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Candidates declare for both parties in District 8 Senate race

Two candidates have stepped up to run for retiring Republican state Sen. Bob Odell’s seat, which he’s held since 2002.

State Rep. Linda Tanner, a Georges Mills Democrat, announced yesterday that she’ll run for the seat, taking on JP Marzullo, vice chairman of the state Republican Party. Odell is the only senator who has announced so far that he will not seek re-election. District 8 covers 24 towns, including Bradford, Deering, Hillsboro, New London, Sutton and Weare.

Tanner, a retired Kearsarge Regional High School teacher, is serving her first term in the House.

“During my time in the House, I have seen important legislation get stalled in the Senate,” she said in a statement announcing her candidacy. “The people of this district will be able to count on me as a voice of reason on the issues that affect families like education reform, women’s health, and job creation.”

Marzullo serves as a Deering selectman and recently retired as director of marketing for a brain and spinal cord injury facility in New Boston. He has never served in the Legislature but has been active in Republican politics, starting a town committee, then serving as an area vice chairman for the state party before becoming vice chairman.

He said he chose to run for Senate largely because of health care issues. He said he believes the state should take care of its most needy without relying on federal money, and he is opposed to the recent acceptance of federal money for Medicaid expansion. “I really do think that we can work through this without taking federal funding,” he said.

Marzullo’s wife, Donna, was featured in an Americans for Prosperity ad earlier this year in which she said she lost her health insurance plan due to the Affordable Care Act.

Although Odell has held the District 8 seat for 12 years, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan and President Obama carried the district in the 2012 election, and former governor John Lynch won there in 2010.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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