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Mar 14, 2016 11:53 PM

Steinhauser: Shaheen's out, but Marchand may be in, in Dem. gubernatorial nomination race

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – A potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate with top name recognition Monday decided against running for the Corner Office, but another Democratic politician is considering a campaign.

Ending months of speculation, former Portsmouth city councilor Stefany Shaheen said would not launch a bid for governor.

Hours later, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand told NH1 News he’s weighing a gubernatorial bid, saying “I have been considering it over the past few weeks.

The former Portsmouth city councilor and mayor briefly ran for the U.S. Senate in 2007 before ending his bid and backing Jeanne Shaheen campaign. In recent years Marchand served as director of corporate relations at the University of New Hampshire. He’s currently the principal at SRM Consulting in Portsmouth.

Marchand told NH1 News that he would have supported Stefany Shaheen if she had launched a campaign, but “as it became clear that Stefany was not going to run,” he picked up interest.

“The combination of Stefany’s decision and getting a fire in the belly,” has led Marchand to seriously weigh a bid, he added.

He listed three major issues that the next governor needs to address.

“The heroin crisis is priority number one. It is stunning how many households are impacted,” Marchand said.

“The second issue we need to tackle is the quality of Kindergarten through 12th grade public education,” he said.

Marchand added that the quality of public education directly impacts the ability of New Hampshire to bring in jobs and talent.

He added that the next occupant in the Corner Office will have to deal with “economic anxiety” that’s on the mind of voters.

When it comes to his timetable for a decision, Marchand told NH1 News “clearly it’s soon.”

As for the deciding factors, he said he needs to make sure he can get the support he needs, but most important is to make sure his family’s on board.

Shaheen says no

In her statement, Shaheen citied family and business obligations as the reasons why she passed on a gubernatorial bid. But she didn’t rule out any future run for public office.

In the statement, the daughter of U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Democratic National Committeeman William Shaheen said “like all Granite Staters, I care deeply about the future of our state. I am incredibly proud to be born and raised in New Hampshire where my husband, Craig, and I are raising our four kids. With an active family and a growing small business, this year I will do all I can for New Hampshire as a citizen and not as a candidate. For all who have been encouraging me to run for governor, providing invaluable support and counsel, thank you. We will continue working together for the state we love.”

The two Democratic gubernatorial candidates praised Shaheen.

“I appreciate Stefany's great public service and her ongoing contribution to our state,” wrote Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. “I look forward to the advice and insight she can offer moving forward on how we can strengthen our communities and build an even stronger New Hampshire economy where everyone has the chance to succeed.”

And Mark Connolly, a former state lawmaker who served nearly a decade as New Hampshire’s top financial watchdog, wrote “Stefany Shaheen has carried on her family's long-established legacy of public service and leadership for making New Hampshire a better place to live and work.”

“I know she will continue to be an important voice and leader on critical issues facing our state. Granite Staters should be proud we have people like Stefany willing to step up and make a difference in our communities,” he added.

Also praising Shaheen was New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.

"Stefany Shaheen is a passionate and devoted leader who truly understands the unique issues facing the Granite State. While serving as Portsmouth City Councilor, she did an exceptional job for her constituents and it's clear she has a bright future ahead of her serving her community and the people of New Hampshire,” Buckley wrote.

Two-term Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's running for U.S. Senate instead of running for re-election.


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