To no one’s surprise, really, Republican Scott Brown on Thursday officially entered the race to take the U.S. Senate seat away from Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
He made his announcement in Portsmouth and used the Affordable Care Act - and his description of it as curtailing freedom - in his opening salvo against the incumbent senator.
Brown is now making his home in Rye, having moved there from Massachusetts where he served as the successor in the U.S. Senate to the late Edward Kennedy. He lost reelection two years ago to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Since his defeat by Warren, Brown has maintained his public profile as an analyst for Fox News, and when his Bay State house went up for sale and when he started making more and more appearances in the Granite State, speculation grew that he was positioning for a run at Shaheen.
The creation of an exploratory committee several weeks ago solidified the speculation; his announcement Thursday sealed the deal.
In zeroing in on Obamacare, Brown traded on the state’s Live Free or Die motto: “It forces us to make a choice: Live free or log on. Guess what? In New Hampshire, we choose freedom."
See a Seacoast Online story here
Shaheen’s campaign responded to the Brown announcement, saying the election “will be a choice between someone who cares only about himself and the big corporate interests that fund his campaign and someone who works every day to make a difference for New Hampshire families. New Hampshire voters know Jeanne Shaheen shares their values."
To get to Shaheen, Brown needs to get past three others in a Republican primary: former state Sen. Jim Rubens, former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, and conservative activist Karen Testerman. Those three participated in a forum on Tuesday; Brown did not attend, having not declared his candidacy until Thursday.
See a New Hampshire Public Radio story here
.Casino bill pot sweetened
The Senate-backed bill for two casinos in the state got sweetened this week with its supporters adding a revenue share for all New Hampshire communities.
The House has killed all the casino bills that have come before it this session. This most current measure - SB 366
- would divide $25.2 million among all communities.
“What I’m saying to you is this piece of legislation benefits all of the people in the state of New Hampshire. As a public official, that’s my goal – to produce something that has benefit for everyone,” said state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester), the bill’s primary sponsor said in a Concord Monitor story
He was making his case to the House Ways and Means Committee, which will vote a recommendation to the full House.
Gov. Maggie Hassan is on record supporting a single casino for the state; she hasn’t said what she feels about two casinos.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire Motor Speedway officials were making the case that its location in Loudon would make an ideal spot for a casino.
See a Concord Monitor story here
.Death penalty repeal recommendation
On its second try, a Senate committee has recommended repeal of the death penalty.
The initial vote was 2-2, with one member absent -- Donna Soucy (D-Manchester). She couldn’t make the vote because of a medical issue with her father, so the Senate Judiciary Committee took another vote, and HB 1170
, which has already been approved by the House, passed 3-2.
The Senate is expected to vote on the bill April 17. While it repeals the death penalty, it won’t affect the status of death row inmate Michael Addison, a convicted cop killer.
But U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the state’s former attorney general, expressed some doubts about that this week.
“It seems like in Concord they’re saying, ‘Well, we’re just going to leave the Addison case alone,’ and I think that’s absurd. And I think that these people who are voting on this need to understand that they could effectively be commuting Michael Addison’s sentence,” she said.
See a Union Leader story here
We covered a lot of ground this week on Facebook
- from sexual abuse prevention to the GOP candidates for governor to the controversy surrounding the performance of “Sweeney Todd” at Timberlane High School. Get in on the action.
We’re see you back here next week.