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Primary Source: North Country Race for Senate

  • Annmarie Christensen

  • Stuart Lindberg

Published: 5/26/2016 12:12:32 AM
Modified: 5/26/2016 12:18:39 AM

A Grafton County Democrat has thrown his hat into the ring for the open District 2 New Hampshire Senate seat currently held by Meredith Republican Jeanie Forrester, who is running for governor.

Warren Democrat Charlie Chandler, a retired attorney and former state representative, said he will run for the Senate seat representing 27 towns in Belknap, Grafton and Merrimack counties, including the Upper Valley towns of Haverhill, Piermont, Orford, Dorchester, Grafton and Orange.

A selectman from Warren, Chandler has also served on the New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission and as the presiding hearing officer in the investigation of Financial Resources Mortgage, a failed mortgage firm that cost investors millions.

“My experience as a small town attorney, the director of a state agency, and as a selectman have uniquely prepared me to deliver the people of District 2 the results they expect, and deserve, from Concord,” Chandler, a New Hampshire native, said in a news release announcing his candidacy.

Chandler also serves as chairman of the board of Franklin (N.H.) Savings Bank and on the Board of Directors of the Pemi-Baker Land Trust. He is the brother of former House Speaker Gene Chandler, a Bartlett Republican.

Two Republicans, state Rep. Brian Gallagher, of Sanbornton, and former state Rep. Bob Giuda, of Warren, have said they are also running for the seat. The filing deadline in New Hampshire runs from June 1 to June 10.

Although Forrester first won the seat in 2010, gaining 54.7 percent of the vote against state Sen. Deb Reynolds, D-Plymouth, Democrats asserted the district is friendly to their cause.

The Chandler news release noted that Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, won 52 percent of the vote in the district in 2014, and that President Obama won 53 percent there in 2012.

Hanover-area Races

In other New Hampshire Senate news, state Rep. Martha Hennessey, D-Hanover, unveiled a potent list of endorsements in her bid to succeed outgoing state Sen. David Pierce, D-Lebanon, in the District 5 seat stretching from Lyme to Charlestown and Claremont.

Hennessey said her campaign has been endorsed not just by Pierce but by the three previous Democratic state senators who held the seat, Matthew Houde and Peter Burling, of Cornish, and Clifton Below, of Lebanon. Also backing Hennessey are Democratic state Reps. Susan Almy, of Lebanon, Ray Gagnon, of Claremont, Sharon Nordgren and Patricia Higgins, of Hanover, Wendy Piper, of Enfield, and Chuck Townsend, of Canaan.

With Hennessey running for state Senate, her spot in the four-seat House district representing Lyme and Hanover is opening up, and first-term state Rep. Chris Brown, D-Hanover, also is not running for re-election. Democrats have had a lock on the district for years — Nordgren and Higgins are the other two incumbents — and two Hanover Democrats are planning to run for the open seats.

One is Mary Jane Mulligan, a former poverty law attorney with a legal aid bureau in Baltimore who moved to Hanover two decades ago when her husband took a teaching job at Dartmouth. She has worked as a substitute teacher in the Dresden and Lyme schools, and as a volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The other Democratic candidate, according to Nordgren, is healthcare consultant Polly Campion, a former director of clinical improvement and director of the office of patient safety at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Campion could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Weathersfield-Area Contest

A race is brewing for an open seat in the Vermont House district representing the Windsor County towns of Weathersfield and Cavendish.

State Rep. Mark Huntley, D-Cavendish, is stepping down after two terms, but a Democrat and Republican have already filed for the seat.

Annmarie Christensen, of Perkinsville, this week filed to run as a Democrat. And Cavendish resident Stuart Lindberg, who ran before against Huntley, has filed as a Republican.

 “We need a sensible approach to better education that will retain our kids in state while reducing a mounting tax burden. I would work to enact an affordable, clear path to quality health services. We also need to reduce the proliferation of illegal drugs with the best form of public safety — sustainable jobs,” Christensen said in a news release.

Christensen is a former news editor at the Valley News and also worked for the Rutland Herald and Eagle Times. More recently, she worked for The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and for the Global Health Council in White River Junction.

Lindberg said he was too busy at work to talk immediately. In a recent letter to the Valley News, he wrote, “The record of one-party rule in Montpelier over the last six years has included such unsuccessful projects as the $200 million failed Vermont Health Connect website and the equally expensive and liberty-killing school consolidation law, Act 46. Democrats love the big government hammer to solve small-town concerns.”


John P. Gregg can be reached at

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