Bragdon Steps Down, Opening Up NH Senate
The Concord Monitor’s Ben Leubsdorf is reporting that State Senator Peter Bragdon will step down as Senate President after a four-day controversy regarding his acceptance of a position as head of the Local Government Center (LGC), an entity affiliated with the NH Municipal Association. Being the chief of the LGC (itself embroiled in controversy over self-funded insurance trusts for several years), was viewed by many opinion leaders as a conflict of interest, in appearance if not the letter of NH ethics laws.
Most importantly, this throws open the Senate Presidency, which Bragdon said would be filled in a Senate session after Labor Day. Republicans hold a slim 13-11 majority, meaning a coalition candidacy is not out of the question. Among Republicans, the longest-serving includes: Sen. Bob Odell of Lempster, current Chair of the Ways and Means Committee; Sen. Chuck Morse, Chair of the Finance Committee; and Sen. Russ Prescott, Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The Nashua Telegraph’s Kevin Landrigan tweeted that Majority Leader Jeb Bradley has endorsed Sen. Morse for the position. This may indicate the Republican caucus choice is a fait accompli.
The departure of Bragdon could mean a less moderate Republican is possible, unless there is a coalition candidate.
The news is sure to be frequent over the next few days on this subject.
Bragdon also said today he would hold on to his Senate District 11 seat.