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Jeanne Shaheen

Assumed office 
January 3, 2009
Serving with Judd Gregg
Preceded by John E. Sununu

In office
January 9, 1997 – January 9, 2003
Preceded by Steve Merrill
Succeeded by Craig Benson

Born January 28, 1947 (1947-01-28) (age 62)
St. Charles, Missouri
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bill Shaheen
Residence Madbury, New Hampshire
Alma mater Shippensburg University, University of Mississippi
Profession teacher
Religion Non-Denominational Protestant

Jeanne Shaheen (born January 28, 1947), an American politician and member of the Democratic Party, is the junior United States Senator from New Hampshire. The first woman in U.S. history to be elected as both a Governor and U.S. Senator, she was the first woman to be elected Governor of New Hampshire, serving from 1997 to 2003. Shaheen ran for the United States Senate in 2002, but was narrowly defeated by Republican challenger John E. Sununu. The race was the first time two candidates with Arab-American families, although Shaheen herself is not Arab-American, have squared off in a Senate race.[1] She has most recently served as Director of the Harvard Institute of Politics, before resigning to run again for the U.S. Senate in the 2008 election, where she defeated Sununu in a rematch.



Shaheen was born Cynthia Jeanne Bowers in Saint Charles, Missouri. She is the wife of Lebanese-American attorney and political operative Bill Shaheen. Together they have three children. She graduated from high school in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, and has earned a bachelor's degree in English from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from the University of Mississippi. She taught high school in Mississippi and moved to New Hampshire in 1973, where she taught school and owned a small business.

Political career

A Democrat, she worked on several campaigns before running for office in 1990, when she was elected to the state Senate. In 1996, 1998 and 2000 she was elected governor of New Hampshire.

In April 2005, Shaheen was named director of Harvard's Institute of Politics, succeeding former U.S. Representative (and current MPAA head) Dan Glickman.


Governor of New Hampshire, 1997–2003

Shaheen's original decision to run for New Hampshire Governor came after the retirement of Republican Governor Steve Merrill. Her opponent in 1996 was Ovide P. Lamontagne, then chairman of the State Board of Education. Shaheen ran as a moderate. Her campaign centered on the problems of New Hampshire's schools and her pledge to expand kindergartens so that more children statewide could benefit from them. She defeated Lamontagne by 57 to 40 percent.[2]

In 1996, Shaheen was the first woman to be elected governor of New Hampshire. (She was not, however, the first woman to serve as NH's governor; Vesta M. Roy was acting governor from December 30, 1982 until January 6, 1983.)

In 1998, she was overwhelmingly re-elected by a margin of 66 to 31 percent.[3]

In both 1996 and 1998, Shaheen pledged to veto any new broad-based taxes for New Hampshire, which taxes neither sales nor its residents' earned income. A school-funding crisis, however, pressured the state's reliance on property taxes.[4]

Running for a third term in 2000, Shaheen refused to renew that no-new-taxes pledge, becoming the first NH governor in 38 years to win election without making that pledge. Shaheen's preferred solution to the school-funding problem was not a broad-based tax but legalized video-gambling at state racetracks—a solution repeatedly rejected by the NH legislature.[5]

In 2001 Shaheen tried to implement a 2.5% sales tax, the first broad-based tariff of its kind in history of New Hampshire. Unlike neighboring New England states New Hampshire does not have a sales tax. The state's legislature rejected her proposal.[6] She also proposed an increase in the state's cigarette tax and a 4.5% capital gains tax.

2000 presidential race and vice presidential speculation

During the 2000 Democratic presidential primary in NH, Governor Shaheen expressed support for Al Gore and her husband Bill Shaheen served as Gore's NH campaign manager. Gore won a narrow but critical victory in the NH primary over Bill Bradley.[7]

Gore named Jeanne Shaheen to his short list of potential vice presidential nominees, which also included Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, then-North Carolina Senator John Edwards, then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.[8] Shaheen quickly acknowledged that, while appreciative of the speculation, she would not be a candidate for vice president, and she urged the Gore campaign to withdraw her name from consideration. Gore went on to choose Lieberman as his running mate.

2002 campaign for U.S. Senate

After being elected to three two-year terms as Governor, Shaheen declined to run for a fourth term, instead choosing to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002 when she was defeated by Republican John E. Sununu, by a 51% to 47% margin (19,751 votes). In a recent interview with the Concord Monitor, Shaheen attributed her loss in part to "discussion about the job that [she] did as governor." At that time, early Republican advertisements slammed her support for putting a sales tax on the ballot or faulted her for failing schools.[9]

In June 2004, former Republican consultant Allen Raymond pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic Party lines set up to get New Hampshire Democrats to the polls in 2002, an action that some (most notably former Senator Bob Smith, whom Sununu had defeated in the Republican primary) believe may have contributed to Shaheen's narrow loss.[10] A judge sentenced Raymond to five months in jail in February 2005. Charles McGee, the former state GOP executive director, was sentenced to seven months for his role.

Raymond alleged that James Tobin, Northeast field director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, masterminded the plot. In December 2005, Tobin was convicted of two federal felonies arising from the phone-jamming and sentenced to ten months in prison but that conviction was reversed after Tobin's lawyers appealed. In October, 2008, prosecutors filed two new felony indictments which charged that James Tobin lied to a FBI agent when he was interviewed in 2003 about his role in the phone-jamming case.[11]

2004 presidential race

After a short time teaching at Harvard University (and a fellowship in the Institute of Politics with former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift), she was named national chairperson of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign in September 2003. Kerry's campaign, stagnant at that point, won the nomination handily and Shaheen received much of the credit.

2008 campaign for U.S. Senate

In late 2006, analysts looking ahead to the 2008 U.S. Senate races pointed to John E. Sununu's seat in New Hampshire as a likely competitive contest. Democratic Governor of New Hampshire John Lynch, who was re-elected with 74% of the vote in 2006, had ruled himself out of running against Sununu, leaving some to begin looking to Shaheen as the obvious candidate. On March 18, the Nashua Telegraph announced that several Democratic polls showed Shaheen the best candidate to defeat Sununu, who trailed the former Governor in several polls, one putting Shaheen ahead of Sununu by nearly 30 points (57-29).[12]

Shaheen on the campaign trail, July 2008

In early July 2007 through UNH, CNN and WMUR put out a poll[13] regarding the New Hampshire 2008 Senate race. The poll showed that Gov. Shaheen would beat Sen. Sununu in a race (54-38). Other Democratic candidates did not have this type of lead, which led many to believe Gov. Shaheen would be the right choice to beat Sen. Sununu in 2008.

In April 2007, Shaheen met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-New York) about a possible US Senate run. The Senators both said that she would have strong support from the DSCC if she ran. The move came as a sign that Shaheen was more than likely to seek a rematch against Sununu. Two months later, in June 2007, the Rothenburg Political Report stated that Shaheen was then "likely to run" for the US Senate. In addition, at the New Hampshire Democratic Convention, former New Hampshire Democratic Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan announced that she was forming a draft movement of several legislators, activists, and party organizers to convince Shaheen to run for the US Senate. Some of the announced candidates said that they would yield to Shaheen if she announced plans to run, while Shaheen's husband, Bill, said that Shaheen would make an announcement in September regarding her plans.

In 2004 and 2006 New Hampshire moved towards the Democrats at the national and local level. In 2004 it was the only one of George W. Bush's 2000 states that did not vote for him again, and in 2006 the Democrats captured the State Legislature for the first time since 1911.

On September 14, 2007, Shaheen announced that she intended to run for the Senate against Sununu.[14] On September 15, 2007, she formally launched her US Senate bid at her home in Madbury, New Hampshire. Six days later, on September 21, EMILY's List endorsed her campaign.

Shaheen defeated Sununu 52% to 45% (44,535 votes).


On January 6, 2009, Shaheen was sworn into the United States Senate.

Committee assignments

The Senator received the following committee assignments in the 111th Congress:[15]


Senator Jeanne Shaheen
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-2841 [16]

Senator Jeanne Shaheen
1589 Elm Street
Manchester, NH 03101
Phone: 603-647-7500

Stance on Iraq War

In 2002, when Shaheen narrowly lost to Sununu, both supported "regime change" for Iraq.[17]

Shaheen said that she came to supporting the policy of removing Saddam Hussein from power after meeting with former Clinton-administration National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. According to the Concord Monitor and Associated Press, the issue was a minor one in the race.

Shaheen later questioned George W. Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq. In September, 2004 she said

“George (W.) Bush has taken us in the wrong direction. He misled us into war in Iraq. That war has not made us safer and more secure at home… You know, we have not stabilized Afghanistan. We have not stabilized Iraq. There is no plan to win the peace.”

On July 28, 2004, while serving as Chair of the Kerry-Edwards Campaign, Gov. Shaheen answered questions about her prior support of the Iraq war during an interview on C-SPAN.[18]

"George (W.) Bush said that the reason we needed to go to war in Iraq, the reason we needed to remove Saddam Hussein was because he had weapons of mass destruction, weapons that could be used against this country, because he had ties to al Qaeda and the terrorists who were responsible for the Sept 11 tragedy. What we know now and what George Bush and Dick Cheney have admitted is that in fact Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction…. The links to al Qaeda that the president talked about were not there…. While I appreciate that there was an effort to make people in this county think that [there was a connection]… the fact is that’s not true."

Electoral history

U. S. Senate (Class II) elections in New Hampshire: Results 2002–2008[19]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Jeanne Shaheen 207,478 46% John E. Sununu 227,229 51% Ken Blevens Libertarian 9,835 2% Bob Smith Write-in 2,396 1% *
2008 Jeanne Shaheen 358,947 52% John E. Sununu 314,412 45% Ken Blevens Libertarian 21,381 3%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 197 votes.


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Steve Merrill
Governor of New Hampshire
January 9, 1997–January 9, 2003
Succeeded by
Craig Benson
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Sununu
United States Senator (Class 2) from New Hampshire
January 3, 2009 – present
Served alongside: Judd Gregg
Preceded by
Barack Obama
Chairwoman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs

2009 – present
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wayne King
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of New Hampshire
1996, 1998, 2000
Succeeded by
Mark Fernald
Preceded by
Dick Swett
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from New Hampshire
(Class 2)

2002, 2008
Succeeded by
Most recent
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Mike Johanns
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Mark Warner


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Jeanne Shaheen (born January 28, 1947) was a politican from New Hampshire and a member of the Democratic Party. She was the first woman to be elected governor of the U.S. state of New Hampshire.


  • I have supported the President in his efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein. I think Iraq poses a threat to the region; he poses a threat to our interests both abroad and here at home. And, I think it is important for the President to build support among our allies, to build support at the UN for what he's doing, but that face is that Saddam Hussein over last 11 years has refused to obey 16 UN resolutions. He is a megalomaniac. He's been a threat to his own people. And we can't negotiate with him in the same way that we've been able to negotiate with the heads of other opposing nations.
    • 2002 U.S. Senate Debate, October 2002 [2]
  • I supported the Bush tax cut.
    • 2002 U.S. Senate Debate, October 2002 [3]
  • I appreciate your concerns, and we have to be cautious and deliberate; however, I do agree with President Bush that Saddam has got to go. He poses too much of a threat.
  • I want to reiterate my support for President Bush's goals for regime change in Iraq.

External links

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