On the trail: Hodes says he’s exploring state Senate run

  • Former U.S. representative Paul Hodes gives one of the introductions for democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign stop at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Concord on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. ELIZABETH FRANTZ

For the Monitor
Published: 9/19/2019 5:26:06 PM
Modified: 9/19/2019 5:25:54 PM

Former Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes says he’s considering a run for the New Hampshire Senate District 15 seat currently held by state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, who’s running for governor.

“I’m in the very early stages of exploring a run for the New Hampshire Senate seat that Dan Feltes will be vacating. A lot of folks have been talking to me about it,” Hodes said in an interview with the Monitor.

The district – where Democrats tend to dominate – includes all of the city of Concord, as well Henniker, Hopkinton, and Warner.

“It’s a very important seat and we’re at a very important time for New Hampshire,” Hodes said. “It’s very early at this point but I’m looking at it seriously.”

Hodes said the district has a history of “terrific public servants” including Sylvia Larson and Feltes.

Larsen served 20 years in the state Senate, including four as the chamber’s president. Feltes succeeded her in 2014 and last year was elected majority leader as the Democrats regained the majority in the state Senate. Feltes announced his bid for governor earlier this month.

Hodes is a longtime Concord resident.

“From a personal standing, my experience legislating was very gratifying,” he said. “It’s a privilege to serve and be a voice. I’ve spent most of my life in New Hampshire and Concord and the surrounding region.”

Hodes was elected to the U.S. House during the Democratic wave in the 2006 midterm elections. He won re-election in 2008 but lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race by double digits to Republican Kelly Ayotte, who resigned as state attorney general to run for the open Senate seat.

The 2010 election was Hodes’s last run for public office. Since then he’s worked in the private sector, as a community leader, and for the last several years has hosted a local radio program. He’s currently serving as a senior adviser on best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson’s presidential campaign.

Hodes said running again after a decade off won’t be an issue.

“I don’t see it as a problem as all ... a lot of people still remember me,” Hodes said, adding that he would “make sure that people who don’t know me get to know me.”

Concord City Councilor Candace Bouchard confirmed to the Monitor on Thursday that she’s also strongly considering a bid for the open state Senate seat. Bouchard, who’s served on the city council for over a decade, was a state representative from 1998-2014.

Sanford to focus on N.H.

Don’t be surprised if you bump into Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman who earlier this month announced a long-shot bid for the GOP presidential nomination, in next few months in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state.

“I’m going to concentrate a lot of my time here,” Sanford said. “It won’t be exclusively New Hampshire but I think it’s an incredibly important state.”

Sanford, a strong fiscal conservative during his years steering South Carolina and in the halls of Congress, maintains that “Washington has lost its way spending and debt.”

He said his message will resonate in the granite state, adding the nation’s exploding debt is “the kind of thing that would get folks in New Hampshire bothered.”

Sanford said, “we’re looking now at a trillion-dollar deficit this year, which is something we’ve never run before during benign economic conditions.”

He placed blame on the person he’d like to oust from the White House – President Donald Trump. He charged that the president’s budget would raise the national debt another $8 trillion in 10 years.

He said Trump’s presidency is “doing serious harm to people’s trust in the Republican Party as being the party of financial stewardship.”

Sanford’s trip to New Hampshire is his second in two months – but his first since formally launching his campaign. He joined former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois in mounting extreme uphill primary challenges against Trump, who remains extremely popular among most Republicans.

Pappas spells his way to victory

Congressman Chris Pappas let the charge as the lawmakers out-spelled journalists for the first time in four years at the at the National Press Club’s annual Press vs. Politicians Spelling Bee.

The freshman who represents New Hampshire’s first congressional district correctly spelled “beckmesser” to help his team of fellow House Democrats to victory.

Pappas – who once won a spelling bee at his elementary school in Manchester – tweeted “It was a tough fight, but our team pulled off a win … Hats off to my teammates and the members of the Press team”

The competition raises funds for the National Press Club’s nonprofit Journalism Institute, which provides scholarships to train young journalists.

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