Maggie Hassan

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Maggie Hassan
Maggie Hassan, official portrait, 115th Congress.jpg
United States Senator
from New Hampshire
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Serving with Jeanne Shaheen
Preceded by Kelly Ayotte
81st Governor of New Hampshire
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 2, 2017
Preceded by John Lynch
Succeeded by Chuck Morse (Acting)
Member of the New Hampshire Senate
from the 23rd district
In office
December 1, 2004 – December 1, 2010
Preceded by Russell Prescott
Succeeded by Russell Prescott
Majority Leader of the New Hampshire Senate
In office
January 3, 2005 – December 1, 2010
Preceded by Joseph Foster
Succeeded by Jeb Bradley
Personal details
Born Margaret Wood
(1958-02-27) February 27, 1958 (age 60)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Thomas Hassan
Children 2
Education Brown University (BA)
Northeastern University (JD)
Website Senate website

Margaret "Maggie" Hassan (née Wood; born February 27, 1958) is an American attorney and politician who is the junior United States Senator from New Hampshire. A Democrat, Hassan was elected to the Senate in the 2016 election and served as the 81st Governor of New Hampshire from (2013-2017) [1]

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Hassan is a graduate of Brown University and earned her J.D. from the Northeastern University School of Law. After graduating from law school in 1985, Hassan was an attorney and healthcare executive in Boston.

Hassan first ran for the New Hampshire Senate in 2002 after Democratic Party leaders recruited her to run, as they have also done for United States Senate.[2][3] She lost to incumbent Senator Russell Prescott, but ran against Prescott again in 2004 and won.[4][5] Hassan was elected to a total of three two-year terms, representing New Hampshire's 23rd district, from January 2005 to December 2010. Hassan became the Democrat Majority Leader in the State Senate in 2008 before losing re-election in 2010.[6]

Hassan declared her candidacy for governor in October 2011. Hassan defeated former State Senator Jacalyn Cilley in the Democratic primary, and faced attorney and Republican nominee Ovide M. Lamontagne in the general election. Hassan won with 55% of the vote, becoming the second woman to be elected to the office, after fellow Democrat, and fellow U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Hassan won re-election as governor on November 4, 2014. Since becoming Governor of New Hampshire, Hassan was elected Vice Chair of the Democratic Governors Association and served as a superdelegate at the Democratic National Convention.[3]

In 2016, she ran for the U.S. Senate and unseated Kelly Ayotte, the Republican incumbent in New Hampshire.[7] She is serving with Jeanne Shaheen; both politicians have served as New Hampshire governor.

Early life and education

Hassan was born Margaret Wood in the city of Boston, Massachusetts,[8] the daughter of Margaret (Byers) and Robert Coldwell Wood, a political scientist who served as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Lyndon Johnson administration. She has two siblings, including Tony award-winning actor Frank Wood.[9][10][11]

Wood grew up in Lincoln Massachusetts.[11] As a child she sang in school choirs and at church.[11] Her parents were politically active, and young Maggie collated mailers for the League of Women Voters.[11] Wood attended Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Sudbury, Massachusetts, and graduated with the Class of 1976. Wood earned her B.A. from Brown University in 1980. While at Brown, Wood met her future husband, Thomas Hassan, who was also a student at the university.[2] She received her J.D. from the Northeastern University School of Law in 1985.[12][13]

Early career

From 1985 to 1999, Hassan worked as an attorney.[12] From 1985 to 1992,[citation needed] Hassan worked at the Boston, law firm, Palmer and Dodge. From 1993 to 1996,[citation needed] Hassan was Associate General Counsel for Brigham and Women's Hospital/Partners Healthcare of Boston.[14]

In 1996, Hassan began working as an attorney for Sullivan, Weinstein and McQuay, a Boston corporate defense and business law firm.[15] In 1999, Hassan was appointed by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen as a citizen advisor to the Advisory Committee to the Adequacy in Education and Finance Commission.[12]

New Hampshire Senate


Hassan in April 2007

Hassan first ran for the New Hampshire Senate in 2002 after Democratic Party leaders suggested she run.[2] She lost to incumbent Senator Russell Prescott 54% to 46%.[4] In 2004, she ran against Prescott again and won 52% to 48%.[16] In 2006, she won re-election against Natalie Healy 60% to 40%.[5] In 2008, she defeated Lee Quandt 57% to 43%.[17] She served as the assistant Democratic whip, president pro tempore, and majority leader of the State Senate during her six years in office. She represented New Hampshire's 23rd district, which includes the towns of East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Kingston, Newfields, Newmarket, Newton, Seabrook, South Hampton and Stratham.

In November 2010, Hassan was defeated by Prescott in a second rematch, 53% to 47%,[18] as Republicans regained control of both the state House and state Senate.[19]

Hassan served on the Capital Budget Committee and the Budget Conference Committee.[20]

Hassan helped pass the FY2008-FY2009 budget.[21] This budget increased spending by over a billion dollars and contained thirteen tax and fee increases, including raising vehicle registration fees.[22]

During her tenure as majority leader, Hassan had a major role in legalizing same-sex marriage in New Hampshire. [23]

Hassan helped pass the FY2010-FY2011 budget.[24] This budget increased spending by over a billion dollars and contained thirty-three tax and fee increases, including taxing campsites like hotel rooms, a so-called "income tax" on New Hampshire business, and raising vehicle registration fees.[25][26]

The Nashua Telegraph has criticized higher vehicle registration fees as a misguided budgeting tactic that falls hardest on those who can least afford it.

Committee assignments

  • Capital Budget Committee
  • Commerce, Labor and Consumer Protection
  • Finance
  • Public and Municipal Affairs (Chair)
  • Energy, Environment, and Economic Development (Vice Chair)
  • Internal Affairs Committee
  • Executive Department and Administration Committee

Governor of New Hampshire



A Maggie Hassan election sign.

In October 2011, Hassan announced her candidacy for governor of New Hampshire.[27] She won the Democratic primary with 53%, defeating former state senator Jacalyn Cilley, who received 39%.[28]

Hassan was also endorsed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton[29][30] Campaign themes included implementing the Affordable Care Act.[31]

In the general election, Hassan defeated Republican nominee Ovide M. Lamontagne by 55% to 43%, carrying every county in the state.[32] Her campaign was managed by Matt Burgess and senior consultants included media consultant Joe Slade White.[33]

Independent expenditure groups spent more than $11 million on Hassan's behalf. Major financial support for Hassan's election came from the Washington, D.C.-based Democratic Governor's Association, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the National Education Association.[34]


In June 2014, Hassan filed to run for re-election.[35] She defeated Ian Freeman in the Democratic primary election on September 9, 2014, going on to defeat Republican Walt Havenstein in the general election by a margin of 52% to 48%. Hassan carried 7 of 10 counties.[36]

Return of campaign donations

In August 2014, New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster, a Hassan appointee, ordered her to return $24,000 in campaign contributions that violated New Hampshire campaign finance laws.[37] In October 2014, Hassan was ordered to return another $25,000 in funds a union donated to her gubernatorial campaign because the union had not properly registered with the state a political committee.[38][undue weight? ]


Hassan was sworn in as Governor for a two-year term on January 3, 2013. In December 2013, she was elected as vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association.[39]

In 2013, Hassan signed a bill creating a state sea level rise commission.[40][41]

During a conflict between two sides of the Demoulas family, which owns the Market Basket grocery chain, Hassan urged the family to resolve the dispute, which threatened 9,000 jobs in New Hampshire.[42]

In July 2015, Hassan vetoed a bill that would have removed the licensing requirement for carrying concealed firearms in New Hampshire.[43]

In response to New Hampshire's opioid crisis, Hassan appointed Jack Wozmak as the state's "drug czar" in early 2015. He resigned one year later in response to complaints about his job performance.[44][45]

Hassan also worked to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the state.[46]

She resigned as governor at the end of January 2, 2017. Senate president Chuck Morse assumed the gubernatorial powers and duties as acting governor.[47]

U.S. Senate

2016 Election

Hassan campaigning at a Hillary Clinton rally in Manchester, New Hampshire in October 2016.

On October 5, 2015, Hassan announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2016. She challenged incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte.[48] The race was considered one of the most competitive U.S. Senate races of the year.[49]

Hassan was endorsed by the pro-choice Democratic political action committee EMILY's List, which also backed her two gubernatorial runs.[50] Hassan endorsed Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.[51] Hassan has said climate change and reproductive rights would be her top priorities if she were elected to the Senate.[52]

On November 9, 2016, the afternoon following election day, Hassan was declared the winner by 1,023 votes.[53][54] Ayotte conceded later that evening, choosing not to pursue a recount.[54]

Committee Assignments

Personal life

Hassan's husband, Thomas, was Principal of Phillips Exeter Academy from 2008-2015, and as of 2014 was the president-elect of School Year Abroad.[56] When Hassan's husband was Principal of Phillips Exeter Academy, the Hassans did not live in the Governor's Mansion, instead living in a colonial mansion on the Phillips Exeter campus provided to them as part of her husband's employment.[2] After Thomas Hassan left his position at Phillips Exeter Academy, the Hassans bought and moved into a home in Newfields, NH.[lower-alpha 1][2][57] Hassan has two adult children, the older of whom, Ben, has cerebral palsy.[8]

Electoral history

New Hampshire State Senate 23rd District Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Russell Prescott (inc.) 10,659 54.04
Democratic Maggie Hassan 9,067 45.96
New Hampshire State Senate 23rd District Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan 15,201 51.96
Republican Russell Prescott (inc.) 14,054 48.04
New Hampshire State Senate 23rd District Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan (inc.) 10,566 60.12
Republican Natalie Healy 7,008 39.88
New Hampshire State Senate 23rd District Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan (inc.) 17,212 57.20
Republican Lee Quandt 12,877 42.80
New Hampshire State Senate 23rd District Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Russell Prescott 11,001 53.38
Democratic Maggie Hassan (inc.) 9,606 46.62
New Hampshire Governor Democratic Primary Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan 45,120 53.64
Democratic Jackie Cilley 33,066 39.31
Democratic Bill Pearce Kennedy 5,936 7.06
New Hampshire Governor Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan 378,934 54.66
Republican Ovide Lamontagne 295,026 42.56
Libertarian John Babiarz 19,251 2.78
New Hampshire Governor Democratic Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan (inc.) 39,185 94.18
Democratic Ian Freeman 1,719 4.13
Democratic Clecia Terrio 704 1.69
New Hampshire Governor Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan (inc.) 254,666 52.48
Republican Walt Havenstein 230,610 47.52
US Senate election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan 354,268 48.2%
Republican Kelly Ayotte (inc.) 353,525 48.1%
Independent Aaron Day 17,702 2%
Libertarian Brian Chabot 12,988 1.7%


  1. Although New Hampshire has an executive residence known as Bridges House, no governor has lived in the residence since 1970.


  1. "Updated: NH Democrats to vote on superdelegate reform resolution at convention". WMUR. June 16, 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Ball, Molly (April 11, 2014). "How She Does It". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Harry Reid's final campaign". Politico. July 7, 2015. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Our Campaigns - NH State Senate 23 Race - November 5, 2002
  5. 5.0 5.1 NH State Senate 23 Race - November 7, 2006
  6. "Exeter Sen. Hassan Backs Hillary Clinton". Portsmouth Herald. September 17, 2007. 
  7. "Hassan Tops Havenstein To Win 2nd Term As NH Governor". CBS News. November 5, 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bernstein, David (July 2016). "A Rumble in the Granite State". Boston Magazine. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  9. Professor, HUD chief Robert Wood dies. Sarah H. Wright, News Office. April 6, 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2008.
  10. Martin, Douglas (5 April 2005). "Robert Wood, Education Expert, Dies at 81". New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Corwin, Emily (October 11, 2012). "Childhood Experiences And Parenthood Led Maggie Hassan To Politics". Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Gingrich, Drew (November 7, 2012). "Profile: New Hampshire Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan". USA Today. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  13. "New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan". National Governors Association. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  14. Landrigan, Kevi (October 26, 2011). "Democrat Hassan first Democrat to announce gubernatorial bid". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved January 10, 2016. 
  15. Landrigan, Kevin (October 26, 2011). "Former state Sen. Maggie Hassan making bid for governor: First Democrat to declare candidacy". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  16. NH State Senate 23 Race - November 2, 2004
  17. NH State Senate 23 Race, November 4, 2008
  18. NH State Senate 23 Race, November 2, 2010
  19. "Maggie Hassan concedes to Prescott in District 23",
  20. "The LLC tax showdown: Last-minute change for some businesses becomes political war". Portsmouth Herald. January 10, 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  21. "Roll Call Vote #171". June 27, 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  22. "HB 2" (PDF). June 27, 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  23. Pindell, James. "Maggie Hassan was known as partisan lawmaker". Boston Globe. 
  24. "HB 2". June 24, 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  25. "HB 2" (PDF). June 24, 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  26. "Sen. Hassan: Legislature Made Mistakes in LLC Tax Decision". The Porstsmouth Herald. January 12, 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  27. Hassan announces run for N.H. governor
  28. Landrigan, Kevin (September 13, 2012). "Hassan, Lamontagne paint each other as extremists day after primary victories". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  29. Landrigan, Kevin (July 26, 2012). "Clinton back in NH to support Hassan". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  30. McCord, Michael. "Exeter Sen. Hassan backs Hillary Clinton". Retrieved 2016-11-08. 
  31. Pindell, James (February 2014). "Grading Gov. Hassan's First Year". New Hampshire Magazine. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  32. "2012 New Hampshire Governor Results". Politico. November 19, 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  33. "Exeter's Hassan Announces Campaign Staff". Exeter Patch. January 18, 2012. 
  34. Wallstin, Brian (November 16, 2012). "Hassan's Win Powered By $11 Million In Outside Spending". New Hampshire Public Radio. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  35. Stevens, Rik (June 13, 2014). "Maggie Hassan Files In Governor’s Race". Valley News. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  36. "Governor - 2014 General Election". New Hampshire Secretary of State. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  37. "Attorney general to Hassan: Return $24K donation". Associated Press. 
  38. "AG: Union illegally donated to Hassan in '12". Associated Press. 
  39. Burns, Alexander. "DGA appoints leaders for 2014". Politico. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  40. “Gov. Hassan signs bill to create sea level rise commission” on, by Staff reports, 2013-08-21.
  41. “Governor Hassan Statement on Signing HB 306 and HB 630”, Press Release, 2013-07-16.
  42. Ross, Casey. "Patrick offers to help end Market Basket feud". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  43. Ronayne, Kathleen (July 7, 2015). "N.H. governor vetoes concealed carry bill". Portland Press Herald. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  44. Everett, Burgess (January 27, 2016). "New Hampshire's other smackdown". Politico. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  45. Rayno, Garry (January 15, 2016). "Embattled drug czar resigns". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  46. DiStaso, John (June 29, 2016). "Updated: Executive Council votes 3-2 to restore funding to Planned Parenthood". 
  47. Press, Associated (January 3, 2017). "Hassan Sworn In As U.S. Senator". Retrieved January 3, 2017 – via 
  48. Cahn, Emily (October 5, 2015). "Maggie Hassan Will Run for Senate in New Hampshire". Roll Call. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  49. Rubin, Jennifer (October 6, 2015). "2016’s toughest Senate matchup: Maggie Hassan vs. Kelly Ayotte". Washington Post. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  50. DiStaso, John (October 8, 2015). "EMILY’s List is Hassan’s first national endorsement in US Senate race". WMUR. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  51. Page, Susan (February 4, 2016). "Gov. Hassan: Clinton just might beat Sanders in N.H.". USA Today. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  52. “Gov. Maggie Hassan Says Climate Change, Women's Reproductive Rights Priorities to Be in Senate If Elected” on, 2016-05-11.
  53. "Ayotte concedes to Democrat Maggie Hassan" on, 2016-11-9.
  54. 54.0 54.1 Germano, Beth (November 9, 2016). "Hassan Declared Winner In NH Senate Race; Ayotte Concedes". CBS Boston. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  55. DiStaso, John (December 15, 2016). "Hassan assigned to US Senate homeland security, health-education committees". WMUR. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  56. Sanborn, Aaron (July 4, 2014). "Phillips Exeter's Principal Hassan to step down". Seacoast Online. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  57. Ronayne, Kathleen (January 3, 2016). "Hassan juggles Senate race with need to work with GOP". Associated Press. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
John Lynch
Democratic nominee for Governor of New Hampshire
2012, 2014
Succeeded by
Colin Van Ostern
Preceded by
Paul Hodes
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Hampshire
(Class 3)

Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
John Lynch
Governor of New Hampshire
Succeeded by
Chuck Morse
United States Senate
Preceded by
Kelly Ayotte
United States Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Jeanne Shaheen
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tammy Duckworth
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Kamala Harris