Sununu to face N.H. challengers


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Katrina Swett has joined the ranks of Democrats considering a challenge to U.S. Sen. John Sununu in 2008, and former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen is leaving the door open for a rematch.

Swett, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Charles Bass in 2002, told the Boston Globe that she is “98 percent in,” and plans to travel to Washington this week to meet with Democratic leaders.

Swett comes from a political family, and said she understands the time and financial investment needed to make a successful run. Her father is 13-term Congressman Tom Lantos, of California, and her husband, Dick Swett, is a former congressman from New Hampshire and ambassador under the Clinton administration.

Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen may try again. She lost to Sununu in 2002, 51 percent to 46 percent, but last fall’s elections showed much stronger support for Democrats across the state.

Bass and his fellow GOP congressman, Jeb Bradley, were swept from office by novice Democrats Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter, and Sununu’s seat is now considered vulnerable by national Democrats.

A spokesman for Harvard’s Institute of Politics, where Shaheen is director, said last week she was enjoying her work there and “has no other plans at this time.” Shaheen did not return a message from The Associated Press on Thursday.

But Friday, Shaheen’s husband, Bill, told the Concord Monitor “she hasn’t ruled … out” a rematch.

Stonyfield Farm chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Hirshberg is also considering a run because of his opposition to Sununu’s record on environmental and energy policy. He said he expects to make a decision within a few weeks.

Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is definitely in the race, and state Sen. David Gottesman of Nashua said he is also “keeping my options open.”

AP-ES-01-14-07 1619EST