanagan, R-Brookline, will run for Congress in the Second Congressional District.

Flanagan tells the NH Political Report before taking a well-deserved, pre-holiday vacation that he’s made up his mind.

"People are telling me January is the right time to make the move and I’m getting very excited about it," said the three-term Republican legislator.

"I’ve been thrilled by the response out there."

Moderate, pro-abortion rights Republican Charlie Bass is the only Republican to win in this district since 1988.

And former President George W. Bush in that election was the last Republican White House nominee to beat the Democrat in the Second District.

Yet Flanagan believes that two-term Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster can be beat.

"The issues are there and voter anger and frustration with the status quo in Washington is at an all-time high," Flanagan said.

"There will be plenty to talk about."

Republican activists are looking forward to it. Win or lose, a competent opponent to Kuster is critical for Senator Kelly Ayotte’s re-election bid as well as the GOP hopes to win the governor’s race for only the second time in the last 11 election cycles.


He’s not running for President in 2016 but Vice President Joe Biden is keeping his political antenna well-tuned.

On Thursday night, he hosted one of several Blair House holiday parties and invited none other than former House Majority Whip and State Rep. Dan Eaton, D-Stoddard.

Eaton had chaired the Draft Biden group in New Hampshire and lined up office space and staff in anticipation of Biden getting in until he pulled out.

"This is typical Joe Biden. He calls me on the phone, not an aide and then says hey make sure you leave plenty of free time late Thursday and Friday," Eaton says.

"I’m not sure what he had in mind but you can bet I cleared out the schedule."


Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, took a lot of flak for rejecting the do-it-all special session before year’s end that Gov. Maggie Hassan had wanted.

We’re into the third week of the Legislature’s Opioid Task Force and Bradley is looking pretty smart right now.

Why? Well for starters he was a prime mover behind Senate President Chuck Morse and House Speaker Shawn Jasper setting up the one-day event on Jan. 21 when lawmakers expect to endorse and put on Hassan’s desk the low hanging fruit legislation.

The working groups have endorsed nearly 10 bills now.

The state’s medical lobby by the way ducked the bullet this week as the task force ducked when it came to pushing for immediate action next month on laying out the ground rules that the state Board of Registration in Medicine and five other medical licensing boards must follow to restrict prescribing painkillers.

Instead the group called for "early" action that will give all the boards time to set in motion the rule-making process on its own before lawmakers finish their work.

The work of the task force has also shown how quickly legislators got heavily into the weeds of policy making which was why Bradley and others balked at trying to do everything before the first of the year.

"These issues are always more complex than they appear to be at first blush," Bradley declared.


Whatever your view of WMUR-TV, the shocking decision of the Democratic National Committee and the New Hampshire Democratic Party about next Saturday’s debate is not a good moment for the First-in-the-Nation primary.

Removing WMUR as a co-sponsor of the Democratic debate is about as heavy handed as it gets.

Party leaders pulled WMUR from the sponsoring role with ABC-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader due to the station’s fractured talks with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers trying to establish a contracts for its unionized production workers.

Any time the party establishment decides to strong arm a New Hampshire media outlet, it’s a precedent that affects us all.

It seems particularly uncalled for given that WMUR management had scheduled another upcoming negotiating session with the IBEW two weeks ago.

This all comes down to what the venerable Secretary of State Bill Gardner has been saying for decades.

If New Hampshire wants to earn the respect of national political leaders for its preeminent role in picking presidents, buy a dog instead.

Both parties diss the state in this election cycle, the Democrats scheduling a debate on a Saturday night (a notoriously low ratings night for TV viewing) nearly two months before the primary and less than a week before Christmas.

Now they strip the only, in-state broadcast partner for the event.

Trust me, this is a bad omen for the future of our franchise.


Now two of the top Republicans running for President in 2016, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, making noises about leaving the party after having signed a pledge not to do so.

Carson has said he might be moved to do so if it looks like there will not be a definitive nominee and we end up with a brokered convention next summer.

During a broadcast interview from New Hampshire Friday, GOP contender Carly Fiorina fires back at both of them.

"No, I’m not going to threaten to leave the party, because I actually am a Republican. But I don’t actually understand quite the point that Dr. Carson is making," Fiorina says.

"Nobody in the party determines whether or not there’s a brokered convention. The voters are going to determine whether there’s a brokered convention. I mean, if someone goes into the, if no one goes into the convention with enough votes to be declared the winner, then it is a brokered convention. So you could make the case that a brokered convention does reflect the will of the people. So I was a little confused by his statement, honestly."


The war of competing petitions.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s campaign on Friday pushing a petition on her opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and highlighting what she calls Democratic rival and Gov. Maggie Hassan’s "troubling lack of knowledge about the threats" facing the US.

This comes less than 24 hours after Hassan had e-mailed her supporters with their own petition following the NH Political Report predicting Hassan would go after Ayotte for leaving open a loophole to allow ``known of suspected terrorists to buy guns and explosives.’’

Ayotte’s campaign petition accuses Hassan of "blind support" for President Obama’s foreign policy.

"Tell President Obama and Maggie Hassan a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable," Hassan’s email implores.


Quote of the Week:

"Let me just say I am the candidate Hillary Clinton fears the most. When Hillary Clinton faces me on a general election debate stage and by the way everybody wants to see that debate; everybody wants to see that debate because she knows what is going to happen." - Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on how Republicans can close the gender gap that’s plagued them in recent elections.


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