A casino lobbyist for AG?
Amidst widespread rumors that Michael Delaney was invited to leave his post as Attorney General in large measure because he opposes Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan’s casino gambling plan, a new frontrunner has emerged to fill his shoes.
State House sources tell NH Journal that Hassan is looking to appoint Lucy Hodder to the top Justice post.
In many ways, Hodder seems like a natural choice for Gov. Hassan. Many people expect the Governor to nominate a woman. And Hodder already serves as the Governor’s legal counsel.
But a Hodder nomination would risk handing the reigns of the State Department of Justice over to the very same outside special interests that ensured Delaney was not going to be renominated.
A list of State House lobbyists from 2012 compiled by the New Hampshire Secretary of State show Lucy C. Hodder lobbied for William Wortman of Las Vegas, NV just last year. William Wortman is the CEO of Millennium Gaming, the company hoping to make a fortune from building a casino in Salem, NH.
Hodder would be the first Attorney General in Granite State history to support casinos. Hodder would need to be confirmed by the Executive Council.
New Hampshire GOP chief Jennifer Horn reacted strongly to the news.
“The Granite State has a long history of an independent justice department that has been free of political influence. It is disgraceful that Attorney General Delaney may have been denied another term because of his strong and principled rejection of Governor Hassan’s irresponsible gambling agenda. And it is extremely alarming that the governor is considering replacing Delaney with somebody who is bought and paid for by the gambling industry,” said Horn in a statement.
A tweet by top Democrat Kathy Sullivan appeared to confirm the probability that Hassan would appoint Hodder:
When Craig Benson appointed protege Kelly Ayotte AG, did NHGOP object to choice of his former legal counsel and political ally? #nhpolitics
— Kathy Sullivan (@NHKathySullivan) March 22, 2013
[This story has been updated since its original posting.]