Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, go head to head over when and how to fill the vacancy on the US Supreme Court.

Feb 19, 2016 6:33 PM

Landrigan- NH Political Report: No vacancy for state senate just yet

CONCORD - There’s no vacancy for the state senate position just yet, but Democrats have identified their favorite candidate already.

In play is a seat within District 8 that Weare Republican Jerry Little is expected to vacate soon once the executive council confirms him as banking commissioner.

Democrats are already pointing fingers at New London lawyer and University of New Hampshire professor, John Garvey, as a likely candidate.

Garvey was a longtime member of the Concord-based Sulloway & Hollis firm, and has well-known political connections through his marriage.

His wife is Cotton Cleveland, the daughter of the late GOP congressman Jim Cleveland.

"We're very optimistic about this campaign despite the fact Republicans have a clear voter registration edge in that district," Senate Democratic Leader, Jeff Woodburn said.

The GOP nomination will most likely be J.P. Marzullo, the state's former vice chairman of the Republican State Committee who sought and lost the nomination to Little in September 2014.


Secretary of State Bill Gardner came pretty close to hitting his pre-vote estimation of the number of ballots cast in New Hampshire's primary.

Gardner’s office released the final numbers which revealed that 542,459 people showed up at the polls, resulting in 7,000 votes more than Gardner's estimation of 550,000.

He proved to have over-estimated how many people would cast Democratic ballots.

"It's hard to hit the number right on, "said Gardner. "Sometimes I've been closer than this."

He's the longest serving head-of-state participating' in the elections, and has served as secretary of state since 1976.


New Hampshire has some of the weakest election laws when it comes to reporting campaign spending, while officer holders and challengers can raise money after one election for up to nearly 20 months before disclosure in late June of the current election year.

Thursday, the State Senate approved an amended bill (SB 458) which would require political committees to report costs two times, once in June and once in December of the year prior to the election.

This would only apply if the candidate or incumbent spent at least $500.

"This at least gives the public earlier access to this information which is only fair," said Republican State Sen. Andy Sanborn, who authored the change along with Democratic Sen. Dan Feltes.

It didn't take long for a third party group to advance in the US Senate race even as principals, New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan fight over whether to limit spending in the 2016 campaign.

Meanwhile, liberals from the American Way are planning a protest at Ayotte's Manchester office on Monday against her view on the court opening.

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