Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Wednesday
Jun272012

O'Brien Solicits Applause From GOP; Admonishes Dem Applause

New Hampshire rules and tradition quite clearly states that neither applause or booing is ever in order.  It is up to the Speaker to enforce this policy fairly so that the House does not get out of control.

However, in his final day (hopefully) of wielding the gavel, Speaker Bill O'Brien appeared to go out of his way in soliciting applause when House Republicans overrode some gubernatorial vetoes.  O'Brien announced the passage of the photo ID for voting bill in such a manner that just begged applause.

Sure enough, Republicans begin to hoot and holler, and the Speaker allowed it.

It happened again moments later on another bill, more loud applause on an override.

However, apparently what's sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander.  Later in the day, when Republicans were on the losing end of a veto override attempt, a few Democrats cheered.  Not only did the Speaker point out how inappropriate this was, he actually named names (he admonished Durham Rep Tim Horrigan to control himself).

A fish rots from the head down, and this fish once again, hopefully for the last time, showed how rotten it is.

Wednesday
Jun272012

Democrats Jump To 49-37 Lead In NH House Races

Before a single vote has been cast for the 400-seat New Hampshire House, Democrats appear to have built up a 49-37 lead.  That's based on filings from the period which ended a week ago today.  Stated another way, Republicans have failed to file candidates for 49 of the 400 seats while Democrats failed to file for 37 seats. 

Of course, this may not turn out to be the case.  No candidates can either file or be filed by the parties now, but it's conceivable that the parties could discover "willing" candidates and mount campaigns to get them written in during the September primary.  In fact, I've learned that is precisely  what Republicans, having been beaten badly to the punch by Democrats in the first round of this year's struggle, are attempting to do.  Only 35 signatures are required in the primary to gain ballot access come November, but most likely, if someone has not yet expressed an interest in running, he or she cannot be expected to mount a winning campaign later (although the Marueen Nagle effect kicks in from time to time--see earlier post).

In many cases, these filings don't matter a great deal.  For example, Democrats have filled all six spots in Bedford and five in Goffstown, but they most likely will be blanked in the November election in those highly Republican towns.  Call the candidates "sacrificial lambs" if you will. 

Republicans, on the other hand, have not had as much success lining up lambs--they have no candidates for four seats in Lebanon, four in Hanover, and are dramatically short in Democratic strongholds such as Dover, Keene, and Concord.

However, it can make a difference and here's how.  Belmont, one of the most solidly Republican towns in the state, has a pair of Democrats running for two seats, and since Republicans could find NO ONE to run, it appears the Democats will "steal" these two seats.  One of the Democrats, by the way, is the colorful George Condodemetraky who received less than 30 percent of the vote statewide in losing the 1998 U.S. Senate race to Judd Gregg.  Ah yes, I was a Democrat back then and was aboard the Condo campaign in media relations.  (Don't blame me; there was no controlling George, and believe me, I tried).

The thought of George Condo in the NH House is...let's see...what would the best word be?...it's shall we say...intriguing.  It's almost enouch to make Republicans long for the days of one of their favorite RINOs, Belmont Republican Dr. Jim Pilliod who it seems has proven irreplacable.  Apparently when former O'Brien operative Bob Mead was being paid taxpayer dollars to travel around recruiting Republican candidates, he never made it to Belmont!

Who would need to make such stuff up?

Not I, said the cat.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've run this by some other numbers crunchers, and here's what I get.

Along with the two seats in Belknap County (Belmont), Republicans have failed to fill:

seven seats in Hillsborough County (including five in Manchester, tending to verify my contention that the GOP will be decimated in the Queen City, one in Nashua, and one in Peterborough);

eight seats in Cheshire County (five in Keene, one each in Jaffrey, Winchester, and Swanzey);

four in Coos County (including all three in Berlin and one in Gorham);

nine in Merrimack County (seven in Concord, one each in Henniker and Boscawen);

seven in Strafford County (four in Dover, three in Rochester);

nine in Grafton County (the four in Lebanon, the four in Hanover, and one in Plymouth);

one in a Claremont ward in Sullivan County;

and only two in Rockingham County (Portsmouth and Newmarket), an indication as I've said before that Rockingham is the last stronghold of Republicanism in the state.

Democrats were unable to fill:

four seats in Merrimack County (all in Hooksett):

a whopping 22 in Rockingham County (six in Derry, two in Londonderry, three in Raymond, three in Chester area, three in Seabrook, two in Atkinson, and one each in Epping, Hampstead, and Greenland);

one in Strafford County (Rochester);

four in Carroll County (two in Brookfield, one in Tamworth, one in Tuftonboro, rather solid GOP territory);

two in Cheshire (Rindge);

one in the northern section of Coos County;

three in Grafton (one each in Littleton, Haverhill, and Lincoln--Edmond thanks you!).

As for Hillsborough County, amazingly, Democrats have filled all 122 seats.  As I've said in the past, look for major Democratic gains in Manchester, Nashua, and Strafford Counties.

As for primaries, Democrats apparently only have 16 of them, and each involves just one excess candidate.

Republicans (again I may be off by one or two here, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) appear to have and excess of 88 candidates for a total of 61 primaries, many with numerous excess candidates.  For example, 14 Republicans want 11 seats in Hudson (only three are from Pelham which deserves to get four seats); nine vie for six Bedford seats; eight for five Goffstown seats; ten for seven seats in Londonderry; 12 for nine seats in Salem; six for four seats in Windham.   There's even a single member float, Rockingham 34 (Hampstead, Atkinson) which has four Republicans running. 

While Republicans could not fill five seats in Manchester, they have four primaries in the city including in Ward 4 where four people (including the still hospitalized Leo Pepino--it was a heart attack) are after the two seats.  For the first time ever, I'll face a primary in Ward 8; last year, Republicans couldn't fill the ballot in the ward; this year, there's an excess.

While Democrats have been most efficient in filling seats, it's been either feast or famine for Republicans leaving party leaders scrambling even after the filing period has ended. 

Who merits the blame?  Is it Bob Mead or Speaker O'Brien or the party chair or vice chair?   Heads shoud roll for such incompetence, espeically considering the GOP has been outmaneuvered when it comes to placing candidates in underlying districts versus floterials as well.  Note how Ben Baroody refiled in Manchester from running for a float (in such a Democratic area--Wards 4, 5, 6 and 7 that even a weak candidate will win) to going back to run in Ward 6 where he can be expected to knock out either Republican Gagne or the other guy (no names of the redistricing snakes please).  This is consummate filing skill by Democrats who have run circles around GOP strategizers.  You don't have to thank me Ray; you deserve the praise. 

I have finished my first attempt at picking winners (no names but actual seats) and expect to post all 400 soon here soon.  In fact, I spent considerable time today letting people in single member districts know I was picking against them (a courtesy, so they would not read it here first). For those who can't wait, my tally comes out to 202 Republicans, 197 Democrats, and Independent Cynthia Dokmo from Amherst.  Those are the kind of numbers which dictate against O'Brien ever getting back as Speaker (assuming he survives a primary challenge from Mead and John Quinlan in Hillsborough 5--a two member distict of Mt. Vernon and New Boston).

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy, I say summoning as much sarcasm as is humanly possible.  O'Brien went out with a blaze of ignominy in today's final House session.  When Republicans won a vote, the Speaker, contrary to House rules and traditions which say applause is never in order, seemed to be actually soliciting applause.  He got hoots and hollers from his Republican minions, and he never wielded a gavel to stop it, but then when a Democrat or two attempted to applaud a victory, O'Brien named names.  He told Tim Horrigan, of Durham, to control himself.

YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE SUCH TYRANNY UP, and I suspect we (the royal we) won't have to report such abuse come December.

 

Tuesday
Jun262012

Republicans Favored In 17 of 24 State Senate Races

As promised last week, I've typed up my analysis of all 24 State Senate districts.  I offer it here in chart form but would recommendation reading the explanation first.  Any questions, I'll try to answer them here later.  This is simply a numerical look.  In a future post (fairly soon I hope, maybe even when I'm on the road this weekend), I'll rank the 24 districts taking other factors (such as actual candidates) into account

New Hampshire State Senate 2012 Analysis--Explanation

For the sake of consistency in all work, Republicans are always listed first, Democrats second.   Also for consistency, + (plus) in the advantage column indicates that much of an advantage for Republicans; - (minus) indicates that advantage for Democrats.  For example, the 4.88 change in district one means the district overall has become 4.88 percent more Democratic in the past ten years, going from a 2.58 Republican advantage in 2002 to a 2.30 Democratic advantage now. 

District 1 is the closest we can find to a pure toss-up; it’s one of the few districts in the state where the party advantage has actually flipped, from slightly Republican to slightly Democratic.  As long as Gallus remained, Republicans could handle the numerical loss, but his retirement but this seat in jeopardy.  It would have been difficult, however, to make the district more Republican as much of the North Country is becoming more Democratic. 

District 5 (Hanover/Lebanon/Claremont) features a huge advantage for Democrats (-26.86 translates as a 28.86 % advantage for Democrats).  District 21 (Durham/Portsmouth) is even more so at -29.54.  Three other districts are so strongly Democrat that “no Republican need apply.”  That’s called stacking (or legal “gerrymandering”, a true work of art by Senate redistricters)! 

Districts 6 and 23 have flipped even more dramatically than District 1, from leaning Democratic to nearly safe Republican.  Ain’t redistricting grand!   

District 8 is very close, but as long as O’Dell chooses to run, it would have to be ranked Safe R. 

District 9 (Bedford) exemplifies a pattern that is evident in many places; districts which have become less Republican (a negative number in the change column), but are still Republican to a degree which would normally allow a Republican to win the district, albeit by fewer votes (Does it really matter if you win by 2000 or 4000 votes?).

Districts 14 and 19 and 22 (Londonderry/Hudson; Derry; and Salem) have not changed at all geographically yet they have all become even more solidly Republican, a sure indication that voting trends at the top of the ticket in this section of the state are trending even more Republican (just like Grafton and the North Country are trending Democratic).

District 24 experiences the greatest flip of all, from safe Democratic (2010 was the exception) to marginally Republican.

17 To 7—As you will note, Republicans are favored (at least to some degree) in 17 of the 24 districts; Democrats are favored in only seven districts but are favored by stupendous margins in five of the seven!  Ain’t redistricting grand!  Ten years ago, Democrats were favored in 10 districts (including the old District 7).

NR--Since Districts 4 and 7 have changed so totally in redistricting, no comparisons to ten years ago are valid.  Thus, the not relevant (NR) notation.

District/Incumbent     R%     D%     Advan 2012   Advan 2002   Change

1/Gallus                        48.85   51.15    -2.30                +2.58               -4.88

2/Foreseter                   51.80   48.20   +2.60               +8.58               -4.98

3/Bradley                     54.21   45.79     +8.42               +10.52             -2.19

4/NR                            43.08   56.92      -13.84              NR                   NR

5/Houde                       36.57   63.43     -26.86              -8.56                -18.30

6/Groen                        53.10   46.90     +6.20               -6.32                +12.52

7/NR                            51.53   48.47       +3.06               NR                   NR

8/O’Dell                       51.18   48.82       +2.36               -5.94                +8.30

9/White                        53.36   46.37      +7.26               +15.84             -8.58

10/Kelly                       37.82   62.18       -24.36              -17.30              -7.05

11/Bragdon                  53.67   46.33      +7.34               +3.80               +3.54

12/Luther                     52.87   47.13      +5.74               +0.24               +5.98

13/Lambert                  45.62   54.38      -8.76                -8.44                -0.32

14/Carson                    57.35   42.64      +14.70             +10.02             +4.68

15/Larsen                     36.61   63.39      -26.78              -19.74              -7.04

16/Boutin                     52.98   47.02       +5.96               +7.82               -1.86

17/Barnes                     52.14   47.86      +4.28               +7.40               -3.12

18/DeBlois                   53.70   46.30        +7.40               +3.00               +4.40

19/Rausch                    58.72   41.28       +17.44             +11.02             +6.42

20/D’Allesendro           52.33   47.67        +4.66               +4.82               -0.16

21/Merrill                     35.23   64.77        -29.54              -19.20              -10.34

22/Morse                     58.59   41.41        +17.18             +10.36             +6.82

23/Prescott                   53.56   46.44       +7.12               -2.48                +9.60

24/Stiles                       51.56   48.40        +3.12               -9.38                +12.50

 

Methodology of The Rating System

            If we want to discover how Democratic or Republican a particular city, town, or ward is—based on actual voting history and not based on the less reliable voter registration tables—the fist thing we need to do is establish a baseline.

            In 2002, I discovered that if we used the five closest statewide races for the previous decade, the parties virtually split the votes cast in those five races statewide.   (I always disregard third or fourth party candidates).  The races were 1992 for President and U.S. Senate, 1996 for U.S. Senate, and 2000 for President and U.S. Senate.  Statewide in those five races, Republicans received 1,214,890 votes while Democrats received 1,212,805 votes.  That amounts to 50.04 percent for Republicans; 49.96 percent for Democrats, close enough to 50-50 so that we can then add up totals in any town, city, or ward and get a number to judge just how much any advantage one of the parties would enjoy in that location, all other factors being equal.

            The exercise worked so well that I decided to do it again for the last ten years.  Data from one close race is hardly enough, so I sought out five of them and discovered that we had a large share of blowouts the past then years.  So the best I could come up with was four statewide races (for U.S. Senate in 2002; for President and Governor in 2004; and for Governor in 2010).  For the fifth, I did something I would prefer not to do, but it works fairly well…I used the two Congressional races of 2010.

            If you add the numbers for Democratic candidates in those five races, you get 1,329,197; for Republicans, it’s 1,319,928.  That breaks down to 50.17 for Democrats to 49.83 for Republicans, not quite as close to 50-50 as we were in 2002, but it’s good enough for this exercise.

             Here are the numbers:

2002 Senate—John Sununu 227,224, Jeanne Shaheen 207,478.

2004 President—John Kerry 340,511, George W. Bush 331,237

2004 Governor—John Lynch 341,299, Craig Benson 325,981

2010 Governor—John Lynch 240,346, John Stephen 205,616

2010 1st CD—Frank Guinta 121,655, Carol Shea Porter 95,503

2010 2nd CD—Charlie Bass 108,610, Kuster 105,616

Using these same races, we can get a total for any town, ward, or city, and then we can add these numbers to get a number for any race we desire (it’s limited only by the amount of time you want to spend running the numbers; or creating a computer program if you're into that) from all State Rep districts (including floats) to the 24 State Senate districts to Executive Council districts…to anything.

Not only that, we can compare the number from 2002 to 2012, and if we really want to create more work, we can look for example at how an unchanged Senate district would stack up to how the ones approved for this year look.   Remember I did that last week to show how Republican Senate mappers had made District 17 less Republican (Jack Barnes didn’t seem to need the help; now, he’s decided not to run, the decision could come back to haunt Republicans) in order to make District 23 more Republican (to help Russ Prescott).  Be careful what you wish for.

For the purpose of consistency, Republican totals will always be listed first, Democrats second.  The higher above 50, the more Republican an area is; the lower the number, the more Democratic the area.  I arrive at an advantage by subtracting the two numbers.

Let’s run just one example here, and I’ll use my own Manchester Ward 8 which just happens to be the most Republican ward in the city (note that it’s the only ward which gave more votes to Stephen than to Lynch for Governor in 2010).

 

Ward 8 Totals For The Five Races

2002—U.S. Senate—Sununu 1804, Shaheen 1321

2004—President—Bush 2613, Kerry 1983

2004—Governor—Benson 2598, Lynch 1959

2010—Governor—Stephen 1603, Lynch 1576

2012 1st CD—Guinta 1768, Porter 1298

Five Combined Races—Republican 10,386, Democrat 8137

That’s 56.07 percent for Republicans, 43.93 percent for Democrats or a GOP advantage of 12.14 percent.  (The 2002 number for ward 8 was 54.15-45.85 for a GOP advantage of 8.30.  Thus, Ward 8—in these five races at least—has become quite a bit more Republican in the past ten years.  Republicans should be winning more down ballot seats here.  That's why it was especially sad for Republicans that they could only come up with two candidates to run for three state rep seats two years ago; it might not matter to get Republicans to run in highly Democratic ward 3, but it's a missed opportunity to fail to fill the slate in Ward 8).  This knowledge will obviously prove useful throughout the state. 

As a quick example, Rochester is just about 50-50, so races should be close there in a "normal" year.  The fact that Democrats won most seats there in 2006 and Republicans in 2010 shows that those were not "normal" years.  I suspect 2012 will be fairly "normal"; in other words, neutral at the top of the ticket.

A great thing about this system is that actual raw numbers are used.  Thus, when it comes to creating a Senate district tally (for District 18 for example),Ward 8 with a fairly high turnout would contribute much more than low turnout ward 5.  (The Ward 5 totals are 4649 for Republican candidates in the five races; 5380 for the Democratic candidates thus a ranking of 46.36 for the inner city ward).

Since so many numbers are involved, my assumption is that I’ve made a few mistakes, but I trust they are minor.  You can run the numbers for anything.  Let’s make Litchfield a test case.  Dig out the red books for the five elections.  Fill the numbers into the chart, and see what you come up with.  If it’s not 59.38 (a very strong Republican number indeed), either you or I have erred.  Ten years ago, Litchfield was 54.14, so it’s gotten much more Republican…again based on top of the ticket close races.

Tuesday
Jun262012

538 Affirms New Hampshire's Swing State Status

 

Fivethirtyeight.com, one of my favorite web sites, is looking at each of the 50 states individually in coming days, and yesterday Nate Silver focused on New Hampshire.  Whoops!  Actually staffer Micah Cohen wrote this particular piece.

There's not a great deal new here, but the data tends to verify what I've been talking about the past several weeks, especially how large portions of Rockingham County are becoming more Republican while the Connecticut River Valley is becoming more Democratic.  "Democrats call that area (Rockingham County)," Cohen quotes UNH pollster Andy Smith "the Bermuda Triangle, where Democratic candidates go to die."

Cohen writes (and you don't have to pay to get this), "For Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney--both of whom are mapping out routes to 270 electoral votes needed to take the Presidency--New Hampshire represents not just four votes, but four of the final votes needed to get to, or stay in, the White House.  On some maps, New Hampshire is the final push across the finish line."

Silver fails to note how Al Gore would have been President in 2001 had Ralph Nader not taken 19,000 or so votes away from him, enough to give New Hampshire’s four vital votes to George Bush in 2000.

538 does note how there are several scenarios in which the four votes could make the difference this year; I've related them here earlier.

Cohen also notes how New Hampshire has trended Democratic in recent years after every Republican Presidential candidate (except Goldwater in 1964) carried the state from 1948 to 1988.

Clinton won here by a point in 1992, by 10 in 1996, then Bush won by less than one in 2000, Kerry by one point in 2004, and Obama by ten points (including all ten counties) in 2008.

This year promises to be more like 2000 and 2004 than 2008.

At this point, 538.com gives Obama a 71 percent chance to win New Hampshire, slightly better than the 63 percent chance overall.

Silver has New Hampshire ranked eighth on its list of Tipping Point states, ahead of big states like Michigan and North Carolina, and third in its list of Return on Investment States.

No wonder you can't watch Channel 9 News for more than a few minutes without seeing commercials from both sides; it's that great return on investment?

On the Congressional front, Silver (this time it is in fact his article) gives Republicans a four to one chance of holding control (I'd make it 10 to 1).  He ranks control of the Senate as a virtual toss-up.  I still see Republicans easily winning control (North Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Montana all turn red easily with Virginia the real toss-up and an outside shot for Republicans in Florida and Ohio--only Maine is lost and then only to Independent King).

Fivethrityeight.com is worth a look every few days of so, now more than ever.

Tuesday
Jun262012

Ovide And Jackie (NOT Maggie) Neck And Neck

 

Here's a Rasmussen poll that nearly snuck by undetected last week.  Details are only available to paid subscribers, but Real Clear Politics has posted results which show Republican Ovide Lamontagne ahead of Democrat Jackie Cilley by two points (41-39) in the race for governor.  Meanwhile, Ovide holds a six point leader (42-36) over Democrat (and friend of kathythes) Maggie Hassan.

Here's how Rasmussen rather cryptically words the free part on its web--"A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely New Hampshire votes finds the top two Republicans, attorney Ovide Lamontagne and former State Representative Kevin Smith--running neck and neck with former Democratic State Senator Jackie Cilley and only slightly ahead of another Democratic hopeful, ex-state Senator Maggie Hassan."

That rather mysterious language would lead us to believe that Kevin Smith does about the same as Ovide against the two Democrats, but it would certainly lead Democrats to believe what I've been saying all along, Jackie would be better than Maggie The Dog Torturer Hassan.

This Rasmussen poll was apparently taken as the same time as one which shows President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points (48-43) in New Hampshire.

Rasmussen reports that 20 to 25 percent like some other candidate for governor or are undecided in every case.  500 voters were surveyed on June 20 for this poll.

Anyone who subscribes to Rasmussen and has more details, please pass them along.