#NHPolitics Weekly Ins and Outs — May 5, 2024

By Colin Booth

May 5, 2024

Another week of #NHPolitics Ins and Outs, taking you on a tour of the ins and outs of the ever-changing world of New Hampshire Politics, keeping score of the winners and losers week-by-week — and letting you know who’s in and who’s out.

Let’s get into it.

Who’s In?

Long Live the First-in-the-Nation Primary — The DNC voted this week to restore New Hampshire’s convention delegates, ending months of speculation over the possibility of punishing the state party for sticking to the state’s first-in-the-nation primary calendar over an unworkable, illegal calendar proposed by the DNC.

Ad Blitzes on Ayotte — Amplify NH becomes the first group to launch paid ads in the Governor’s race with their rapid response to Kelly Ayotte’s attempts to rewrite history on her previous opposition to reproductive rights and IVF access.

The progressive communications hub has been making waves in the state since its inception three years ago. They immediately jumped into the fray in 2022 with a $4 million ad campaign holding Chris Sununu accountable for the “Sununu Abortion Ban” which many credit with turning public opinion enough to pull out of contention for the U.S. Senate challenge of Maggie Hassan.

Meanwhile the fallout over State Rep. Jon Stone continues to reverberate through New Hampshire politics, with The NH Democratic Party also running ads going after Ayotte for her refusal to disown her relationship with Rep. Stone.

Speculation on District 3 Senate Seat — Even though former Switzerland street magician and Republican State Senate President Jeb Bradley announced his retirement on Thursday afternoon, speculation is already running rampant over who will run for his highly competitive seat.

On the Republican side, chairman of the House Public Works and Highways Committee and nine-term State Rep. Mark McConkey has announced his bid, while two Democrats are rumored to be interested — former State Rep. Bill Marsh of Wolfeboro, who ran for the seat in 2022 on the back of national attention for switching parties in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, who just annouced an exploratory committee for the seat, and State Rep. David Paige of Conway.

Double Digits for Biden in NH — The NH Biden Campaign this weekend marked opening 11 offices in the state with a visit from Delaware Senator Chris Coons, a top Biden ally. The rapid campaign expansion in the state is all the more striking when set against the NH Trump campaign, which has still not opened another office or celebrated external signs of expansion since before the primary in January.

Who’s Out!

CloseUp and Brutal — Leading Republican gubernatorial candidate Kelly Ayotte had a brutal time on WMUR’s CloseUp last weekend, catching one staggering fact check after another on her record on IVF, abortion, Jon Stone and a deeply unpopular reveal that she would not support legalizing marijuana if elected.

Check our video for the full rundown.

Another NH Conservative Going After Minors — Hot on the heels of State Rep. Jon Stone’s reported past relationship with a minor, former Republican candidate for the NH House and conservative activist Elliot “Alu” Axelman was revealed this week to have been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl at the conservative libertarian “porcfest” festival in 2022.

Axelman has been close with major leaders in the NH Republican party, appearing in the past with Governor Sununu and has been a close ally of current NH GOP contractor Chris Maidment.

The Bradley Special — Senate President Jeb Bradley announced his decision to retire from the State Senate this week, and with it many are fearing an end to the era of semi-reasonable Republicanism in the state.

Creating compromise legislation in the State Senate — termed “The Bradley Special” — has been one positive hallmark of Sen. Bradley’s time in the Senate, and many reporters attending his departing remarks this past Thursday speculated his departure may mark the end of reasonable compromise in the State Senate, with more and more extreme Republicans taking the place of moderates year after year.

Time will tell.

The End of Child Marriage in NH — In a vote that surprised many, a fifth attempt at raising New Hampshire’s age of marriage to 18 was a successful one, with Senate Bill 359 narrowly passing the House, on a vote of 192-174.

This over the objections of Republican State Rep Jess Edwards, who described 16 year olds as being a “ripe, fertile age” to groans and boos from many lawmakers. Look forward to our coverage on this next week. His decision to defend child marriage by declaring some minors as “ripe” and “fertile” went viral on twitter and is starting to attract major outside coverage.

Check out our video connecting the dots.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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