Politics Dominated N.H. News in 2016

  • FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures to the crowd as he signs autographs during a campaign event at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, N.H. Trump broke with campaign tradition and held rallies over house parties to win the New Hampshire primary, one of the state's top stories in 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) David Goldman

  • FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts as former President Bill Clinton smiles at her New Hampshire presidential primary campaign rally in Hooksett, N.H. Clinton lost the primary, but won the nomination and the state's four Electoral College votes. The election was one of the state's top stories in 2016. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) Elise Amendola

  • FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, New Hampshire Democratic Senate candidate, Gov. Maggie Hassan waves to supporters during an election night rally in Manchester, N.H. Hassan's victory was one of the state's top stories in 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) ap — Charles Krupa

  • FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, Republican Chris Sununu cheers as early results show him in the lead over Democrat Colin Van Ostern in the race for New Hampshire's governor in Concord, N.H. Sununu's victory was among the state's top stories in 2016. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File) ap — Jim Cole

  • FILE - In this May 26, 2016 file photo, Nathaniel Kibby is escorted from Belknap County Superior Court after pleading guilty and being sentenced 45-90 years in prison for kidnapping, rape, criminal threatening and witness tampering in Laconia, N.H. Kibby's sentencing was among the state's top stories for 2016. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File) Jim Cole

  • FILE - This April 11, 2016 photo shows a portion of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy campus in Exeter, N.H. Two former teachers at the academy acknowledged sexual misconduct, and a former admissions officer pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse. It was one of the state's top stories in 2016. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File) Jim Cole

Associated Press
Published: 12/25/2016 11:02:19 PM
Modified: 12/25/2016 11:54:54 PM

Concord — A busy election year in New Hampshire highlighted by a parade of presidential hopefuls and competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests topped state news headlines in 2016. Others include a man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and holding her captive for nine months; a new law expanding Medicaid coverage; and a family winning a $487 million Powerball jackpot, the nation’s eighth largest.

A look at the state’s top stories of 2016:

Presidential and State Politics

Republican Donald Trump broke with campaign tradition and held rallies over house parties to win the presidential primary. Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic contest to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders but won the nomination and the state’s four Electoral College votes over Trump by less than 1 percent of the 732,000 votes cast.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan defeated Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte by about 1,000 votes. Ayotte had awkwardly danced around Trump for much of the campaign, rescinding her support when a tape surfaced of Trump bragging about forcing himself on women.

New Hampshire will have the nation’s first all-female, all-Democratic congressional delegation: Hassan, Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Republican Chris Sununu will become the nation’s youngest governor at 42, defeating 37-year-old Democrat Colin Van Ostern.

Prep School Troubles

A year after St. Paul’s School senior Owen Labrie was convicted of using a computer to lure a freshman into a 2014 sexual encounter, the girl revealed her identity.

Seventeen-year-old Chessy Prout wanted to make sure others don’t need to be ashamed. Prout sued the school, arguing it should have done more to protect her. St. Paul’s denied it could have prevented what happened. Labrie is appealing his case.

Two former Phillips Exeter Academy teachers acknowledged sexual misconduct and a former admissions officer pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse. A male student accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate was encouraged to bake bread for her as “penance.”

Crime and Courts

Nathaniel Kibby was sentenced to 45 to 90 years in prison after acknowledging he kidnapped a 14-year-old girl, held her captive for nine months, and raped her. She thanked him for letting her go.

The state Supreme Court denied a new trial for Seth Mazzaglia, sentenced to life in the 2012 strangulation of Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott. It also rejected his request to introduce evidence of Marriott’s past sexual interests.

Republican Rep. Kyle Tasker, of Nottingham, resigned after he was accused of having drugs and trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter.

Wendell Noyes, of Stewartstown, was charged with killing Celina Cass, his 11-year-old stepdaughter, nearly five years after her body was found in the Connecticut River.

Ian MacPherson may seek an insanity defense in the shooting of two Manchester police officers.

A state trooper pleaded guilty to beating a suspect who was kneeling to surrender in Nashua. Another awaits trial.

Water Issues

The chemical PFOA was found in more than 50 wells in towns surrounding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility in Merrimack. Saint-Gobain has agreed to pay for efforts to design an extension of public water service for those affected.

A drought dried up some wells and hurt dairy farmers. The Legislature plans to vote on a funding relief bill next year.

Child Deaths Investigation

An independent review concludes the state’s child protection agency too often fails to help children at risk of being harmed. Gov. Maggie Hassan ordered the Division for Children, Youth and Families assessment following two high-profile toddler deaths. Consultants didn’t delve into those cases; they reviewed a random sampling of 232 cases.

Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed into law a Medicaid expansion plan that allows nearly 50,000 residents to keep their health care for another two years.

Medicaid expansion, made possible through President Obama’s health care overhaul law, subsidizes health care for people making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or roughly $16,000.

Free State

The Free State Project said it has reached its 20,000th pledge from liberty-minded people vowing to move to New Hampshire and work to limit government’s interference in their lives. The goal: to have all of them moved in five years.


A family stayed anonymous to claim a $487 million Powerball jackpot. The winning ticket was sold at a Hannaford supermarket in Raymond. The final payout after taxes: $256 million.

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