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John Gregg: Shaheen Poll Numbers Rise; Brown Says GOP Will Unite

There was some good news for two New Hampshire Democrats in the latest WMUR Granite State Poll released this week. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, the former Democratic governor seeking her second term in Washington, has seen a boost in her favorability rating and is leading her potential Republican rivals by double-digits, according to poll numbers released Wednesday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. And U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., who could face a tough challenge in the second Congressional district, has also seen

John Gregg: Dartmouth College’s President Driven by Data, Critical Thinking

During a visit with the Valley News editorial board last week, Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon made clear that he is “passionate” — and knowledgeable — about higher education and the changes ahead. The 1977 Dartmouth graduate, who went on to earn a doctorate from California Institute of Technology and serve as provost at University of Michigan, also made clear that he is a mathematician at heart who believes in the power of information technology as it helps, or threatens, to transform higher education. “IT has

John Gregg: Cryans to Seek Executive Council Seat Again

Hanover Democrat Mike Cryans is going to run again for the District 1 Executive Council seat now held by Wakefield Republican Joe Kenney. Cryans, a longtime Grafton County commissioner, narrowly lost to Kenney in a March 11 special election to succeed the late Ray Burton, a Bath Republican who had held the seat for decades. Turnout was relatively low, and Cryans won 48.5 percent of the vote, falling short of Kenney, a former state senator, by 1,266 votes. “I am running again, I thought I’d

John Gregg: Shumlin Speaks Out on Utility Lines

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin this week reiterated his opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the proposal to carry oil extracted from tar sands in western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast would contribute to global warming. “If we can’t get through our thick heads — after what we have been through as a nation in terms of weather challenges, just since (Barack) Obama has been president — that we can’t afford to burn every drop of fossil fuel that we can extract from

John Gregg: N.H. Republican Establishment Weighs In on Candidates

Two mainstream New Hampshire Republicans are lining up support from some known quantities in the GOP establishment as they face primary contests this summer. Former defense contractor Walt Havenstein this week released the names of seven sitting state senators — a majority of the 13-member Republican caucus — who have endorsed him in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Havenstein, the former CEO of BAE Systems, faces a primary against libertarian-leaning Republican strategist Andrew Hemingway of Bristol. But Havenstein’s campaign said the state

John Gregg: Candidates Stepping Forward for Odell’s Senate Seat

A second Hillsborough County Republican has said he plans to run for the Newport-area New Hampshire Senate seat long held by state Sen. Bob Odell, R-New London. And a Democrat from Sunapee also acknowledged yesterday she is seriously considering a bid for the District 8 Senate seat. Weare Republican Jerry Little — the former president and executive director of the New Hampshire Bankers Association — said on Wednesday he was encouraged weeks ago by Odell to consider a run if the incumbent retired. Odell, a

John Gregg: Odell May Face Primary Challenge

Newport-area state Sen. Bob Odell, one of the most influential lawmakers in Concord over the past decade, may be facing a primary challenge from a conservative Republican. The reason: challenger J.P. Marzullo, a former Deering, N.H., selectman who is vice chairman of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, doesn’t think Odell is conservative enough. Marzullo, who referred to Odell as a “liberal senator” in his announcement, said he is especially disappointed that Odell and two other top Republican senators supported Medicaid expansion as part of

John Gregg: Hanover Republican Highlights Differences With Brown on Guns

Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, the emigre from Massachusetts, is drawing most of the media attention and national Republican money in his likely run for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. But that hasn’t stopped former state Sen. Jim Rubens, the Hanover Republican already in the primary, from ramping up his aggressive grassroots campaigning in recent weeks. Rubens, a centrist who has notably opposed both expanded gambling and global warming, last month met with gun rights supporters across the state to highlight his opposition to an

John Gregg: N.H. Pop Quiz For Brown

Massachusetts transplant Scott Brown issued a web video on Wednesday highlighting the fact that he and his wife, Gail, are traveling around New Hampshire as he explores a likely bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. The Browns “will be traveling around this great state to introduce ourselves. To ask questions. To speak with everyone, of every background, Republicans, Independents, Democrats alike. And above all, to listen and learn,” the former Bay State Republican senator said. Since being a lawmaker from New Hampshire involves

John Gregg: Remembering Judge Billings

Gov. Peter Shumlin has ordered state flags across Vermont to be lowered next Wednesday through Friday to honor the late Franklin S. Billings Jr., the former Vermont House speaker and chief justice of the state Supreme Court who died Sunday in Woodstock. Billings was a monumental figure in Vermont politics, helping preside over the reapportionment of the House that made Vermont more democratic, and Democratic, even though Billings himself was Republican. The 91-year-old Billings died in the house where he was born and lived all