Salem’s Chuck Morse will seek to replace Bragdon as N.H. Senate president
Sen. Chuck Morse, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, will seek to replace Peter Bragdon as president of the state Senate.
“I’ve proven I know the process and can solve conflicts. I think that lends itself to being the Senate president,” Morse said this afternoon, just hours after Bragdon announced he would step down amid criticism over his new job as executive director of the Local Government Center.
Morse, 52, is serving his fourth term in the Senate. A former Salem selectman and town moderator, the Republican served two terms in the House and played a major role in crafting the last two biennial state budgets.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley endorsed Morse for the job even before Morse had announced he would seek it.
“I look forward to supporting Chuck. He has proven to be an able leader, as demonstrated by the job he did with the budget. It’s unprecedented that we would have a 24-0 budget,” Bradley said today. “He can clearly work across the aisle with Republicans, with Democrats, with the governor, and will be, I hope, the next Senate president.”
Bragdon plans to step down as president, but retain his seat representing District 11, amid growing criticism about potential conflicts with his new job at the embattled LGC.
“I think he made the right decision,” Morse said. “I honestly believe, in talking to him, he thought he could manage his way through this. But he wanted to make sure the integrity of the Senate was preserved, and I think that was extremely honorable.”
Bragdon plans to call the Senate back into session shortly after Labor Day to elect a new leader.
Republicans hold a 13-11 majority in the chamber, though Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen said Democrats could potentially play a role in picking the new Senate president.
“They’re pretty good at hanging together, but there’s always a dialogue that goes on,” said Larsen, a Concord Democrat.
For full coverage of this story, see tomorrow’s Monitor.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or email@example.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)