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Biography

Elected: 2008, term expires 2020, 2nd term.

Born: January 28, 1947, St. Charles, MO

Home: Madbury, NH

Education: Shippensburg Coll., B.A. 1969, U. of MS, M.A. 1973

Professional Career: Teacher, 1969–71; A.A., U. of NH, 1973–74, Parents' Assoc. Program Coord., 1982–86; Mgr., seasonal retail business, 1973–76; Campaign mgr., Carter/Mondale NH pres. campaign, 1979–80; Hart NH pres. campaign, 1983–84; McEachern NH gov. campaign, 1986–88.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Protestant - Unspecified Christian

Family: Married (William (Bill) Shaheen) , 3 children ; 7 grandchildren

Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, elected in 2008, is New Hampshire’s senior senator and the first woman in U.S. history to be elected both a governor and a senator. A polished member of her party who once taught a university course on how elected officials can overcome partisanship, she has sought to build coalitions by reaching across the aisle. But she was able to mobilize enough Democratic support to fend off a tough challenge in 2014 from ex-Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown.

Shaheen grew up in St. Charles County, Mo., north of St. Louis, and graduated from Shippensburg College in Pennsylvania. She got a master’s degree at the University of Mississippi. She moved to New Hampshire in 1973, where she worked as a teacher and ran a silver and leather business with her husband, attorney William Shaheen. She worked as a staffer on Democrat Jimmy Carter’s successful presidential primary campaigns in New Hampshire in 1976 and 1980, and worked on other Democratic campaigns as well. She managed Democrat Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign in the New Hampshire primary, in which he beat Walter Mondale 37%-28%. She also worked for the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns of Paul McEachern in 1986 and 1988, when he lost to John Sununu and Judd Gregg, respectively.

Shaheen was elected in 1990 to the state Senate, where she supported expanded health care coverage and term limits on federal and state legislators. In 1996, she ran for governor. She had no serious primary opposition, while the Republicans had a close race between U.S. Rep. Bill Zeliff and Board of Education Chairman Ovide Lamontagne, a strong conservative who won the nomination. Shaheen took a pledge to oppose an income or sales tax and won the general election 57%-39%, carrying every county.

As governor, Shaheen won more funding from the legislature for kindergarten programs and signed a bill creating a needle exchange pilot program. She vetoed bills that would have abolished the estate tax and the death penalty. A 1997 state Supreme Court ruling that outlawed New Hampshire’s system of local school financing provided a continual challenge. Shaheen proposed increasing state revenues through slot machine gambling and a hike in the tobacco tax, but the court invalidated her plan in 1998. That same year, when her two-year term was up, Shaheen was reelected by 66%-31%. But she then abandoned her pledge to oppose an income or sales tax and was reelected in 2000 by 49%-44%. During that term, the controversy over school funding continued, and the Republican-controlled legislature refused to pass either an income or sales tax.

Shaheen first ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002. As in her 1996 race, Republicans had a seriously contested primary in which U.S. Rep. John Sununu, son of the former governor and George H.W. Bush White House chief of staff, defeated the conservative incumbent, Robert Smith 53%-45%. Shaheen supported President George W. Bush’s tax cuts and the authorization of military force in Iraq passed by Congress in October 2002. But her abandonment of the tax pledge came back to haunt her, and Sununu won 51%-46%.

In the 2004 election season, Shaheen was the national chairman of Democrat John Kerry’s presidential campaign and helped orchestrate his victory in the New Hampshire primary, as competitor Howard Dean’s support collapsed. After that election, in 2005, Shaheen became director of the Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics at Harvard, where she earlier taught education policy (at Tufts University, she taught a course in 2003 called “Governing in a Partisan Environment.”) She said she had no interest in running for office again.

But after the Democratic sweep of 2006, local Democrats pressed her to challenge Sununu in 2008. Other Democrats were already in the race, including Katrina Swett, wife of former U.S. Rep. Dick Swett and daughter of the late California Rep. Tom Lantos. She raised $1.2 million for the race. A July 2007 poll showed Shaheen far ahead of Sununu in a theoretical matchup, with Swett and other Democrats running behind him. In September, Shaheen quit her job at Harvard and announced that she was running. Swett and others dropped out of the race.

Much of New Hampshire’s attention over the next few months was devoted to the presidential race. In December 2007, Shaheen’s husband, William, co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s national and New Hampshire campaigns, told reporters that Republicans would attack Democratic candidate Barack Obama for admitting in his autobiography that he “got into drinking” and experimented with drugs. The next day, Clinton apologized, and Shaheen’s husband resigned his position in her campaign.

The Senate campaign was a rematch between two candidates in a very different political atmosphere. In 2002, Shaheen had emphasized areas where she agreed with Bush and congressional Republicans; in 2008, she emphasized her disagreements with them. She attacked Sununu for votes against changing the tax treatment of oil companies and was supported by environmental groups. Shaheen led in polls throughout the campaign, but Sununu rebounded after gas prices reached $4 a gallon, and he criticized Shaheen’s opposition to offshore oil drilling. He also attacked her for doubling state spending in her six years as governor. But he may have lost ground in October 2008, when he voted for the $700 billion government bailout for the financial industry, which Shaheen, like many challenger candidates in both parties, opposed.

It was one of the most closely contested Senate races in the country, and both candidates raised and spent more than $8 million. The outcome was a reversal of 2002. Shaheen won 52%-45%, a spread just slightly greater than Sununu’s six years earlier. It was the first Democratic Senate victory in New Hampshire since 1974.

In the Senate, Shaheen has been a reliable Democrat who was rewarded for her loyalty with a seat on the Appropriations Committee in 2013. She has a good relationship with President Obama, serving as one of his 2012 campaign co-chairs. Though she stays on message and refrains from headline-grabbing sound bites, she did provoke some attention in January 2013 when she called the lack of women in Obama’s second-term Cabinet up to that point “disappointing.” Nine months later, as the Obama administration began experiencing problems with rolling out the Affordable Care Act, she became the first Senate Democrat to call for extending the open-enrollment period for people to obtain health insurance.

Before joining Appropriations, Shaheen served on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where she impressed colleagues with her command of issues developed from her days as governor. After the 2010 BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, she called for the abolition of the much-criticized Minerals Management Service—which was subsequently carried out—and introduced a bill creating a new research and development program at the Interior Department to focus on ways to respond to spills. She also sponsored a measure establishing a carbon incentives program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on private forest land, and another to provide a 30% tax credit for investment in biomass heating systems.

She remained involved in energy issues, teaming with Ohio Republican Rob Portman on a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill. The measure sought to increase efficiency in residential, commercial, and federally-owned buildings while training workers who work in energy-efficient commercial buildings. But the bill failed in September 2013 after it became entangled in debates over the Affordable Care Act and Keystone XL pipeline. It failed again in May 2014 after Republicans insisted on being able to offer amendments, including proposals to speed up natural gas exports and oppose Environmental Protection Agency regulations on future power plants.

Shaheen sought to avoid the frustrations many former governors experience in the Senate. Borrowing an idea from her days as a chief executive, she introduced a bill with Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson in 2011 to move to a two-year budget cycle. She also worked with a bipartisan group that sought to enact many of the recommendations made by Obama’s deficit commission in 2010. She joined another bipartisan effort in 2013 to increase the number of visas and green cards available for science and technology workers. During the health care debate, Shaheen got several provisions into the final bill, including one closing a loophole allowing drug companies to avoid competition with generic drugs.

In the 112th Congress (2011-12), she picked up a seat on the Armed Services panel, where she keeps an eye on the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, an important employer in eastern New Hampshire. She also got provisions into the fiscal 2013 defense bill to expand the Pentagon’s use of biofuels and to repeal a policy denying military women coverage for abortion in cases of rape or incest.

On local matters, Shaheen helped get funding for a new federal prison in Berlin, N.H., into an appropriations bill, which was signed into law. Congress had tried to cut $276 million for the facility, but Shaheen argued it would supply 332 jobs and put $40 million annually into the area’s economy. Shaheen has a personal interest in diabetes treatment—her granddaughter, Elle Shaheen, has Type 1 diabetes and participated in a medical trial for an artificial pancreas—and has actively tried to persuade the Food and Drug Administration to issue “clear and reasonable guidance” on artificial pancreas devices.

Despite representing a state where Republicans still hold a voter registration edge, Shaheen has not shied away from the culture wars. In March 2011, she signed on to cosponsor a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and allow the federal government to provide benefits to same-sex married couples. Shaheen has also been a big supporter of Planned Parenthood, often under fire from House Republicans who accuse the group of using federal dollars to fund abortions. And she later introduced a bill that would ensure same-sex married couples receive military benefits such as spousal support upon death.

Shaheen was long regarded as a strong favorite to win reelection in 2014. A WMUR Granite State Poll conducted for the University of New Hampshire in February 2013 found that she was the state’s most popular statewide elected official, with a 59% approval rating. But the dynamics of the race changed when Brown announced an exploratory committee in March 2014 and announced his candidacy a month later. It was the first time since the 1800s that a senator from one state ran for a seat in another.

Brown had capitalized on public unease over the passage of the Affordable Care Act by winning the 2010 open-seat race for the late Edward M. Kennedy's seat, presaging the GOP's domination of the subsequent midterm elections. Despite receiving substantial tea-party support, he compiled a moderate voting record as a senator. In 2012, he was soundly beaten 54%-46% by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a darling of progressives for her fierce anti-Wall Street rhetoric, as the Bay State's Democratic voters came out in force to reelect Obama.

After his loss to Warren, Brown worked as a commentator for Fox News and as a consultant. He and his wife sold their residence in Massachusetts and moved to New Hampshire where they long have owned a vacation home. His campaign got off to a rocky start, but picked up steam after he won the endorsement of part-time New Hampshire resident Mitt Romney and was joined on the campaign trail this week by Arizona Sen. John McCain, who twice won the New Hampshire presidential primary.

An August University of New Hampshire/WMUR poll shocked political observers when it showed Shaheen with a 46%-44% lead, within the poll's 3.4-percentage point margin of error. A month earlier, the same poll had Shaheen leading by 12 points. Shaheen's campaign was unfazed, saying it was prepared for a tough race. She gave a preview of what was to come by telling supporters as Brown won his primary: "I didn't just move here. I've been here, working to make a difference for New Hampshire. No matter where Scott Brown lives, he's going to put Scott Brown first." Although polls showed Brown within a hair of the senator heading into Election Day, she managed to win with 52%.

 

 

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-2841

(202) 228-3194

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 506
Washington, DC 20510-2906

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 224-2841

(202) 228-3194

HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building Room 506
Washington, DC 20510-2906

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 647-7500

(603) 647-6147

2 Wall Street Suite 220
Manchester, NH 03101

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 647-7500

(603) 647-6147

1589 Elm Street Suite 3
Manchester, NH 03101-1261

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 883-0196

60 Main Street
Nashua, NH 03060-2720

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 883-0196

60 Main Street
Nashua, NH 03060-2720

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 752-6300

961 Main Street
Berlin, NH 03570

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 752-6300

961 Main Street
Berlin, NH 03570

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 542-4872

50 Opera House Square
Claremont, NH 03743-5407

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 542-4872

50 Opera House Square
Claremont, NH 03743-5407

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 750-3004

340 Central Avenue Suite 205
Dover, NH 03820-3770

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 750-3004

340 Central Avenue Suite 205
Dover, NH 03820-3770

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 358-6604

12 Gilbo Avenue Suite C
Keene, NH 03431

DISTRICT OFFICE

(603) 358-6604

12 Gilbo Avenue Suite C
Keene, NH 03431

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Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Alison MacDonald
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Robert Diznoff
Staff Director

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Marissa Serafino
Legislative Correspondent

Alison MacDonald
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Arts

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Marissa Serafino
Legislative Correspondent

Banking

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Budget

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Commerce

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Consumers

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Disability

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Disaster

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Economics

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Education

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Eric Waskowicz
Legislative Correspondent

Alison MacDonald
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Robert Diznoff
Staff Director

Marissa Serafino
Legislative Correspondent

Ariel Marshall
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Robert Diznoff
Staff Director

Family

Eric Waskowicz
Legislative Correspondent

Alison MacDonald
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Foreign

Josh Lucas
Senior Advisor for Foreign Policy

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Grants

Jennifer MacLellan
Deputy Chief of Staff

Gun Issues

Patrick Day
Legislative Assistant

Kevin Travaline
Legislative Correspondent

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Health

Eric Waskowicz
Legislative Correspondent

Alison MacDonald
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Patrick Day
Legislative Assistant

Kevin Travaline
Legislative Correspondent

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Housing

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Kevin Travaline
Legislative Correspondent

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Josh Lucas
Senior Advisor for Foreign Policy

Patrick Day
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Erica Anhalt
Legislative Assistant

Kevin Travaline
Legislative Correspondent

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Robert Diznoff
Staff Director

Medicare

Alison MacDonald
Legislative Assistant

Military

Mary Sly
Defense Fellow

Patrick Day
Legislative Assistant

Bryan Maxwell
Military Legislative Assistant

Chris Neary
Policy Director

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Native Americans

Marissa Serafino
Legislative Correspondent

Public Works

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Seniors

Eric Waskowicz
Legislative Correspondent

Small Business

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Social Security

Kelly Misselwitz
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Technology

Chris Neary
Policy Director

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Trade

Josh Lucas
Senior Advisor for Foreign Policy

Andrew Nielsen
Legislative Correspondent

Veterans

Patrick Day
Legislative Assistant

Kevin Travaline
Legislative Correspondent

William Scheffer
Legislative Assistant

Women

Eric Waskowicz
Legislative Correspondent

Election Results

2008 GENERAL
Jeanne Shaheen
Votes: 358,438
Percent: 51.59%
John Sununu
Votes: 314,403
Percent: 45.25%
2008 PRIMARY
Jeanne Shaheen
Votes: 42,968
Percent: 88.31%
Henry Stebbins
Votes: 5,281
Percent: 10.85%
Prior Winning Percentages
Governor: 2000 (49%), 1998 (66%), 1996 (57%)

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