Two election epilogues

State Senate district 7 recount

Pro-life candidate Kathleen Lauer-Rago came within a whisker of unseating incumbent district 7 State Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia). Today’s recount confirmed Hosmer’s victory, 9578-9423, according to this afternoon’s report by Concord Monitor reporter Susan Doucet. That’s a margin of eight-tenths of one percent.

Kathy took some questions from me during the campaign here.

Nationwide, a good year for pro-life candidates

The Susan B. Anthony List released this infographic today, summarizing the results of its work this year to elect pro-life candidates. The group used here for comparison is of course EMILY’s List, dedicated to electing “pro-choice” Democratic women. While EMILY’s List candidates Shaheen, Kuster and Hassan won in New Hampshire, our state was one of the few bright spots for abortion advocates on election night. Read more about pro-life electoral success stories at www.sba-list.org.

Infographic from the Susan B. Anthony List, 2014
Infographic from the Susan B. Anthony List, 2014

 

How one woman won in Texas

Wendy Davis, pink-sneakered mascot of the late-term abortion lobby, left the Texas state senate to run for governor. She got walloped Tuesday, losing to Greg Abbott by just shy of a million votes. Her seat in the state senate has just been won by Konni Burton. This, my friends, is how to go on offense with the life issues in a campaign.

Related post, from June 2013: Reality check: what’s a “toughest” abortion law?

NH House 2015: returning pro-lifers

New Hampshire State HouseIn the weeks before the New Hampshire general election, I noted the names of the strongest pro-lifers on the ballot (here and here). How’d they do?

Extremely well. In a 400-member House, what difference can a small group make? Plenty, with time and persistence and the attention to one’s district that solidifies electoral support.

Six for six 

Seven state representatives cast pro-life votes on all six bills listed below. That includes voting to repeal the death penalty in New Hampshire, setting them apart from their other pro-life colleagues who aren’t ready to support repeal (and some of whom are in the forefront of fighting repeal). All seven were re-elected this week. Welcome back Reps. Bill Nelson, David Danielson, Robert Rowe, Donald LeBrun, Frank Kotowski, John O’Connor and Jeffrey Harris.

Other notable victories

What follows is not a complete list of pro-life victories from the recent election. There’s enough here to explain why I consider the recent election to be a Good Thing – capital G, capital T.

Voting pro-life on five of the bills below, and winning re-election: Keith Murphy, Ralph Boehm, Jeanine Notter, Tony Pellegrino, David Murotake, Dan McGuire, Joe Duarte, James Devine, and Kenneth Weyler.

Former representative Kevin Avard ousted Senator Peggy Gilmour. Avard’s strong pro-life record was no obstacle for him.

Roger Berube, the House’s lone consistently pro-life Democrat, will be back. Ditto for Leon Rideout and Griffin’s Law. So will J.R. Hoell, whose personhood bill sparked a conversation that continued at the Republican State Convention, where delegates adopted a personhood plank for the platform. (Oddly, the new platform has not yet made its way to the NHGOP web site. Perhaps party leaders aren’t as ready for the future as are the rank-and-file party activists.) Kathy Souza, who has been involved for decades in pro-life legislation as a citizen and an elected official, is back for another term.

At least five pro-life representatives who lost their seats in 2012 won them back in 2014. Others may yet win after recounts.

The president of New Hampshire Right to Life, Kurt Wuelper, was just elected to the House. Linda Gould, a NHRTL trustee, is a newly-elected representative who was her town’s top vote-getter. She outpolled veteran lawmakers to win one of her town’s six House seats.

Not a complete list, as I said, but it’s reason to celebrate. Alas, House and Senate lack veto-proof majorities. Nevertheless, Governor Hassan will have to play defense on the life issues next year. I don’t anticipate any signing ceremonies with a PP lobbyist over Hassan’s shoulder, like the one we were treated to when she signed the buffer zone law last June.

Some buffer zone supporters are now ex-reps

Twenty-three representatives who voted for the buffer zone law lost this week. Another nine are “on the bubble,” in races so close that a recount is likely.

That’s no more or less a “drop in the bucket” than the pro-life group I’ve mentioned. You can bet that abortion advocates would dearly love to have that drop back.


 

The bills from the 2014 session

HB 1501, strengthening public-health oversight of abortion facilities and requiring providers to have admitting privileges at an area hospital (bill was killed in House)
HB 1503, Griffin’s Law, a fetal-homicide bill; more than thirty states have such legislation (bill was gutted in House by changing original language; bill was then tabled in Senate)
HB 1504, the “All People Created Equal Act”, recognizing that life begins at conception (bill was killed in House)
HB 1325, legalizing assisted suicide (thankfully, the House killed this bill by a wide margin)
SB 319, establishing a no-silent-prayer “buffer” around abortion facilities (signed into law but not being enforced pending the outcome of a lawsuit)
HB 1107, death penalty repeal

NH “buffer zone” team looks thin this morning

Gov. Maggie Hassan (nh.gov photo)
Gov. Maggie Hassan (nh.gov photo)

The team that gave New Hampshire a buffer zone law took a hit at the polls Tuesday. Maybe squelching peaceful prayer vigils isn’t a winning issue.

Preliminary results from Tuesday’s election indicate that at least twenty-five House members who voted for New Hampshire’s unenforced “buffer zone” law have lost their seats. The bill passed 162-100 on a day when the 400-seat House barely mustered a quorum to do business.


In the 24-member Senate, ten senators who supported the law were re-elected – maybe 11, pending the outcome in district 7.

There’s a repeal bill in the works, ready to be introduced as soon as the legislature convenes for 2015.

Fortunately for the abortion-facility lobbyists who worked so hard to pass the law, Governor Hassan was re-elected. She’ll likely veto a straight repeal, as opposed to repeal-and-replace. It would take a two-thirds vote in each chamber to override, and we’re not there yet. The shift in House and Senate membership is good news, but not decisive.

Send her a repeal bill anyway. Let the Governor decide just how much she wants to invest in nullifying the First Amendment outside abortion facilities. How long does she want to keep the taxpayers on the hook for defending this law, so similar to the one the Supreme Court threw out in McCullen v. Coakley? How much time and political capital does she want to invest in protecting the law, pushing other state business to a lower priority?

Make her go on record, over and over again.

The lead sponsor of the buffer zone law was just re-elected. She might say once again, as she did last year with a straight face, that this law is about “safety and balance” outside abortion facilities. Neither she nor the Governor ever managed to explain why our existing laws against trespassing, disorderly conduct, harassment and assault weren’t being used.

Make them keep trying. The buffer zone can be repealed, or it can be thrown out in court. Repeal is cheaper in every sense. The Reddy v. Foster case is still pending, with a restraining order currently preventing enforcement of the law. If I were governor, and if I were contemplating a U.S. Senate run in 2016, I’d be careful about inviting a judicial smackdown of a law I made a big deal about signing.

 

 

My only Election Day advice

Don’t stay home today. Vote. Most (not all) of the mischief out of Concord in the last term took place because too many good people stayed home on Election Day 2012 out of discouragement or because they were disappointed with their options. If you don’t like the names at the top of the ticket, go to the polls anyway and remember the down-ballot candidates who want to sit in Representatives Hall in January.

For good or ill, people may register to vote at the polls on Election Day. No excuses. Get to the polls – and take a friend with you.