Next Score View the next score

    N.H. governor taps House speaker for agriculture commissioner

    New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu
    New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu

    For the second time in two weeks there is a large shake-up in New Hampshire politics, as Republican Governor Chris Sununu announced Thursday that he wants House Speaker Shawn Jasper to serve as the state’s agriculture commissioner.

    Jasper, a Republican from Hudson, has had a rocky tenure in his three years as speaker. In 2014 he won the top post in the House, even though he didn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans; conservatives have sought to undermine him ever since. Jasper’s leaving the Legislature removes a political problem for the Republican Party and for Sununu, who most recently clashed with Jasper over a high-profile kindergarten law.

    Last week, New Hampshire US Representative Carol Shea-Porter announced without warning that she would not seek re-election in 2018.


    Technically Jasper will need to be recommended by a 15-person commission before Sununu can formally nominate him to the job. That said, Republicans control the five-member council which votes on Sununu’s nominations. While Jasper said he won’t resign his title until he is officially confirmed, his office has already scheduled elections for a new House speaker in late November.

    Moments after Sununu’s office sent out a press release, a number of Republican state representatives said they were looking into running for speaker, setting up a six-week scramble for one of the most important positions in Granite State politics.

    James Pindell can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell or subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics: