Press Releases



DSCC - NH Republican Strategist: Where Is Kelly Ayotte?

"One of the big questions in the state right now is, where is Kelly Ayotte?" said Mark Sanborn, a GOP strategist in New Hampshire who is not aligned with either candidate. "Is [Lamontagne] going to be to the right of her by a couple of degrees, or is she going to be classified as a [Republican in name only]?"



Staff hired for possible run at N.H. Senate seat


By Reid Wilson

Posted: 07/23/09 12:19 PM [ET]

Former New Hampshire Board of Education Chairman Ovide Lamontagne (R) has hired two prominent Republican strategists as he tests a possible run for retiring Sen. Judd Gregg's (R) seat.

Lamontagne, who surprised Republicans by winning the party's nomination for governor in 1996, has hired Charlie Spies and Jim Merrill, two veteran GOP operatives and veterans of ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's (R) campaign.

Spies, who was Romney's chief financial officer and a key member of the Republican National Committee's legal counsel office, has been reaching out to reporters on Lamontagne's behalf. Merrill managed Romney's New Hampshire primary campaign, eight years after winning the state for President Bush — the last time a Republican took the state's electoral votes.

Merrill will serve as a senior adviser to Lamontagne as the former education chairman explores a Senate bid.

The new hires are bad news for national Republicans, who had hoped for a clear primary field for former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R). Lamontagne, according to New Hampshire sources, will likely run to Ayotte's right, forcing her to play to some part of the conservative base.

Ayotte has already engendered some grumblings among state Republicans who are not sure she is sufficiently conservative. Indeed, the attorney general, appointed and reappointed by Republican and Democratic governors, has always been quiet about her personal political views.

"One of the big questions in the state right now is, where is Kelly Ayotte?" said Mark Sanborn, a GOP strategist in New Hampshire who is not aligned with either candidate. "Is [Lamontagne] going to be to the right of her by a couple of degrees, or is she going to be classified as a [Republican in name only]?"

Lamontagne, Sanborn said, "is very conservative, but likable. He's attractive, as politicians go."

Lamontagne has been exploring the race since April or May, making stops at local Republican events. But the hires signal a new, faster pace of the exploratory phase.

And that hastening comes at the end of a busy week for New Hampshire Republicans. On Monday, Ayotte filed her exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission. And on Wednesday, Republican businessman Fred Tausch, who had hired other top Granite State strategists to help with a grassroots anti-spending organization, said he would not run.



Fergus Cullen Announces He's Writing for The Union Leader Commentary Section

Starting today, theNew Hampshire Union Leader is resuming my regular editorial page column.As in my earlier stint from 2005-2006, I expect to write on NH politics a little more than half the time, and about other things New Hampshire the rest of the time.


Today's column breaks some news. For what I believe is the first time anywhere in the country, the Union Leader today publishes online everyline item of congressional office spending for NH's members of congress, Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes, for the 2007-2008 session of congress.


The reports reveal that Shea-Porter spent $17,000 in taxpayer dollars on a political consultant; that Paul Hodes sent more franked mail than all but one of New England's 22 members of congress; that Shea-Porter's $124,000 a year chief-of-staff appears to have traveled to NH to help with her campaign last fall and then billed the taxpayers for his travel expenses, including $1,800 in hotel bills in the month of October alone; and that Shea Porter spent 99.7% of her budget in 2007, leaving just $4,425 in the Treasury.


Read the whole column here. And when you're done, please consider leaving a comment on the Union Leader website.


You can also download the reports and sort them yourself.


You can also email me at



Fergus Cullen



NH DHHS Advises Residents to Prepare For Fall Flu Season

Concord, NH – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is encouraging residents of New Hampshire to continue taking steps to prevent H1N1 (swine) flu and to be better prepared in case the illness becomes more severe this fall. DHHS has been monitoring the outbreak of this novel strain and there are still cases occurring in communities around the State and nationwide.


“The State has been spending the last several years preparing for a possible pandemic,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, “and our Department especially, as the lead agency for this response, has been accelerating our efforts the past few months after the outbreak of H1N1 this spring. No one can predict for sure just how this virus might change over time but we want to be as prepared as possible to protect the health of New Hampshire’s citizens.”


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies are working in coordination with vaccine manufacturers to develop a vaccine for H1N1. It’s unclear when doses will be delivered to New Hampshire, how many, and how many shots people may need to receive. The vaccine is still in the development phase, and it is possible the federal government may even decide not to use it depending on what the virus does.


“We are working hard to be ready for whatever happens,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero, “but in the meantime we are planning to begin our seasonal flu vaccination campaign as soon as doses arrive in New Hampshire to ensure our citizens are protected from the seasonal strains of flu.”


New Hampshire residents are encouraged to get a seasonal flu vaccine; prepare a family emergency plan; cover their mouth with their sleeve when they cough or sneeze; and stay home from work, school, and other activities when they are sick.


The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to seasonal influenza, including fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, headache and muscle aches, and fatigue. Some patients have also reported diarrhea and vomiting and severe illness, including pneumonia and death, have been reported as well.


For more information on H1N1 flu, visit or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at;


For more information on seasonal flu vaccine go to and


For information on family preparedness visit or for a brochure go to



Embattled Governor Losing Control As Union Contract Negotiations Break Down, Investigation Launched Into Allegations Of Misconduct By His Administration, Lawsuits Threaten To Unravel His Budget, And His Poll Numbers Plummet


CONCORD – Governor John Lynch is quickly losing control of state governmentas charges of unethical tactics in contract negotiations, allegations of potential misconduct in the awarding of a no-bid railroad contract, and the filing of major lawsuits have rocked his Administration and threaten to unravel his disastrous budget. The Governor’s job approval ratings have plummeted in recent weeks and his disapproval ratings have skyrocketed as voters have become disillusioned with his failed leadership and fiscal mismanagement.


“After years of dodging the critical issues and the tough decisions, Governor Lynch finds himself in a crisis of his own making. Today, New Hampshire is facing enormous challenges that have been made worse by over four years of irresponsibility and inaction by the Lynch Administration.” said NHGOP Communications Director Ryan Williams. “John Lynch’s inability to address the serious problems facing New Hampshire and his failure to provide any leadership during these tough times proves that now, more than ever, this state needs a new governor.”


Yesterday, the Lynch Administration’s contract negotiations with the New Hampshire State Employees’ Association (SEA) collapsed after the union accused the Governor of unethical negotiation tactics. The SEA, which has been without a contract since the Governor missed a June 30th deadline to finalize a new one, is planning to file an unfair labor practice complaint against Lynch.


The Lynch Administration has also been at the center of an investigation into potential ethical misconduct committed during the awarding of a state railroad contract. The Attorney General’s office is investigating serious allegations that members of the Democrat House leadership team improperly pressured Transportation Commissioner George Campbell to award a no-bid state contract to the Milford-Bennington Railroad Company. This company is currently owned by Representative Peter Leishman (D-Peterborough), a member of the powerful House Finance Committee which has significant influence over Commissioner Campbell’s department budget. An article in the July 12, 2009 edition of the Nashua Telegraph reports that Governor Lynch personally intervened to make sure that “any kinks in the [contract] would be ironed out.”


Governor Lynch’s disastrous state budget is also on the brink of collapse as major lawsuits threaten to unravel his irresponsible revenue schemes. The Superior Court will soon rule on the ownership of the $110 million that Lynch has tried to steal from the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (JUA.) If the court rules against the Lynch Administration, the state will face another budget crisis as the FY 2010-2011 budget and the recently completed FY 2008-2009 budget will immediately be thrown out of balance. Local government leaders are also moving forward with a separate lawsuit to stop the Governor from reducing the state’s share of the retirement contribution rate for municipal employees and downshifting costs to local taxpayers.


As a result of his failed leadership and fiscal mismanagement, Governor Lynch’s poll numbers have plummeted in recent months. Recent surveys conducted by the University of New Hampshire, the American Research Group and National Research Inc. all confirm that Lynch’s approval ratings have dropped by double digits, while his disapproval ratings have skyrocketed to the highest levels ever recorded. National Research’s Granite Survey also reveals that 47% of New Hampshire citizens currently feel the state has “gotten off on the wrong track” under the Lynch Administration while only 41% believe it’s headed on the right track. In April 2009, only 33% of New Hampshire citizens thought the state was on the wrong track, while 55% believed it was on the right track.


Polls also show that more people are less likely to vote to re-elect Governor Lynch because of his decision to break his word and legalize same-sex marriage. Lynch had previously pledged to oppose same-sex marriage during his gubernatorial campaigns, but folded under pressure from the radical wing of his party and legalized it in June.


Governor Lynch’s problems only look to get worse in the future as he begins to make plans for the FY 2012-2013 budget. This budget will start off with an immediate $500 million deficit due to his irresponsible use of one-time money in the current budget, and will present the Governor with an unprecedented fiscal crisis.



Manchester Mayor and other city officials to announce grant to combat gang violence 

MANCHESTER (July 23, 2009) – Mayor Frank Guinta, Police Captain Richard Reilly, Office of Youth Services Director Marty Boldin and Weed and Seed Coordinator for the City of Manchester Nicole Rodler, will announce that the city has received a grant to participate in the 2009 Juvenile Reentry Crime Prevention Initiative.


This grant, which is issued by the U. S. Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Office, is made available to Weed and Seed programs nationwide. However, only nine programs were awarded the grant in 2009 and only two in New England (the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester being the other).


In addition to the above speakers, Mark Long, Law Enforcement Coordinator, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire; Tim Soucy, head of the Manchester Health Department; and various community stakeholders will be in attendance for the announcement.


Details about the grant and how these funds will be used will be discussed at the press conference. A press kit with information about the grant will also be available on Monday.