January 21 2014 is the date for the 1st of 3 significant primary elections in New Hampshire within the next 24 months. After next week we’ll experience the September 9 2014 primary for gubernatorial, legislative and congressional candidates; and then the NH Presidential Primary in January 2016 (presumably*).
On January 21 2014 the GOP will have a primary election to determine who their nominee will be for the Executive Council Seat open after the death of Ray Burton. Who wins may provide a signal for the direction of the NH GOP.
What’s the NH Executive Council???
We’re the only state in the union to have an executive branch that includes a Governor and five Councilors who are elected separately from the Governor (though their terms are for the same two year period). Each Executive Councilor represents his/her district and 1/5 of the state’s population. The state’s website offers a splendid and colorful history of the Executive Council from its beginning in 1679.
Under the 1784 New Hampshire Constitution, the governor and council were granted veto authority against each other, and no executive business became effective unless approved by the President (the title became Governor in 1792) and a majority of the Council, then set at five members. While the Executive Council cannot act independently of the Governor, it has the constitutional authority to negate gubernatorial actions or nominations.
The Executive Council:
Sadly, New Hampshire lost a true public servant with the death of Councilor Ray Burton. A self-described Rockefeller Republican, Ray emphasized his constituent service above any politics. I was fortunate to work with him on a number of occasions on energy policy issues. Ray spoke on behalf of the NH Climate Change Resolution in 2007 at his Town Meeting in Bath, and served on Bath’s local energy committee. During the 2008 primary Ray penned an op-ed extolling Republicans to get serious about climate change. Ray Burton represented Executive Council District 1: 108 towns in the northern two-thirds of New Hampshire from just north of Concord to the Canadian border.
Meet the primary candidates
There are three Republicans competing for Ray’s seat and the primary is set for January 21 to decide between Mark Aldrich, Joe Kenney and Christopher Boothby. There is only one Democratic candidate for the seat (Grafton County Commissioner Mike Cryans) and therefore no democratic primary.
Aldrich is a consultant and real estate broker. Previously he was economic development director of Claremont; state director and NH chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Bob Smith; and NH chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey. No website.
Kenney is a former state rep and state senator, Wakefield selectmen and chair of the Wakefield Republican Committee. www.kenneyfornh.com (He left the senate to run for governor against John Lynch in 2008). His voting record can be found under Project Votesmart
Boothby has significant healthcare experience. He interned for Ray Burton while in college and was a Belknap County Commissioner from 1998-2010. www.christopherboothby.com
All three primary candidates oppose the Northern Pass proposed in District 1 (to support it would get you booted out of the North Country and, having gotten the boot, you’d have to carpetbag …. Possibly run against District 3 Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, a Northern Pass supporter).
* Date of Presidential Primary [RSA 653:9]:
The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is 7 days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election, whichever is earlier, of each year when a president of the United States is to be elected or the year previous.