Election 2012: A guide to the 11 Senate Republicans seeking re-election

While the big news recently was the number of incumbent Republican state senators choosing not to run for re-election, 11 of the 19 filed for re-election. The 19-5 majority held by Republicans this past year was almost historic in nature. Most observers believe the body will be more balanced between the parties in the next legislature.

Those filing to return often do not face a primary. There is one aberration this year in the fact that former District 7 Sen. Andy Sanborn moved from District 7 to Bedford, resigned his seat and filed in his new district as one of three candidates in District 9, the other two being Ken Hawkins and Michael Kenney. Sanborn's district somewhat overlaps the old one, all districts having been the subject of redistricting, but he will face the challenge of being identified as a "carpetbagger."

All of the other senators who filed for re-election did so in their previous districts.

Senate President Peter Bragdon of Milford, a conscientious and affable leader, has filed for re-election and faces one opponent from Merrimack in the primary, Daniel Dwyer. Bragdon has proven to be effective, even-handed and respective of legislative traditions in a citizen legislature.

Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a former U.S. representative, has filed for re-election, is unopposed in the primary in the relatively solid Carroll County District and is almost assured re-election. A conscientious leader, Bradley is well respected.

Bob Odell of District 8 is well-liked, intelligent and many consider him to be among the most conscientious of senators. Odell comes from a district that goes from his home town of Lempster all the way to New London, and includes a couple of traditionally Democratic cities. He faces no primary opposition.

District 2 Sen. Jeanie Forrester is running for re-election and is unopposed in the primary. First elected in 2010, Forrester and her husband own a small environmental technology company, and she is a former town official in Tuftonboro and New Durham. She has served on Finance and Public and Municipal Affairs committees and is a University of New Hampshire graduate.

Jim Luther of District 12 also was elected for the first time in 2010. He has served on the Judiciary and Executive Departments and Administration committees, along with Ways and Means. Operator of a personal investment business, he is a Syracuse University graduate and resides in Hollis. His district includes four wards in the city of Nashua and is considered to be a swing district. He is unopposed in the GOP primary.

In District 14, incumbent Sharon Carson is running again. Prior to being in the Senate, to which she was elected in 2008, she served four terms as a state representative from her hometown of Londonderry. She has served on the Education Committee as well as various other Senate committees. As an Army veteran, she is involved in military issues as well as education and currently is working on her doctoral dissertation. She represents Auburn, Hudson and Londonderry. Carson is unopposed in the primary.

In District 16, David Boutin is running unopposed as well. The Hooksett Republican, formerly a Manchester city official, has been a hard-working senator who was first elected in a special election in 2010 and then to a full term. His district covers several towns and wards of Manchester. His promises to be a spirited rematch against Democrat Kathleen Kelley of Manchester.

District 19 Sen. Jim Rausch of Derry is another freshman seeking re-election. A veterinarian, he has served on the Transportation Committee, as a member of Ways and Means and the Capital Budget committees. He previously served five terms in the House. He too is unopposed in the primary.

District 22 Sen. Chuck Morse is one of the most powerful senators, having served as chairman of the Finance Committee. After taking a hiatus between 2006 and 2010, he returned to the Senate in the 2010 GOP landslide. Outside of politics, he owns a small business in Salem and is very active in the community. A Plymouth State University graduate, Morse is unopposed.

Russell Prescott represents District 23 and is another senator who returned to the Senate in 2010 having previously served between 2000 and 2004. Co-owner of R. E. Prescott Company, a wholesale distributor and manufacturer of water systems, Prescott is a conservative with a strong interest in economic and social issues. He is opposed in the primary by Dennis Acton of Fremont.

Finally, District 24 Sen. Nancy Stiles seeks re-election after her first term. An active interest in education led her to work tirelessly on reforming how New Hampshire funds public education. Prior to entering politics, Stiles served as school nutrition director for the Hampton School District for 30 years. During her three terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, she was recognized repeatedly for outstanding service regarding physical fitness and developmental disabilities. Stiles is unopposed in the primary but, being from eastern Rockingham County, undoubtedly will face a spirited re-election campaign in the fall.

With such diverse backgrounds, those seeking another term in the New Hampshire Senate deserve both the thanks of their fellow citizens and careful scrutiny.


Brad Cook, a shareholder in the Manchester law firm of Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green, heads its government relations and estate planning groups. He also serves as secretary of the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.

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