There’s only one female Democratic governor in office right now: Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. [The other female governors are Republicans: Jan Brewer (AZ), Susana Martinez (NM), and Mary Fallin (OK)]. Many political watchers, including the New York Times, speculate that Hassan will be a VP contender on a 2016 Hillary Clinton ticket, along with fellow female liberals–battling for the spot against Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).
What makes Hassan a good pick for Clinton? Start with stamina. Because New Hampshire’s legislative terms run only two years, Hassan’s on the campaign trail continuously. (Like Hillary then, Hassan can said to be “always running.”) But New Hampshire is too small a state, you say? Not when you consider that it has the largest legislative body in the country (424 members)–every one of whom brings the passion and obstinacy of a true volunteer, which they are. (Annual pay for lawmakers is set by New Hampshire law at $100.) In other words, she knows how to listen to people, especially people with grievances–nationally, that’s who votes. And then there’s the matter of the group expected to cause the most problems for Democrats in 2016 — the Tea Party. Hassan is no stranger to Tea Party will and wiles. The first annual Tea Party “Freedom Summit” was held in Manchester, NH, this month and featured Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Donald Trump at the mic. As Hassan says of the partiers, “They tend to be absolutists. By definition, absolutists don’t compromise.” Yet Hassan was able to win agreement on a balanced state budget in 2013 that passed both the House and Senate by the largest margins since 2001. Clinton’s going to have to work to get Hassan’s attention though. The governor is awfully busy–she’s got about six months to raise enough campaign money to contend with Republican nominee Walt Havenstein, a former US Marine who made millions as CEO of defense company BAE Systems.