"Et tu, Brute," Shakespeare had Julius Caesar proclaim prior to receiving the unkindest cut of all, the one which did him in.
The line seems especially appropriate today with Rochester Republican District 6 State Senator Fenton Groen's announcement that he won't seek re-election.
After the Republican-controlled Senate went out of its way to "gerrymander" (perfectly legal of course) the district to make it much easier for Groen to be re-elected, now he decides not to run again.
Truly, this is the unkindest cut of all, much worse than the decision from Berlin Republican Senator John Gallus last week.
Rather than "Et tu Brute" perhaps a rock lyric would be more appropriate.
"Another one bites the dust."
And now there are seven incumbent Republican senators not seeking re-election (I include Andy Sanborn who's moving to a new district--Bedford--and will face a stiff primary challenge from Rep. Ken
Hawkins should he decide to run).
Conjure this image in your mind. Ray Buckley and/or Kathy Sullivan are sitting back sticking pins in voodoo dolls. Aha, got another one.
That's only a joke, so don't sic the PC police on me.
However, it seems clear that just as Speaker Bill O'Brien's tyranny has jeopardized Republican control of the 400-member body, Republican control of the Senate could be slipping away as well.
Last week, I presented my ratings showing how Democrats will be favored to capture the Gallus seat. I hear that Berlin Democrat Rep Robert Theberge is running, and I assume he'll win.
Hold for a minute while I go to the files to get my numbers for the Groen district. As I noted, it's been "gerrymandered" to make it much more Republican (with the addition of highly Republican Alton), but let's get specific.
Be right back. Gotta go to my car.
It was worth the wait. Very interesting.
The new district six includes all of Rochester (about 30,000 people, more than half the district), Farmington, Milton, New Durham, Gilmanton, and Alton.
Keep in mind that 50.00 in my calculation means the district in exactly half Democratic and half Republican; 100.00 is all Republican; 0.00 is all Democratic.
Barrington, Madbury, Nottingham, and Somersworth (mostly Democratic areas) were removed from the district. That's the way "gerrymandering" works.
Rochester is an excellent example of a neutral area. It’s 50.01 (I kid you not) according to my numbers, but Alton is 63.93, Gilmanton 53.97, New Durham 56.58, Milton 52.42, and Farmington 53.34.
Thus, you can see that every town in the district is at least slightly Republican, so it should come as no surprise that the district’s rating will be overall in favor of a Republican, but note that it hasn’t been that way in recent years.
In 2002, I had the district with a 6.06 percent Democratic advantage, no surprise since Democrats held the seat until Groen upset Jackie Cilley in the Republican sweep year of 2010.
If no changes had been made in redistricting, I had the district with a 3.50 percent Democratic advantage, but of course, many changes were made, so many that my numbers show a 6.14 percent Republican advantage now (which would mean a generic 53-47 margin for a Republican candidate).
In other words, Republican Senate “gerrymanders” changed the district to make it 9.64 percent more Republican.
That’s why I reported last week that while Groen would be favored, he would not be a sure thing.
It becomes very interesting now that he’s out. The most logical candidate would be a moderate from Rochester, someone in the Jackie Cilley tradition.
This district has changed so dramatically that numerous possibilities spring to mind.
For example, how about someone who was too “liberal” for the Republican party and is now a Democrat? Yes that would be long-time Rochester Representative Sandy Keans.
Wouldn’t that be interesting?
For Republicans, no…I’m not even going to suggest Julie Brown who takes pride in being attacked by the right wing of her party, but another renegade Republican who just might do it would be Alton’s Representative Peter Bolster. My choice would be former New Durham Republican Rep David Bickford. He actually ran for the Senate last time, but New Durham was in with the Laconia district then. The most logical candidate would be a Rochester Republican. Hey, Senator Groen’s brother, Represenative Warren Groen, could do it. He’s far too much of a social conservative for my taste, but then, it’s not my district.
Let the battle begin.
My early out on a limb prediction—Senator Sandy Keans; it has a good ring to it, and it would be a big gain for Democrats.