Rep Steve Vaillancourt


How NH House Gets To 200R-200D

Back at the first of the year, I was predicting Democratic gains in the 50-60 seat range for the New Hampshire House.  Since they trailed 298-102 after the 2010 election, my numbers would have meant firm control for Republicans again next year (in the 240-160 range).

How things have changed since then.  Every time I've spent some time trying to refine my numbers, I've had to add more seats for Democrats.  On Memorial Day (in between rounds of mowing!), I sat down to actually map out a district by district approach, and I am now prepared to say that chances of Democrats taking control of the House--in other words of capturing at least 98 seats--must be rated 50/50.

In fact, I came out with a 200-200 split, and you'll just have to trust me that I never planned to get that result.  I simply looked at 400 seats--most them in blocks--and gave my best guess to each one.  In point of fact, I came out with Democrats at 201, but I also had Republicans at 200, so I had to go back and found out where the extra seat was.  It was in western Hillsborough County; I had given it to Democrats, so I backed the numbers off to 200-200.

I am not going to present district by district analysis until we learn once and for all what the districts are and until the filing period is over (in mid-June), but for now, I've done a county by county analysis, and my level of confidence is very high that I'll be within five percent--in other words, that neither party will get beyond 220 of 400 seats.

I see major changes in the cities, Manchester and Nashua in particular and in Hillsborough and Strafford Counties.

This makes perfect sense because you can only have gains in the places where you're weak now.

For the first time in memory, Democrats lost control of all cities combined in 2010.  Republicans went from a 20-114 deficit in 2008 to even Steven at 67-67 in 2010--a dramatic pick-up of 47 seats in cities alone!  17 seats were in Nashua alone and 14 in Manchester alone.  I expect most of the 2010 gains for Republicans in cities will be lost this November.  As for Strafford County, keep in mind that in 2006, only one Republican survived (yes, that would be Julie Brown) but in 2010, Republicans had a 19-18 edge in the county delegation.  I expect most of those gains will be lost this fall.

It's also interesting to note that I'm rather conservative in this approach.  I give Democrats ZERO seats in Hooksett, Bedford, Goffstown, Londonderry and huge swaths of Republican territory in Rockingham County from Raymond on through Chester, Epping, Danville, Kingston, etc.  If Democrats see even a modicum of success in these areas, all bets are off, and it will mark the dawn of a permanent Democratic majority in the state.  I'm not predicting that, but pundits should be on the lookout.

I am giving Democrats slight gains in Derry, Salem, Laconia, western Hillsborough County, Milford, and Amherst, but primarily the gains are limited to Manchester, Nashua, Strafford County as well as huge gains in Merrimack County.

I am not using any names here; first because we don't even know who is running; and secondly, note that most districts are multi-member voting blocs, so predicting a gain or loss by one party would not indicate which incumbent individual would lose (I most assuredly have definite ideas on this which I will share later, should those people choose to run).  It's mostly based on past results, but I am also using the recent UNH poll which goes way beyond showing a generic Democrat winning by three points in the race for State Rep; it breaks the state up into six regions, and Republicans lead only in the area which borders Massachusetts.  I posted the numbers earlier, but they bear repeating now:

North Country--31-39 Democratic edge;

Central/Lakes--32-32 tie;

Connecticut Valley--34-41 Democratic edge;

Mass border--44-30 Republican edge;

Seacoast--30-36 Democratic edge; and most significantly (at least to me)--

Manchester Area--27-48 Democratic edge.  That's 21 points, and since this also includes Bedford and some extremely Republican towns, one can only conclude that Democrats lead by 30 or more points in the city itself.  Irene Messier could be the only Manchester Republican left standing come Nov. 6.

Here's the county by county breakdown alphabetically.  Note also that some counties lose or gain in redistricting.  Since cities have lost six seats overall in redistricting, on would expect Republicans to benefit, but that won't happen this year precisely because Republicans did so well in those cities two years ago.  In other words, Democrats already lost seats in areas which are losing with population changes, so Republicans stand to lose in 2012!!  Strange but true.

Check my math to see if it adds up to 200-200.

Belknap from 18-0 Republican to 13-5 Republican.

Carroll from 14-0 Republican to 10-5 Republican (expect changes in the Conway area).

Cheshire from 10-14 Democrat to 5-18 Democrats.

Coos from 6-5 Republican to 5-5.

Grafton from 13-13 to 10-17 Democrats.

Hillsborough--the biggest change of all--from 101-21 Republicans to 62-60 Republicans.

             Manchester from 21-14 Republicans to 6-25 Democrats (I’ll count that floterial with Litchfield in town totals).  In 2008, Democrats led 7-28 and in 2006 6-29, so this is basically a reversion to norm.  I repeat--it's entirely possible that Irene Messier may be the only Republican left standing in Manchester, thanks in no small part to the redistricting treachery of the Seven Republican Serpents and to Republicans in the House taking $15 million from Manchester schools (not Irene; not me, but we all could be swept away with the right propaganda campaign).  Also, the Republican voucher bill will destroy the GOP in the city, especially if Republicans vote for this disaster (in the veto override) which will take another million from Manchester schools and lead to even more teacher layoffs.  How suicidal can Manchester Republicans be?  VERY!

              Nashua--the biggest shift of all--from 22-6 Republicans (thanks to Kelly Ayotte's coattails) to 7-20 Democrats.  In 2008, Democrats led 5-23, so this is basically a reversion to norm.

               Other Hillsborough Towns--From an amazing 58-1 Republicans to a more normal 47-16 Republicans.

Merrimack from 27-17 Republicans to 16-28 Democrats (and it could be much worse  according to a fellow astute Republican numbers cruncher; this could turn out to be a very conservative estimate).

Rockingham from 80-10 Republican to 68-22 Republican


Strafford from 19-18 Republican to 6-31 Democrats, another reversion to norm.


Sullivan from 9-4 Republican to 4-9 Democrats.


In brief, here are the gains I now see (the half Rep would be due to a change in number of Reps for that county due to redistricting):

Belknap—18 Reps--+5D

Carroll—15 Reps--+4.5D

Cheshire—24 Reps--+4.5D

Coos—10 Reps—+0.5D

Grafton—26 Reps--+3.5D

Hillsborough—122 Reps--+39D

Merrimack—44 Reps--+11D

Rockingham—90 Reps--+12D

Strafford—37 Reps--+13D

Sullivan—13 Reps--+5D

Total--+98D  200-200


Mysterious Draft Chandler Movement Forms

I don't know who is behind this.  There's a disclaimer saying it's not Gene Chandler himself, but someone has initiated a Draft Gene Chandler for Speaker web site.  I demanded to know who set this up.  Let's see if anyone fesses up to it.  I certainly don't believe anonymous support is good for Gene or for anyone.  It smacks of more behind-closed door maneuvering; and voters deserve better than somebody needs to own up to this.  Here's the email that wasn't sent to me directly, but as always, I have my sources.  

I find the approach of this person truly strange; he (or she) starts out praising Obama and attacking the "eccentrics" (such as yours truly) and then expects us to get on board his Chandler bandwagon.  Go figure.  Whatever wrote this obviously flunked the Dale Carnegie course of how to win friends and influence people. 

This would fit under the category of some unknown person trying to have his cake and eat it too.  I frankly am not impressed; and Gene Chandler needs to disavow this before it does him more harm than good.  Here is the missive and the link to the mystery site.  Steve V


Transformative leaders are necessary to effect change. Speaker O'Brien has been that leader. Under his leadership, the House has reversed the destructive spending policies of past Legislatures. Great strides towards increased liberty and government efficiency have happened. Unfortunately, great change brings great pain.

Due to the antics of some eccentric House members, resistance from the slow moving Senate, and the mistakes of some prominent members.. our accomplishments are at risk. The very next thing that we must accomplish is to win back the trust of the people. Speaker O'Brien has done all that he can do, but the public perception is that the House is out of control.

He has been the victim of multiple attacks which have damaged his credibility. He has not deserved most of those attacks. It isn't fair, but political life rarely is. The House as a whole, and Republicans in particular, need to take steps to get the public back on our side so that we can safeguard the many reforms passed over the last two years.

Speaker O’Brien has our gratitude. This isn’t personal. There is just too much water under the bridge at this point. We need a new Speaker, experienced in running the House. We need a Speaker with the gravitas to rein in the fringe elements of the House and restore order. Representative Chandler is a good man and has not made a move to challenge Speaker O’Brien, in the interest of party unity.

I think that it is worthwhile to see if there is support for Representative Chandler. If there is, we should collectively encourage him to seek the office. If you agree that this at least deserves discussion, please post your thoughts at Please keep all comments respectful. You can use the “Leave Comment” link under the post. If you don’t know what to write, but want to show your support, just add your name. Draft Chandler – Not in any way associated with or authorized by Rep. Chandler


Is D.J. Expecting More Than Trouble

This one comes with three caveats.

One--For me, it falls under the category, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Two--It's a rumor and I offer it here not really as much for the factual basis (although I tend to believe it) as much as to show how rumors spread.  Were I a newspaper editor, I would not run with this, but hey, this is a blog, not a newspaper.

Three--The source of the rumor is espcecially fascinating, and while I can't verify the rumor, I can verify the source.

By now, you should be forewarned to stop reading if you can't handle it.

I see you're still here, so I can report that apparently disgraced Republican House leader D.J. Bettencourt is expecting a little more than being thrown out of UNH Law School.

According to a rumor being spread by former Republican Governor Steve Merrill (as I recall, there were several rumors about his own sexual conduct at the time he split the scene--one would think his lips would be more careful), there's a reason why D.J. and his girl friend, the House paid p.r. person under Speaker O'Brien, are getting married.

According to my unimpeachable source, Merrill is spreading the rumor that she (I won't name her name here) is pregnant.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...unless it's someone with a history of rantng against premarital sex by others, I find nothing wrong with pregnancies prior to marriage.

But then I'm a libertarian.

The fascinating thing is that Merrill would be spreading such rumors.

Yes indeed, as I was finishing up Bill Lee's autobiography and moving on to "Say It Ain't So Joe" (a great look at the life of Shoeless Joe Jackson...was he guilty as a Black Soxer in 1919 or not?), as I was making the first swath through my lawn over the weekend, the former New Hampshire governor was telling people that D.J. got his girl friend pregnant.

Say it ain't so, Governor.  Why would you spread such a thing knowing that someone in the blogosphere would pick up on it.

The Bill Lee book ("The Wrong Stuff" written in 1984) is a real hoot.  Remind me to tell the Dapper O'Neil story some time.

It is, after all, the summer of baseball...

As well as the summer of Merrill spreading rumors.


A Rather Boring Day In The NH House; McQuaid Stabs O'Brien Twice!

Anyone who was expecting fireworks on the House floor today (in the wake of Bettencourt and Mead scandals) was sadly disappointing.  This is traditionally one of the most boring days of the year (I’m so bored, I’m writing this with the sound on in the background).  Senate messages, amendments usually involving minor changes to bills, are read and voted upon, usually approved with only a smattering of no votes.

The House adjourned at 11:52 a.m.

At the beginning of the session. Bettencourt's rather lengthy resignation was read along with the resignation of Carroll County Republican Norman Tregenza (apparently he's moving out of the district and thus is required to resign by the Constitution--hey, hey, some people still honor the Constitution).

The two resignations will not be significant today, but they could well be when it comes to voting on Constitutional Amendments next week.  Keep in mind that 60 percent of the elected members is required to pass amendments along to voters.  Last week, the number was 239 (we had 397 members; 397 times 60 percent is 238.2; round up to 239).  The DJ resignation brought the number down to 238, and it appears the Tregenza departure knocks it down to 237 (395 times 60 percent is exactly 237).  This will only matter should it be a close call on amendment votes next week.  I had Tregenza listed as opposing the education funding amendment, so his departure ironically could help get to the required number.

There is very little chance any amendment would pass today.  On early roll call votes, only about 310 of the 395 Reps were there.  Any absence is as good as a no vote when it comes to amendments.  Keep that in mind for next week's final day of the session.  New GOP leader Peter Principle Silva will have his work cut out for him in getting enough people in the hall to get the votes he and O'Brien will need.

Comments on DJ were rife throughout the hall.  One I heard was that as bad as his cheating and lying conduct was, it was even worse that we continued to try to cover-up his misdeeds as late as Friday.  In other words, he wasn't about to come clean at all had not Rep. Giuda insisted. I agree.  As always, the cover-up is worse than the initial misdeed.

In the past two days, the Union Leader has featured two editorials extremely critical of O'Brien.  While neither calls for his resignation, they both approach the issue as they are extremely critical of his leadership style.  Could this be like Richard Nixon deciding to tough it out in 1974 until super conservative Barry Goldwater told him he'd lost his core of support?

I'm just asking.

Here's what the Union Leader (Andrew Cline but presumably with Publisher McQuaid's consent) wrote:

"The Speaker's handling of the House business in the last few months has needlessly angered allies as well as foes.  Provoking the Senate and the governor, both needed to pass critical legislation, was a mistake.  So were his mishandlings of Mead and Bettencourt."

To paraphrase Shakespeare (from Julius Caesar), "Et tu, McQuaid.  Then die (figuratively speaking of course--we wanted want problem from the ubiquitous PC police) OBie, die."

The Union Leader is still trying to recover from being totally scooped by Matt Spolar and the Concord Monitor in Meadgate.  Like a lover scorned, expect the paper to go out of its way to pound the issue since it missed the boat originally.  (How's that for pop psychology?)

O'Brien, of course, will survive for two reasons--the session is ending soon (not soon enough) and his super GOP majority, many of whom fail to see the new role they are playing, that of lambs to the slaughter.

While OBie will survive this term, chances of him being back (as Speaker) next year as closer to zero than the temperature outside in Nome, Alaska in mid-January.


My DJ Reaction--If It's Good Enough For The Monitor, It's Good Enough For This Blog

O'Brien Orders Republican Ship "Full Steam Ahead"
From: Matthew Spolar []
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2012 1:10 PM
To: Vaillancourt, Steve
Subject: Fwd: O'Brien email
Hi Steve -- Did you get this email? If so, drop me a line and tell me what you think. Getting some reactions for tomorrow's paper.

From: Vaillancourt, Steve
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:05 PM
To: Matthew Spolar
Subject: RE: O'Brien email

I've been busy all day with the Hillsborough County budget, and since I have no computer at home, I only know what y'all in the media tell me.  I have some--many--thoughts, and will share them not only with you, but with the world.  First congratulations; I was going to do a Media Watch blog on your breaking of deserve an award for that...and I trust we haven't heard the end of it.  "A fish rots from the head down."  Where's the head here?

1)  In a sense, DJ's lies in his personal life don't trouble me nearly as much as the constant stream of lies he told from the House floor which I have pointed out in my blog.  The whopper in his speech about redistricting meeting both state and federal constitutions is printed in the journal, so posterity will know of this biggest of all lies.  Last week, when we began removing things from table (which never should have been tabled), D.J. lied again saying the tabling ploy had succeeded in giving us leverage with the Senate when in fact the tabling only made the matter worse with the Senate.  D.J. had begun to feel he was above the laws which apply to normal people...interestingly, even the Speaker had to take D.J. to task twice (ever so gently of course) for saying things against the rules in his parliamentary inquiries.  The more I think of it, the more I see personal and public lies intersecting....DJ obviously came to believe (perhaps not even consciously, and that would be the real tragedy) that he'd been getting away with so many lies on the House floor, that he'd been able pull to wool over the eyes of members of his super majority so often, that he would be able to get away with personal lies as well.  I'm no psychiatrist but that would tend to explain him recklessly going for broke with such a stupid lie, stupid being defined as one in which you are certain to get caught.   It seems that those who take comfort in lying at will never think about getting caught, so it becomes second nature to them.

2)  If it's a rection to O'Brien you seek, as always I will be honest (and may even work in a German reference so be forewarned).  I do some of my best thinking when I either mow my lawn or ride my bike (along the Lachine Canal).   I was mowing my lawn yesterday and thought of a title for a new blog based on Cold War history of Berlin.   It would be called "The Fechterization of NH Republicans" named after the young East German (Peter Fechter) who in 1962 bled to death at the base of the wall, having been shot by Vopos as American soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie did nothing to help him. New Hampshire Republicans remind me of the American soldiers who knew something terrible was happening but didn't want to rock the boat by helping the young man.  They chose cowardice over action.  Republicans who blindly follow O'Brien are choosing cowardice over what is best for society, the state, and the party today.
When I finished mowing, I went inside and ran the numbers district by district for the November election (a task I'd been setting aside for a long time).  Whether you believe it or not, I came up with exactly 200-200 for next year.  I had not planned this, but I had guessed it would be in that range.  Republican insistence on continuing to display blind loyalty to the tyrant will do irreparable (at least for this year) harm to the party, just like Peter Fechter was allowed to bleed to death at the base of the wall by those who could have helped him but chose not to.  As I tried to tell the late Mike Whalley back in 2006 (prior to the Demcrats assuming control), a tsunami is building.  Republicans don't know what is about to hit them.  Bill O'Brien is like the helmsman on the Titanic....Yes, he sees the iceberg out there; we all see it, but he's almighty and no bit of ice can hurt the almighty ,so full speed ahead!
A more appropriate analogy (albeit a NAZI one, so avert your tender eyes if you are offended by such forewarned) is that Bill O'Brien is like the German leader (no H words, please!) at the gates of Moscow or Stalingrad...we've come this far...sure it's getting cold; sure, we lack winter clothing; sure, we've run out of food; and sure there appear to be a lot of Russians massing out there, but I, your leader, am invincible, so why should I allow you to turn back now.  Full speed ahead.  Victory will be hours if we only redouble our efforts to vanquish the enemy.
Such reckless conduct is truly dangerous in both a political and military leader.  Obvisouly neither DJ nor OB were cut out to be leaders.

3)  If it's about the new leader Peter Silva, I guess I should exercise a bit of self censorship here, but that's never been my style.  Let's just say the Peter Principle should have been applied to this Peter long ago.  He's one of the most incompetent people I could imagine at the helm (iceberg, what iceberg?), and I am convinced Republicans will be wiped out espeically in his own Nashua this year.  Even Shawn His Vileness (whom I despise) would have been an infinitely better choice to lead the flock through these final uneventful (hopefully) days than the Peter principle personified.

If it was a comment on the new deputy you sought, here's a nice little story. I recall when I had DJ and O'Brien on my TV show just after the past election, back in the days when some of us hoped that government could be reined in without resorting to totalitarian means.   I always ask guests if there is anything they would prefer I not bring up during the course of our interview....You're way ahead of me....O'Brien didn't want to talk about the one thing I trust Ray Buckley and Kathy Sullivan and their ilk (not that there's anything wrong with ilk) will pound home day after day now... Stepanek's DWI.  Don't get me wrong.  We all do things we wish we hadn't done; I had a DWI 25 or so years ago, and I believe I learned from it; I've discussed it on my show, but it appears O'Brien just wanted it to go's not going away...and I still have the vision in my mind of this recent DWI person jumping up to the floor asking for a piece of my flesh two weeks would expect more compassion for someone who has shown very little remorse for his own transgressions.  But now he's Peter Principle's Deputy.
You just can't make this stuff up....nor would I want to try.

Enough?  Peace!