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Bar News - October 6, 2006

More Attorneys Vying for State Senate: Heed a Write-in Success for County Attorney


      After seeing their ranks in the state Senate dwindle to only one out of 24 seats in 2003, attorneys in greater numbers are stepping up to the challenges of running-and serving-in the legislature.
This November, four NH Bar members are seeking reelection to the state Senate, and voters in six senatorial districts will have at least one attorney on either major-party ballot to consider. (Help us track NH House of Representative’s races where attorneys are involved. If you are-or know about-a Bar member running for the NH House, please send a message to We would like to hear from you.) Note: NHBA members are listed in bold.

Meanwhile, the power of the (write-in) pencil has propelled Peter W. Heed

 Peter W. Heed
Peter W. Heed

back into public life, as he won spots on both the Republican and Democratic ballots for Cheshire County Attorney.  In the top spots on the general election ballot, Gov. John H. Lynch, an inactive NHBA member, is seeking reelection as governor; and Concord attorney Paul W. Hodes, of the Shaheen & Gordon law firm, is running as a Democrat against U.S. Rep. Charles Bass in the 2nd Congressional District.

State Senate Races

 Dennis C. Hogan
Dennis C. Hogan

      The four attorneys now in the Senate, all Democrats, sought re-election. Joseph A. Foster, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Nashua office of the McLane firm, two years ago enjoyed no opposition in his reelection bid. This year, he faces Nashua attorney Dennis C. Hogan, who mounted a successful last-minute write-in campaign to win the Republican nomination. In the process, Hogan, a solo practitioner in his first bid for political office, denied the Republican nomination to the only candidate then on the GOP ballot-controversial former state legislator Tom Alciere. (Alciere had angered many with remarks, never repudiated, that advocated violence against police officers who use excessive force.)


Meanwhile, the Democrats have recruited two veteran political activists to step from behind the scenes and make their first tries for elective office.

 Deborah Reynolds
Deborah R. Reynolds

      Plymouth attorney Deborah R. Reynolds is challenging longtime incumbent Senator Carl Johnson in the 2nd District. Reynolds has been active in recent years recruiting candidates and fundraising for local Democratic candidates and for Lynch. Last year, she was appointed to the NH Commission on Human Rights.


 Robert A. Backus
Robert A. Backus

Robert A. Backus, of the Backus, Meyer, Solomon & Branch law firm in Manchester, who is known for his involvement in litigation against the Seabrook nuclear energy plant in the 1980s and 1990s, is also making his first bid for political office, running in the 16th District against Senate President Ted Gatsas. 

      Other attorneys seeking reelection are Peter H. Burling, of Cornish, who is seeking a third consecutive Senate term (he previously served in the Senate and also was House Democratic leader) who faces Rosalie Babiarz in the 5th district; Nashua attorney David M. Gottesman, of Gottesman & Hollis, seeking his third term in the 12th district, opposed by Rep. Nancy Wall; and attorney Margaret C. W. Hassan, of Exeter, seeking a second term, who faces Republican Natalie Healy for the 23rd Senatorial District seat.

      Beth Roth, a longtime Salem resident who practices health care law in Dracut, Mass. (but not admitted in NH), is running as a Democrat in the 22nd District against Republican Michael Downing for the seat being vacated by Charles Morse.


County Attorney Races

      In a race with many late-breaking developments, former NH Attorney General Peter W. Heed returned to public life by winning spots on both the Republican and Democratic ballots as the candidate for Cheshire County Attorney, a post he held from 2000 to 2003. Heed said he was urged to run following the withdrawal from the race and resignation of incumbent County Attorney William Albrecht, which occurred only a few weeks before the election-too late for his name to be removed from the ballot. Heed received 1,331 write-in votes in the Republican primary and 1,083 in the Democratic primary. Swanzey regional prosecutor Scott A. Trendell, already on the general election ballot as an independent, also mounted a write-in campaign and garnered 887 votes in the Democratic primary and 360 in the Republican primary.

 Wayne P. Coull
Wayne P. Coull

 James M. Carroll
James M. Carroll

      In Belknap County, Wayne P. Coull, who has worked in the County Attorney’s office for 10 years and is currently serving as acting County Attorney, out-polled former Grafton County Attorney Kenneth Anderson in the Republican primary, 1,538 to 1,166. James M. Carroll, who served for 10 years as Laconia City Prosecutor and is now a partner at the Wescott, Millham & Dyer law firm, is the Democratic candidate. They are vying to replace Lauren Noether, who resigned to join the NH Attorney General’s office.


In Hillsborough County, Republican incumbent Marguerite L. Wageling will be unopposed in the general election.

      Rockingham County is the site of the only other contested county attorney’s race, where Republican incumbent James M. Reams is challenged by Democrat David H. Mirsky, of Exeter.    

      In Coos County, Assistant County Attorney Keith W. Clouatre is unopposed in the election to replace Pierre J. Morin.

      County Attorney incumbents Robin J. Gordon (Carroll); Ricardo “Rick” St. Hilaire (Grafton); Daniel I. St. Hilaire, (Merrimack); Janice K. Rundles (Strafford); and Marc B. Hathaway (Sullivan), are unopposed.


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