Even while media “experts” continue to predict a close vote when the Senate gambling bill (SB152) comes to the House floor presumably next week, my updated tally is that even if every single undecided (or not responding or not saying) Representative voted for the plan, the best it could do would be a 198-198 tie.
That’s correct. My latest tally is 198 against and 136 in favor with 62 unknowns, three vacant, and the George Katsiantonis seat which is really vacant although he refuses to submit his resignation letter. (Only Speaker Norelli and Democratic leaders could explain why they insist on playing the game of keeping him on the list when he’s no longer living here).
But I digress…
WMUR’s gap is widening. The station now reports a losing margin of 105-128 (Democrats 55-57, Republicans 50-71), but the station inexplicably continues to list no fewer than seven Representatives as Yes who are most certainly No. I’ve explained that before, so I won’t name names again here. John Hunt was one of the seven, but Channel 9 has finally moved him to the No side; the other six remain in error. If you make those seven corrections, the WMUR total is up to 137 No and only 98 Yes for a 39 vote margin, hardly close.
My 136-198 total is an update from 129-186 last time I did a complete rundown.
Of the 62 unknown Reps, I have only about 20 as truly undecided (mostly Democrats), including majority leader Steve Shurtleff and Dan Eaton and William Hatch on the joint Finance/Ways and Means Committee which is scheduled to vote tomorrow. Also undecided are Kris Roberts, Keene Democrat, and my seatmate Lisa Whittemore from Londonderry who insists she has not yet made up her mind. I trust her.
Deputy Speaker Naida Kaen is not saying how she’ll vote. I’ve “pushed” her to the No column, but it’s somewhat of a guess.
I’m trying not to guess here, and every time I post numbers here, a few Reps inform me of how they actually intend to vote, either secretly or openly, so these numbers should be fairly solid. I expect to get the 200th no later today; maybe we should make it a contest. “Tell me now; you could be the magical 200th NO. Come on Lisa, you can do it.”
Bad news for gambling buffs is that I’ve included five Republicans in the Yes column who would have to do some fancy footwork to get around their party’s platform in order to cast that yes vote. They include Al Baldasaro who would have to go against not only his party but the House Republican Alliance who he co-chairs. The other four are Rideout, Boehm, Haefner, and Lynn Ober (Russ was always a yes). The loss of any of them would push the No total to an absolute majority.
Good news for gambling buffs is that I’ve increased my projection on that committee from support of only 17 members to as many as 20, from 17-28 to perhaps 20-25. Richard Ames is clearly a yes; I had him as a no before. William Hatch and Karen Umberger are preparing a major amendment for the revenue subcommittee this afternoon; should they both flip and support the gambling plan, the vote could be as close as 20-25.
My sources are solid that Governor Maggie Hassan is continuing to work very hard to twist arms, mostly of first-term Democrats. In fact, a prominent Democratic source just now revealed to me that much of the omnibus 19-page amendment (to be offered by Representatives Kathi Rogers and Richard Ames) was actually written in the governor’s office.
Without releasing how I expect 334 Reps to vote, here’s my latest methodology.
From the old WMUR total of 101-120, I removed seven from the Yes column and added them to the no column to get a total of 94-127.
I “push” five of the WMUR “Not Saying” to the no column and two (David Cote and Mary Nelson) to the yes column for a total of 96-132.
Of the WMUR “Undecided” group I “push” 23 to No and 15 to yes to get the total up to 111-155. From the WMUR Not Responding group, I deem 43 to be in the No column and 25 in the yes column for an overall total of 136-198.