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John Gregg: Milne’s Message

Republican Scott Milne rattled Democrats and rocked Vermont’s progressive establishment with his strong showing in Tuesday’s race against Gov. Peter Shumlin, winning 45.1 percent of the vote, just 1.3 percentage points behind the incumbent, with most towns reporting. “I think voters were very clearly saying that Vermont is headed in the wrong direction and we need a change in leadership. I’m hopeful and cautiously optimistic that it might be me, but if it’s Peter Shumlin, I hope he got that message,” Milne said in a

John Gregg: Website Fail

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration this week announced that the health care exchange website it has spent tens of millions of dollars to construct has been shut down “temporarily” to “complete ongoing operational, technical, performance and security improvements necessary for a well-functioning customer experience.” Translation: This thing doesn’t work, hasn’t worked, and we better shut it down now before Republican Scott Milne starts wrapping it around my neck at a gubernatorial debate. Given that this is an election season, Milne, a travel executive from Pomfret,

John Gregg: Battles Brewing

Millions of dollars of advertising is about to flood into New Hampshire in the pivotal U.S. Senate race pitting incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen against former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who now lives in Rye. But a key question may be how much that race overshadows what will also be hard-fought contests for New Hampshire’s two seats in the U.S. House. In the First Congressional district, which includes Manchester, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter, a Democrat, will face off against former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, a

John Gregg: Simple Question, Non-Answer

J P Marzullo, the former Deering, N.H., selectman running in a contested Republican primary for the New Hampshire Senate District 8 seat held by the retiring state Sen. Bob Odell, R-New London, is a relative newcomer to politics. But Marzullo, who grew up in Connecticut and moved to New Hampshire only nine years ago, has certainly been active in recent years, starting in the Contoocook Valley with the Tea Party crowd and rising to become vice chairman of the Republican State Committee before seeking elected

John Gregg: Voting Time Nears

Vermont voters will head to the polls Tuesday for the state primary election, though there is only limited contested action across the ballot. At least two Upper Valley residents are seeking statewide office, hoping to challenge Democratic incumbents in November. Pomfret Republican Scott Milne, head of Milne Travel, is in a three-way gubernatorial primary against fringe candidates Emily Peyton , of Putney, and Steve Berry , of Wolcott. But Libertarian Dan Feliciano , of Essex Junction, is also hoping to get on the GOP general

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