Rep Steve Vaillancourt


Nepotism? O'Brien Should Look At His Own House

            House Speaker Bill O’Brien, always one to grandstand in the most provocative fashion, has headed off on a witch hunt demanding that executive department heads “investigate” and report back by July 30 whether any family members are working in their agencies.

            This is not some totalitarian state in which a single legislator can bully executive department heads into compliance although this is certainly not the first time O’Brien has disgraced the office he holds by attempting to bully those around him.

            Before O’Brien seeks to control executive departments, he could do the taxpayers of the state a favor by getting his own House in order.

            We may not know how many employees are on the payroll in agencies, but we know for a fact that O’Brien has one employee under his very nose who is there due to nepotism.

            Shannon Bettencourt, who according to House records is paid $45,458.27 a year as House media relations and constituent service specialist, is not only the wife of disgraced former Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, of Salem, she is also pregnant with DJ’s child.

            Thus there can be no doubt that there was (and most likely still is) a sexual relationship with someone paid by O’Brien and the man who until late spring was the number two Republican in the House.

            Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

            This is so obvious an area of nepotism that any sentient human being would have to wonder why O’Brien would make an issue of this.  It’s kind of like him ranting and raving about voter fraud when his own son was proven to have committed the most blatant type of voter fraud.

            Have you no shame, Mister Speaker?

            Shannon Bettencourt is filling a position which under former Speaker Terie Norelli was a part-time position.  With the House not in session and with Speaker O’Brien having drastically curtailed the amount of time Representatives can spend tending to their constituents, only someone dedicated to grade A nepotism and grad A cronyism could justify keeping Mrs. Bettencourt on the payroll for the summer.

            The since departed Cissy Taylor, a former Union Leader employee, was filling the same role for Speaker Norelli.  However, Taylor was released when the House session ended.

            Mrs. Bettencourt has not been laid off, at least not prior to her role as gate keeper in banning Concord Monitor reporters from an O’Brien press conference two weeks ago.

            Even as Speaker O’Brien continues to thwart State Representatives in their ability to do the job they were elected to do, he keeps a staff aboard way out of proportion to what other Speakers have done.

            When Norelli was Speaker, she had a chief of staff (Donald Manning), but no high paid policy advisor.  The first thing O’Brien did when he became Speaker was augment Chief of Staff Bob Mead with Greg Moore in a costly advisor position.  (Of course, Mead was later demoted and Moore moved into the Chief of Staff position, and Mead then left completely).

            With very little House business in the summer, why do we need to keep Greg Moore on board at a salary of $80,000 a year?

            Inquiring minds want to know.

            Of course, the House Finance Committee and joint Fiscal Committee oversee the House budget, but who sits on those committees? 

            You guessed it, people appointed by Bill O’Brien.  When I sat on Division I during budget time last year, I was alone in challenging such bloated expenditures.

            Oh yes, I was subsequently removed from the Finance Committee and slurred in every way possible by the Speaker.


            You better believe there’s nepotism in New Hampshire state government, and it begins right in Speaker O’Brien’s office.


The Summer Reading Room--LBJ, Cronkite, And Harper Lee Biographies

Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson


            After a week in deepest aestivation (the summer version of hibernation), I was beginning to think I’d never write here again.

            Much time was spent getting my predictions for the 400 State Rep seats onto paper (posted moments ago), but in point of fact, I admit to having perfected the art of doing nothing and enjoying it.

            I’m reading an 1100 page book on Lyndon Johnson (Master of the Senate, the third of five volumes on LBJ from Robert Caro; the fourth volume just came out and I so enjoyed it, I went back for more).  I’ve always disliked LBJ, but as I read more and more of this, I’ve come to detest the man even more.  I’ve always ranked him as the third worst president (behind the other big government enablers Woodrow Wilson and FDR), but I am compelled to move him into the number one position. 

            A terrible president, and a rotten human being, and this is what I gather after reading someone who has spent the last 30 years writing about him.

            Does the name Leland Olds ring a bell?  He was a darling of FDR and Truman; he served ten years as a regulator of national energy, but then was tarnished as a Communist sympathizer by LBJ in an attempt (successful) to block his renomination.

            Bobby Kennedy was right.

            LBJ was not to be trusted.  He was a proven liar; and a proven cheat; Caro admits he stole thousands of votes in various elections (Abe Fortas helped him get away with it).

            Then there was this business about LBJ whipping out his sexual apparatus and bragging about it and of forcing his aides to come to confer with him while he was on the toilet, not standing outside the door mind you, but right inside.

            Thus, I’ve come to despise LBJ in my summer of aestivation.

            If I can ever get through this book, I’ve got the new biography of Walter Cronkite in line next (it’s 700 pages—must everyone write in such detail these days?).  Talk about serendipity!  Any idea what Cronkite’s middle name was?  Leland.  I don’t think I’d ever seen that name and now I run across it twice in the same week.

            On a lighter note, while searched for the book on LBJ (J in the library shelves), I came across a fascinating biography of Harper Lee (L).  Her first name was Nelle (she didn’t want to use it lest people mistake it for Nellie).  I thought this book, Mockingbird, was going to explain why she never wrote another book after To Kill A Mockingbird was such a sensation in the early 60s.  I never quite got an answer to that (perhaps because she came to realize that Mockingbird could never be equaled), but the bio was superb.  The chapter on her going to Kansas to assist Truman Capote in researching In Cold Blood was perhaps the highlight of the book.

            Thus, I’m breaking aestivation to read, albeit not to blog much this summer.

            Maybe later…

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

2012 State Represenative Projections--202 Republicans, 197 Democrats, 1 Indepdendent

Here are my promised projections for 2012 New Hampshire State House seats, based on the June filings.  As in the past, I do not attempt to predict individual winners here but rather am breaking down numbers by district.  Of course, if all Democrats or Republicans are projected to win in a given district, the winners are in fact projected.  However, note for example that in Speaker O'Brien's district (Hillsborough 5), I am merely projecting one seat for Democrats, one for Republicans; I am not naming names of winners and losers.  That is also the case in Manchester Ward 6 and many other places.

As in the past, I have attempted to be totally honest, looking at each district individually, and then adding up the numbers.  As it turns out, these numbers are much better for Democrats than I had foreseen back at the start of the year.  Unlike 2010 in which many Republicans were swept into office on top of the ticket strength and 2006 (and to some extent 2008) when many Democrats were swept in on top of the ticket strength, I am basing these projections on a rather neutral top of the ticket effect.  In other words, don't expect wither Obama or Romney to win by much; and it does not appear that the race for governor and Congressional seats will produce coattails either. 

Geography and past performance are the biggest factors (along with top of the ticket neutrality).  Individuals are taken into account but not to the degree I would like to; I'll endeavor to factor individuals into calculations more after primary winners are determined.  When I encountered a close call and made it for one party in a given instance, my tendency was to give the next close call to the other party, hardly scientific, but it gets us to a bottom line without any toss-ups.  For comparison purposes, I've given 2010 totals by county albeit not for each individual district.  The lone independent I project to win is Cynthia Dokmo, from Amherst (Hillsborough District 22).

Unlike some pundits, I am not giving Republicans an advantage with redistricting.  In fact, cities (especially Manchester due to the Speaker's theft of two seats from the Queen City) have lost seats.  While one would normally say this would be an advantage for Republicans (since Democrats usually do well in cities), one cannot say that this time since Republicans did extremely well in cities, especially Manchester and Nashua, last year.  In other words, Democrats cannot lose what they do not have.  I had also hypothesized that a Republican might be able to break through and pick off normally Democratic seats an individual city wards in places like Keene and Portsmouth; however, I now do not believe that to be the case, at least not this year.

For the sake of consistency, Republicans are always listed first.

2012 New Hampshire State Represenative Projections By County


                                  2012 Projection

County                        R        D     I               2010 R/D

Belknap                        11        7                      18        0         

Carroll                          12        3                      14        0

Cheshire                       5          18                    10        14

Coos                            5          5                      6          5

Grafton                        11        16                    13        13

Hillsborough                 62        59     1             102      21

Merrimack                    16        29                    27        17

Rockingham                 69        21                    80        10

Strafford                       7          30                    19        18

Sullivan                         4          9                      9          4

TOTAL                       202      197   1             298      102

Belknap          Area                            #Reps R        D

Be1      New Hampton, Ctr. Harbor      1          1          0

Be2      Meredith, Gilford                      4          3          1

Be3      Laconia                                    4          2          2

Be4      Sanbornton, Tilton                    2          1          1

Be5      Gilmanton, Alton                       2          2          0

Be6      Belmont                                    2          0          2

Be7      Barnstead                                 1          1          0

Be8      Float Districts 5 and 7               1          1          0

Be9      Float Districts 3 and 6               1          0          1

BE       2012 COUNTY TOTAL                18        11        7  

BE       2010 COUNTY TOTAL                18        18        0


Carroll            Area                            #Reps R        D

Ca1      Bartlett, Jackson                       1          1          0

Ca2      Conway, Eaton, Chatham         3          1          2

Ca3      Albany, Freedom, Tamworth    2          2          0

Ca4      Moulton, Sandwich, Tufton       2          2          0

Ca5      Brookfield, Ossipee, Wkfld      3          3          0

Ca6      Wolfeboro                                2          2          0

Ca7      Float Districts 1 and 2               1          0          1

Ca8      Float Districts 4 and 5               1          1          0

CA       2012 COUNTY TOTAL                15        12        3

CA       2010 COUNTY TOTAL                14        14        0


Cheshire         Area                            #Reps R         D

Ch1      Chest, Hinsdale, Walpole          4          0          4

Ch2      Alstead, Marlow, Surry            1          0          1

Ch3      Gilsum, Stoddard, Nelson         1          1          0

Ch4      Keene 1                                   1          0          1

Ch5      Keene 2                                   1          0          1

Ch6      Keene 3                                   1          0          1

Ch7      Keene 4                                   1          0          1

Ch8      Keene 5                                   1          0          1

Ch9      Dublin, Jaffrey, Harris   2          0          2

Ch10    Marlborough, Troy                   1          0          1

Ch11    Fitzwilliam, Rindge                    2          2          0

Ch12    Richmond, Swanzey                 2          1          1

Ch13    Winchester                               1          0          1

Ch14    Float Districts 9 and 11 1          1          0

Ch15    Float Dists 10, 12, and 13        1          0          1

Ch16    Float All of Keene                    2          0          2

CH       2012 COUNTY TOTAL               23        5          18

CH       2010 COUNTY TOTAL               24        10        14


Coos                Area                            #Reps R         D

Co1     Colebrook, Pittsburg, Etc         2          2          0

Co2     Northum, Dummer, Milan         1          0          1

Co3     Berlin                                       3          0          3

Co4     Lancaster, Dalton, Kilkenny      1          1          0

Co5     Carroll, Jeff, Whitefld, Rand      1          1          0

Co6     Gorham, Shelburne, Etc            1          0          1

Co7     Float Districts 2, 4, and 5          1          1          0

COOS 2012 COUNTY TOTAL               10        5          5

COOS 2010 COUNTY TOTAL               11        6          5


Grafton           Area                            #Reps R         D

Gr1      Littleton, Bethlehem                 2          2          0

Gr2      Franc, Lisbon, Lyman, Etc        1          0          1

Gr3      Bath, Orf, Warren, Pier Etc      1          0          1

Gr4      Haverhill                                  1          1          0

Gr5      Lincoln, Woodstock. WV          1          1          0

Gr6      Rumney, Thornton, Groton       1          1          0

Gr7      Campton                                  1          0          1

Gr8      Plymouth, Holderness               3          0          3

Gr9      Ashland, Bristol, Bridge            2          2          0

Gr10    Enfield                                      1          0          1

Gr11    Canaan, Dorchester                  1          0          1

Gr12    Hanover, Lyme                          4          0          4

Gr13    Lebanon                                   4          0          4

Gr14    Float Districts 1 and 2               1          1          0

Gr15    Float Districts 3 and 4               1          1          0

Gr16    Float Districts 6 and 11 1          1          1          0

Gr17    Float Districts 9 and 10 1          1          1          0

GR       2012 COUNTY TOTAL              27        11        16

GR       2010 COUNTY TOTAL              26        13        13


Hillsborough        Area                       #Reps R         D

Hi1       Antrim, Hillsborough                 2          0          2

Hi2       Weare, Deering                        3          3          0

Hi3       Bennington, Hancock                1          0          1

Hi4       Francestown, Wilton, Lynd       2          1          1

Hi5       New Boston, Mt Vernon          2          1          1

Hi6       Goffstown                                5          5          0

Hi7       Bedford                                    6          6          0

Hi8       Manchester 1                           2          0          2

Hi9       Manchester 2                           2          0          2

Hi10     Manchester 3                           2          0          2

Hi11     Manchester 4                           2          0          2

Hi12     Manchester 5                           2          0          2

Hi13     Manchester 6                           2          1          1

Hi14     Manchester 7                           2          0          2

Hi15     Manchester 8                           2          2          0

Hi16     Manchester 9                           2          0          2

Hi17     Manchester 10                         2          2          0

Hi18     Manchester 11                         2          0          2

Hi19     Manchester 12                         2          1          1

Hi20     Litchfield                                  2          2          0

Hi21     Merrimack                               8          8          0

Hi22     Amherst                                   3          1          1          1

Hi23     Milford                                     4          4          0

Hi24     Peterborough                           2          0          2

Hi25     New Ipswich, Temple               2          2          0

Hi26     Brookline, Mason                     2          1          1

Hi27     Hollis                                        2          2          0

Hi28     Nashua 1                                  3          2          1

Hi29     Nashua 2                                  3          1          2

Hi30     Nashua 3                                  3          0          3

Hi31     Nashua 4                                  3          0          3

Hi32     Nashua 5                                  3          1          2

Hi33     Nashua 6                                  3          0          3

Hi34     Nashua 7                                  3          1          2

Hi35     Nashua 8                                  3          1          2

Hi36     Nashua 9                                  3          1          2

Hi37     Hudson, Pelham                       11        8          3

Hi38     Float Districts 1, 3, and 4          2          1          1

Hi39     Float Districts 2 and 6               1          1          0

Hi40     Float Dists 5, 23, and 27          1          1          0

Hi41     Float Districts 7 and 22             1          1          0

Hi42     Float Manch 1, 2, 3                  2          0          2

Hi43     Float Manch 4, 5, 6, 7              3          0          3

Hi44     Float Manch 8, 9, Litch            2          1          1

Hi45     Float Manch 10, 11, 12            2          0          2

HI        2012 COUNTY TOTAL             122      62        59        1

HI        2010 COUNTY TOTAL             123      102      21


Merrimack                 Area                #Reps R         D

Me1     Andover, Danbury, Salisbury    1          1          0

Me2     Franklin 1 Wds 1, 2, Hill           2          1          1

Me3     Franklin Wd 3, Northfield         2          1          1

Me4     Sutton, Wilmot             1          0          1

Me5     New London, Newbury            2          2          0

Me6     Bradford, Henniker                   2          0          2

Me7     Warner, Webster                      1          0          1

Me8     Boscawen                                1          0          1

Me9     Canterbury, Loudon                 2          1          1

Me10   Concord Wd 5, Hopkinton       3          0          3

Me11   Concord Ward 1                      1          0          1

Me12   Concord Ward 2                      1          0          1

Me13   Concord Ward 3                      1          0          1

Me14   Concord Ward 4                      1          0          1

Me15   Concord Ward 6                      1          0          1

Me16   Concord Ward 7                      1          0          1

Me17   Concord Ward 8                      1          0          1

Me18   Concord Ward 9                      1          0          1

Me19   Concord Ward 10                    1          0          1

Me20   Chichester, Pembroke              3          1          2

Me21   Epsom, Pittsfield                       2          2          0

Me22   Allenstown                               1          1          0

Me23   Bow, Dunbarton                       3          1          2

Me24   Hooksett                                  4          4          0

Me25   Float Districts 1 and 7               1          0          1

Me26   Float Districts 3, 8, 9                1          0          1

Me27   Float Concord 1,2,3,4,6,7        2          0          2

Me28   Float Concord 8,9,10               1          0          1

Me29   Float Districts 21 and 22           1          1          0

ME      2012 COUNTY TOTAL              45        16        29

ME      2010 COUNTY TOTAL              44        27        17


Rockingham               Area                #Reps R         D

Ro1      Northwood                              1          0          1

Ro2      Candia, Deeefld, Nottingham    3          3          0

Ro3      Raymond                                  2          3          0

Ro4      Auburn, Sandown                     5          5          0

Ro5      Londonderry                            7          7          0

Ro6      Derry                                       10        8          2

Ro7      Windham                                  4          4          0

Ro8      Salem                                       9          8          1

Ro9      Epping                                      2          2          0

Ro10    Fremont                                   1          1          0

Ro11    Brentwood                               1          1          0

Ro12    Danville                                    1          1          0

Ro13    Hampstead, Kingston               4          4          0

Ro14    Atkinson, Plaistow                    4          4          0

Ro15    Newton                                    1          1          0

Ro16    E Kings, Kens, S Hampton       1          1          0

Ro17    Newfields, Newmarket 3          0          3

Ro18    Exeter                                      4          2          2

Ro19    Stratham                                   2          1          1

Ro20    Seabrook, Hampton Falls         3          3          0

Ro21    Hampton                                  4          2          2

Ro22    North Hampton                        1          1          0

Ro23    Greenland, Newington  1          1          0

Ro24    Rye, New Castle                      2          1          1

Ro25    Portsmouth Ward 1                  1          0          1         

Ro26    Portsmouth Ward 2                  1          0          1

Ro27    Portsmouth Ward 3                  1          0          1

Ro28    Portsmouth Ward 4                  1          0          1

Ro29    Portsmouth Ward 5                  1          0          1

Ro30    Float Ports 1, 2, 4, 5                1          0          1

Ro31    Float Dists 22, 23, and 27        1          0          1

Ro32    Float Districts 1 and 2               1          1          0

Ro33    Float Districts 10, 11, 12          1          1          0

Ro34    Float Districts 13 and 14           1          1          0

Ro35    Float Districts 15 and 16           1          1          0

Ro36    Float Districts 17 and 18           1          0          1

Ro37    Float Districts 20 and 21           1          1          0

RO       2012 COUNTY TOTAL               90        69        21

RO       2010 COUNTY TOTAL              90        80        10


Strafford                     Area                #Reps R         D

St1       Middleton, Milton                     2          1          1

St2       Farmington                               2          1          1

St3       New Durham, Strafford            2          1          1

St4       Barrington                                2          0          2

St5       Lee                                          1          0          1

St6       Durham, Madbury                    5          0          5

St7       Rochester Ward 1                    1          0          1

St8       Rochester Ward 6                    1          0          1

St9       Rochester Ward 2                    1          0          1

St10     Rochester Ward 3                    1          1          0

St11     Rochester Ward 4                    1          0          1

St12     Rochester Ward 5                    1          0          1

St13     Dover Ward 1                          1          0          1

St14     Dover Ward 2                          1          0          1

St15     Dover Ward 3                          1          0          1

St16      Dover Ward 4                         1          0          1

St17     Dover Wds 5,6 Somer Wd2     3          1          2

St18     Somer1,3,4,5, Rollinsford         3          0          3

St19     Float Dover Wards 1 and 2      1          0          1

St20     Float Dover Wards 3 and 4      1          0          1

St21     Float Dover Wards 5 and 6      1          0          1

St22     Float Roch Wards 1 and 6        1          0          1

St23     Float Roch Wards 2 and 3        1          1          0

St24     Float Roch Wards 4 and 5        1          1          0

St25     Float  Barrington, Lee               1          0          1

ST        2012 COUNTY TOTAL              37        7          30

ST        2010 COUNTY TOTAL              37        19        18


Sullivan                       Area                #Reps  R       D

Su1      Corn, Gran, Plainfld, Spring      2          0          2

Su2      Sunapee, Croydon                   1          0          1

Su3      Claremont Ward 1                    1          0          1

Su4      Claremont Ward 2                    1          0          1

Su5      Claremont Ward 3                    1          0          1

Su6      Newport, Unity                         2          2          0

Su7      Act, Gos, Lem, Lang, Wash      1          1          0

Su8      Charlestown                             1          0          1

Su9      Float Districts 1 and 2               1          0          1

Su10    Float Claremont Wards            1          0          1

Su11    Float Districts   7 and 8             1          1          0

SU       2012 COUNTY TOTAL               13        4          9

SU       2010 COUNTY TOTAL               13        9          4


The Week In Polls--July 6--Democrats Grab Generic Lead

            Polls are fewer in number this vacation week, but overall they must be termed good news for President Obama and Democrats.  Of course that could all change in the wake of poor jobs numbers Friday, and Obama is indeed viewed more unfavorably than favorably, but it’s a question of—compared to what.

            Compared to Mitt Romney, he’s in relatively good shape, not only nationwide but in the states which will really matter come November.  Increasingly focus must shift to the three big states of Virginia, Florida, and Ohio, and yes, I am going to start listing Virginia first.

            Obama is ahead in all three of those states, but even more alarmingly for Republicans this week, the party has fallen behind in the Real Clear Politics average for the all-important generic Congressional ballot.  Republicans had led most of the year, but they now trail by 1.8 points (44.4-42.6).  Rasmussen, which has had the GOP up six to seven points most of the year, now has their lead at only one point (41-40).  Most pundits don’t see this as enough for Democrats to regain control of the U.S. House, but it has to be disconcerting for the GOP.

            Equally as problematic are the top of the ticket numbers.  RCP has Obama ahead of Romney by 2.7 points (47.0-44.3), nearly the same as pollster which has Obama up by 2.5 points (47.1-44.6).

            At the same time, Pollster has Obama 2.7 points under water in favorability (46.3-49.1) and RCP has him down a point (47.3-48.3).

            In other words, even though Obama isn’t doing much to please people, Mitt Romney is falling farther behind rather than closing the gap.

   updates its numbers on a daily basis now, and today it has Obama winning 300 electoral votes to 238 for Romney.

            It’s projecting Florida as the closest state (49.7-49.2 for Obama) with Virginia at 50.4-48.6 for Obama and Ohio at 50.4-47.8 for Obama.

            Even with the recent Marist tie in New Hampshire built into the formula, 538 now projects Obama to win here 51.9-48.1.

            Of course these numbers could all change at once (the jobs report could be the catalyst), but any partisan Republican must be worried.

            Today Rasmussen had Romney up two (46-44), but Gallup has Obama up four (48-44); those are the two pollsters which keep track on a daily basis.  Less frequent pollsters tend to show even better numbers for Obama.

            Gallup is out with a survey which shows little support for third party candidates this year, but what little support there is comes at Romney’s expense.  In a poll released today, Obama leads Romney 47-40 with Libertarian Gary Johnson registering at three percent (and two percent volunteering Ron Paul’s name) and Jill Stein of the Green Party at one percent.  If Ron Paul decides to run, Romney will have virtually no chance, but don’t look for that to happen.

            North Carolina appears to be in Romney’s camp.  Civitas has him up five points there (50-45), so that’s one less state to worry about.  We Ask America has Obama up only one in Florida (46-45).

            A look inside American Research Group’s recent New Hampshire poll bodes ill for Romney with Independents.  Obama leads 49-41 overall, but his margin is 63-33 with voters registered in neither party (Romney leads 82-12 with Republicans; Obama 81-14 with Democrats, pretty much a wash).

            ARG also shows a huge gender gap in New Hampshire.  Obama leads 58-34 among women, Romney 44-52 among men.

            The only good news for Romney is that he cuts the eight point deficit down to three when only those certain to vote are considered. 

            With all the talk this week of Ohio Republican Secretary of State Josh Mandel coming on against incumbent Democrats Sherrod Brown in the Senate race, I decided to check the Real Clear Politics average.  It does NOT appear to be close with Brown leading by 10.5 points (48.5-38.0).  Only Rasmussen has Mandel even close (down 47-42).  PPP has Brown up 46-39, perhaps the first indication that Mandel could be closing (you can usually add three points to any Republican in a PPP poll result).  PPP has Obama up only three (47-44) in Ohio.

            The latest I can find on the other Brown (Republican Scott in Massachusetts) is a 46-46 tie, but that’s from PPP, so we can assume Brown is actually ahead.

            As for Obamacare, only CNN/Opinion Research has it viewed favorably (52-47).  Strangely enough, even in that poll, most people want it repealed (52-46).  Go figure.  Rasmussen has it at -13 (39-52), Fox at -10 (39-49).

            Three Senate polls come as good news for Republicans.  It may be an outliar but We Ask America had Republican George Allen nine points ahead of Kaine in Virginia (44-35).  Quinnipiac had Republican Connie Mack within one (41-40) of Nelson in Florida, and Rasmussen has Republican Jeff Flake up 16 points (47-31) over Carmona in Arizona (for the Kyl seat).



Midyear Look At 12 for 12 Predicitons

            As I was leisurely filming scenes in Montreal’s Old Port Sunday, I realized that not only was it Canada Day (July 1), but it also marked the midway point of the year, and I usually check out my New Years predictions at this juncture.

            First I had to recall what the predictions were (I was in an Internet free zone), but once I jotted them down, I ran through them and found out that so far, two have proven correct, two incorrect with eight yet to be determined (I dubbed the prediction 12 for 12 back at the start of the year). 

I was right that gay marriage was not repealed by the New Hampshire House and that slot machines (or expanded gambling) was not approved.

I was—barring an unforeseen write-in of earth shattering magnitude—wrong that Ted Gatsas would be the next governor.  I was also wrong with my out-on-a-limb prediction that the New Hampshire House would discover the wisdom of raising the speed limit to 70 miles an hour on Interstate highways.

Of the eight remaining predictions, I remain satisfied with all but one.  I had Democrats picking up 55 or so seats in the New Hampshire House; I’ve expanded that to closer to 100 seats so that come November 7, the NH House will be very close to 200-200 (my exact numbers now are 202 Republicans, 197 Democrats and Cynthia Dokmo as an Independent).

I’m fairly comfortable with the other seven predictions including Mitt Romney as President (with approximately 53 percent of the popular vote and 300 electoral votes).  Although Romney continues to trail by three points or so in most polls, the economic data does not look good, and I’ll stick with the prediction, albeit by a closer margin.

I had Gene Chandler as the next Speaker of the New Hampshire House, and although that was based on Republicans maintaining somewhat firm control (although not enough control for O’Brien to return with the gavel—Gott sei Dank), I’m fairly confident that Gene will be an acceptable compromise.

Keep in mind that these are always things that I think will happen, not what I want to happen (I’ve endorsed Lee Quandt for Speaker).

Democrats could do slightly better than I predicted in the New Hampshire Senate (I had them picking up three seats to from 19-5 to 16-8).  With the large number of incumbents not seeking re-election, I would be comfortable increasing the gain to four seats making it 15-9, but keep in mind that Senate redistricting should be a big boon to Republicans.

Republicans should handily maintain control of the U.S. House (I had them losing six seats and will stick with that despite some polls showing Democrats actually leading in the generic Congressional ballot).  I am far less confident that Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass will be re-elected, primarily because top of the ticket will not provide as big a boost as I had thought, but let’s assume that Porter and Kuster can be tagged with their support of unpopular Obamacare and the only way to get rid of it is to give Republicans Congressional control.  I’ll stick with Guinta and Bass winning, but no gun to my head on this one please.

I remain far more confident than most pundits that Republicans will easily take control of the U.S. Senate.  I would reduce my number of gains from seven down to six seats (thanks to Snowe’s decision not to run in Maine).  North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wisconsin, and Missouri look like sure pick-ups.  The three states which could decide the Presidency (Ohio, Virginia, and Florida) could also produce Republican gains.  Virginia is a pure toss-up.  Although Sherrod Brown continues to lead in Ohio, 31 year old Republican State Treasurer Josh Mandel (former Marine; he looks like a teenager) has received national attention this week as a potential upset winner (blame Obamacare and poor jobs numbers).  Although I think Nelson will hang on to defeat Connie Mack in Florida, I think Scott Brown beats the Indian wannabe in Massachusetts, and Jeff Flake easily holds the Kyl seat in Arizona.  Call it a gain of at least five seats for at least 52-48 control for Republicans.  53-47 is my new pick.

Gun to my head prediction for governor would now be Ovide, but don’t hold me to this one, and once again these are what I think will happen, not what I hope will happen.

Finally, I’ll stick with my predictions of 8.5 percent unemployment and 2.0 percent growth at the time of the election.

Only Ted Gatsas and failure to raise the speed limit to a reasonable 70 miles an hour stand between me and the chance at perfection for 2012.

But then I suspect something else will go wrong prior to November.