The New Hampshire primary is over, and Democrats and Republicans have chosen their gubernatorial candidates for the general election.
For Republicans, a tight race between Kevin Smith, the former executive director of conservative Cornerstone Action group and political lawyer Ovide Lamontagne, has resulted in a victory for Lamontagne.
Lamontagne, who was closely embraced by the Tea Party in his 2010 senate primary run against now Sen. Kelly Ayotte, is best known for legally representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire in 2003, where he “negotiated the settlement between the diocese and the alleged victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of priests. The settlement spared the diocese from being criminally charged by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office,” according to Politifact.
Lamontagne has previously never held a public office. He has stated “I’m pro-life from conception to death.” He also opposes the birth control mandate. Lamontagne has also stated that one of his key agenda items is to overturn a ban in place for 100 years allowing tax dollars to fund religious schools. The combination of issues would mean that religious schools would be allowed to be subsidized by taxpayers while at the same time they could discriminate against allowing contraceptive coverage.
The Democratic party has chosen former state senator Maggie Hassan as their nominee, winning a double digit victory over rival Democrat Jackie Cilley. Hassan, an open supporter of reproductive rights, railed the state House for attempting to allow greater religious exemptions in birth control coverage, calling it an “assault on women.”
“It’s disappointing that the House passed this bill that takes away a woman’s right to make her own personal health care decisions. Speaker (Bill) O’Brien’s Tea Party legislature has ignored the needs of New Hampshire women who simply ask for access to basic health care….This unbelievable assault on women has to stop.”
The general election could be a tough battle for Hassan, who has spent a large portion of her funding in her primary campaign. Lamontagne, on the other hand, retains a large warchest, and about a $450,000 cash on hand advantage.
In other New Hampshire primary news, Frank Szabo lost his challenge to incumbent James Hardy in the county sheriff race, and Colin Van Ostern will run against Michael Tierney for the vacant 2nd district seat on the Executive Council.