A great wag once said, and now we can all borrow the phrase without attribution, "Elections have consequences."
One of the consequences of the 2014 New Hampshire election is that an attempt to repeal the death penalty will most likely either not even be filed or will arrive dead on arrival.
No, I didn't hear this in the halls of the State House, but rather at Shaw’s Market last night.
That's where I ran into one of the most ardent supporters of the death penalty repeal (no names please, but insiders would certainly recognize it).
Before I could even explain how his forces might be able to get repeal through the House but never the Senate, he told me exactly the same thing.
This past year, repeal passed by a two to one margin in the House but failed due to a 12-12 tie in the Senate.
Elections have consequences, and two anti-death penalty senators appear to have been replaced by two who would favor keeping the penalty on the books. Republican Bob Odell, a last minute conversion to the anti-death cause, didn't run again and was replaced pro death Republican Jerry Little in District 8. Republican Kevin Avard defeated Peg Gilmour in District 12, so it's tough to see how advocates of repeal could cobble together more than ten votes in the new Senate.
If you can't get to 13, why even go through the long, arduous, and painful (for both sides) process in the House? Besides, the 2016 election is not that far away (the next election is never all that far away) and whle most people don't vote on the issue of death, support for repeal could hurt on the margins. Republicans used it against Distict 18 State Senator Donna Soucy and other pro repeal Democrats this past year, and why risk that again if you can't win anyways?
Projected new House Speaker Bill O'Brien is pro death penatly, and one of the few Democrats, other than Senator Lou D'Allesandro, to be pro death is long time party chair Ramond Charles Buckley...hey, hey, hey, Buckley and O'Brien together again!
Of course, any one of 424 Reps and Senators can file a repeal bill, but chances of success appear to be close to zero.
Last year's prime sponsor, Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, barely survived his election. He was tied for the fourth and final spot in Hampton and won by four votes in the recount. Actually, last thing I heard, that race was headed for the Ballot Law Commission Monday, so we're not 100 percent sure Cushing will be back (odds are he will), but my guess is that he's realist enough not to even file a repeal bill next year.
If he needs reinforcement in that thought, he should hang out at Shaw’s (I always meet the most fascinating people there, from lobbyists trying to bet me a steak dinner on an executive council race to a former Supreme Court justice...twice).