Hassan takes on Ayotte in NH

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan made it official on Monday: She’s running for the US Senate seat currently held by Republican Kelly Ayotte, setting up a high-stakes battle next year between two popular politicians in a state that could play a pivotal role in determining whether the Senate remains in the hands of the GOP.

Hassan made her announcement talking straight into the camera in a two-minute video posted on her campaign website. The video did not mention Ayotte by name, but said Washington “has given in to powerful special interests” and “has lost its way on too many of the priorities that matter to New Hampshire.”

Many think the race will be a donnybrook. “Hassan versus Ayotte would set up the most competitive race for the US Senate between two women in the country’s history,” said James Pindell in an April article in New Hampshire magazine. “The contest would be nationally followed and money would pour into the state. The race would not only be defining in terms of the role women play in politics, but also in helping to define the state, which with only one exception in the last decade has gone more Democratic.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren started raising money for Hassan Tuesday morning, sending out an email saying Hassan would be a great partner to her and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. Warren’s email noted Republicans have hammered Hassan with $2 million in attack ads this year and Ayotte has built up a war chest of $5 million.

The Hassan announcement is also likely to trigger a game of political musical chairs inside the Granite State, with pols jumping into the race for governor who will leave behind openings that will be filled by others, and so on.

Hassan, a backer of Hillary Clinton, put off her announcement until after she and the state legislature came to terms on a budget for the current fiscal year. Hassan vetoed the original budget back in June and the state limped along with a temporary budget until a compromise of sorts was reached in September on a reduction in business taxes and a 2 percent raise for state workers. The GOP-controlled House voted for the budget despite internal opposition from many Republicans.

BRUCE MOHL

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker is one of the experts the state’s Health Policy Commission is consulting with on reining in health care spending, but not everyone is on board with his ideas. (CommonWealth) Blue Cross Blue Shield signs new contracts with three major health providers that require them to live within budgets in caring for patients. (Boston Globe)

Editorials in both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe criticize efforts through a supplemental budget bill to let cities and towns set prices on out-of-network ambulance runs.

Rep. RoseLee Vincent of Saugus is pushing legislation that would bar the state from letting the Wheelabrator trash-to-energy incinerator in town expand its ash pile once it has reached capacity. (The Item)

You knew this was coming: State lawmakers consider a ban on talking on cellphones while driving. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Mayor Marty Walsh faces tough questions about neighborhood safety in East Boston, where two 15-year-olds were recently murdered. (Boston Globe) Peter Gelzinis offers this dandy from a woman at the Eastie community meeting, who described the twilight zone that is the city’s building permit and licensing offices: “When you go to 1010 Mass. Ave., you’re going to hell,” she told Walsh, offering a cut-to-the-chase summary that many Bostonians would concur with. (Boston Herald)

CASINOS

MGM Resorts says it is committed to spending $800 million on a Springfield casino, even though it has eliminated a signature 25-story tower from the project. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Patrick Kennedy gets praise from Kevin Cullen and Joan Vennochi for his honest portrayal of the addiction — and denial — that runs through his famous family. But his mother appears to contradict Kennedy’s claim that she was aware of his book project and helped him with it. (Boston Globe) Yesterday’s Download took stock of Kennedy’s decision to pull back the curtain on the family’s addiction issues.

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the House Republicans who are spoiling for more fighting.

ELECTIONS

Marco Rubio is starting to emerge from the Republican pack, writes the Globe‘s Matt Viser.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Allegations of insider dealing are roiling the big-money world of fantasy sports sites. (Boston Globe)

In his new book, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke admits to have purposely misled Congress and the public about the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, letting people believe the government allowed the company to fail rather than admit they couldn’t save it and shake market confidence. (New York Times)

A new poll by the Chronicle of Philanthropy shows more than a third of those surveyed don’t trust charities and more than 40 percent say nonprofit leaders are paid too much. Meanwhile, a new report shows the number of organizations receiving nonprofit status tripled in 2014 but more than half of the states’ charity offices that regulate them have not grown since 2008 and at least 13 percent have reduced staff.

The developer of the Southfield mixed-use project at the former Weymouth naval air base says zoning changes that would allow age-restricted housing, increased commercial space, and denser residential units could bring millions more in tax revenues to the town. (Patriot Ledger)

EDUCATION

Todd Gazda, the superintendent of the Ludlow Public Schools, takes issue with the push for more charter schools. (CommonWealth)

A federal judge agrees that Concord-Carlisle school officials did little to stop the incessant bullying of a high school student there, but dismisses a lawsuit she filed against them because existing law doesn’t support a legal claim in the case. (Boston Globe)

Peabody considers allowing students schooled at home to participate in sports at the public schools. (Salem News)

The Wayland METCO program attracts the attention of the state Inspector General in its dealings with Boston Parent Council. (MetroWest Daily News)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

California Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation making it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs if their terminally ill patients want to end their lives. (NPR)

Both Congress and the White House are seeking ways to cut expected Medicare premium hikes, which could rise by as much as 50 percent next year. (New York Times)

A company that runs four mental health counseling centers in Lowell, Fitchburg, Chelmsford, and Newton declares bankruptcy, creating what some officials are calling a mental health emergency. (The Sun)

The State Auditor’s office goes after a MassHealth wheelchair provider who over-charged the program to the tune of $16 million. (Boston Business Journal)

TRANSPORTATION

In a bid to boost revenues, MBTA officials consider lifting the ban on alcohol advertisements that was put in place in 2012. (WBUR)

It’s a time of anguish for the family and friends of 33 crew members, seven with New England ties, of the cargo ship El Faro, which disappeared off the Bahamas on Thursday during Hurricane Joaquin. (Boston Globe)

Former MBTA general manager Beverly Scott won’t be taking a seat on the National Transportation Safety Board after all. (Boston Herald)

The MBTA will announce changes to its commuter rail schedule by the end of November that will attempt to fix current snags that make delays more likely. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Andover selectmen vote 4-1 in favor of putting solar panels on a town landfill once it is capped. (Eagle-Tribune)

The state has overturned the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission‘s decision that barred a couple from building a 290-foot pier off their property. The commission ruled the pier did not comply with wetlands regulations. (Standard-Times)

The EPA instructs General Electric to clean up the Housatonic River in western Massachusetts.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Brockton‘s overall crime rate dropped last year, according to FBI data, but the city had the state’s highest per capita murder rate. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

The town of Needham has filed suit against GateHouse Media, whose New England headquarters are in the town, for $1.4 million in unpaid taxes and interest. (Boston Globe)

Tribune Publishing announces a buyout program, with at least 50 editorial positions on the chopping block at the Los Angeles Times. (Poynter)