New Hampshire Governor Maggie "I took illegal PAC contributions!" Hassan (D) to run for Senate.

Possibly you may remember the Northern Pass story from last year: in a nutshell, Maggie Hassan’s campaign took forty-five thousand in illegally same-day campaign contributions from three Big Labor unions (SEIU, UFCW, and IBEW). This was generally considered to be at least suspicious, as all three unions want New Hampshire’s proposed Northern Pass transmission line project to go through, while radical environmentalists of course instead want people in New Hampshire to be cold, hungry, and in the dark.  Was it a bribe? Nobody knows! Was it illegal? Well

After the state Republican Party filed a complaint, Attorney General Joe Foster was tasked with deciding whether the $45,000 in union donations to Hassan’s campaign were legal. He decided that a person becomes a candidate at midnight on the day he or she announces. Under that rather creative interpretation, the two $10,000 donations were legal, but the $25,000 contribution was not.

Further complicating the story, the PACs had not registered in New Hampshire, making their donations felonies. Foster ordered the PACs to register, but did not punish them for the violations, which was very lenient of him.

As that article archly noted, Joe Foster is a Democratic appointee who owes his position to Maggie Hassan.  Note also that that article is careful to not suggest that Hassan conspired to get the money, or pressure Foster – but it was still a very convenient decision on the state AG’s part. Especially since Gov. Hassan never felt obligated to return more than the bare legal minimum of tainted money in 2014.

And, hey! Now Maggie Hassan is running for Senate! Polling so far is sketchy on this match-up, but a look at the Marist polling history suggests that Gov. Hassan’s popularity (a quite good 51/35)  has taken an abrupt fall to earth from her previous sky-high 70/24 from those long, far-off days of… February 2015. And, indeed, incumbent [mc_name name=’Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’A000368′ ] looks to be in decent shape to keep her seat (although no promises). Which leads one to wonder why Gov. Hassan is more confident in her ability to make a race of a Senate seat than she is of her chances in running for reelection as Governor*…

(Image via Shutterstock)

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*New Hampshire governors serve two-year terms.