John Lynch (New Hampshire)

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John Lynch
John Lynch (cropped).jpg
80th Governor of New Hampshire
In office
January 6, 2005 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Craig Benson
Succeeded by Maggie Hassan
Personal details
Born (1952-11-25) November 25, 1952 (age 65)
Waltham, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Susan Lynch
Children 3
Residence Hopkinton, New Hampshire
Alma mater University of New Hampshire (BA)
Harvard University (MBA)
Georgetown University (JD)

John H. Lynch (born November 25, 1952) is an American businessman and politician who served as the 80th Governor of New Hampshire from 2005 to 2013.[1] Lynch was first elected governor in 2004, defeating first-term incumbent Governor Craig Benson – the first time an incumbent New Hampshire governor was defeated for re-election in 78 years.[2] Lynch won re-election in landslide victories in 2006 and 2008, and comfortably won a fourth term in 2010.[3]

Lynch is the most popular governor in New Hampshire history and, while in office, consistently ranked among the nation's most popular governors.[4][5][6][7][8]

Since 2013, Lynch has served as a Senior Lecturer in the MBA program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.[9]

Early life, education and career[edit]

Lynch was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, the fifth of William and Margaret Lynch's six children. Lynch earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1974, a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.

During his business career, Lynch served as Director of Admissions at Harvard Business School and President of The Lynch Group, a business consulting firm in Manchester, New Hampshire. Lynch served as CEO of Knoll Inc., a national furniture manufacturer, where he transformed the company previously losing $50 million a year, to making a profits of nearly $240 million yearly. Under his leadership, Knoll created new jobs, gave factory workers annual bonuses, established a scholarship program for the children of employees, created retirement plans for employees who didn't have any, and gave workers stock in the company.[1] Before announcing his run for governor, Lynch was serving as chairman of the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees.

Governor of New Hampshire[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

In June 2004, Lynch launched his campaign for Governor of New Hampshire.[10]

Lynch spent the five months preceding the election relentlessly attacking Governor Craig Benson, the first-term Republican incumbent, for what Lynch claimed was a lack of integrity following a long series of scandals during Benson's tenure.[11] Lynch accused Benson of creating a "culture of corruption" and cronyism at the State House.[12][13]

On September 15, Lynch won the Democratic primary[14] and on November 2, Lynch defeated Benson 51% to 49%.[15][16]

Lynch was the first challenger to defeat a first-term incumbent in New Hampshire since 1926.[12] On January 6, 2005, Lynch was inaugurated as the 80th Governor of New Hampshire.[1] On November 7, 2006, Lynch was re-elected governor in a 74% to 26% landslide victory over Republican challenger Jim Coburn.[15] Lynch's 74% of the vote was the largest margin of victory ever in a New Hampshire gubernatorial race.[17]

Lynch's coatails carried his party to control of both chambers of the State Legislature and both of New Hampshire's two U.S. House seats.[18][19]

On November 4, 2008, he was elected to a third term in another landslide victory.[15] Lynch defeated Republican challenger Joseph Kenney, a New Hampshire state senator and U.S. Marine, 70% to 28%, with 2% of the vote won by the Libertarian candidate.[20][21] Democrats maintained control of the state legislature and held both U.S. House seats, and gained a U.S. Senate seat.[18]

On November 2, 2010, Lynch was elected to a historic fourth term as Governor of New Hampshire, in a victory over former State Health and Human Service's Commissioner John Stephen, 53% to 45%.[15][22][23][24] Lynch was the only Democrat elected to statewide office. As had happened in many states throughout the U.S. during the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats suffered heavy losses.[25] Democrats lost control of both chambers of the State Legislature, control of the Executive Council and both of the U.S. House seats.[26]

According to the Concord Monitor, when Lynch was inaugurated on January 6, 2011, he became "the state's longest-serving governor in nearly two centuries. John Taylor Gilman was the last governor to serve longer than six years, serving 14 one-year terms as governor between 1794 and 1816. (The state switched to two-year terms in 1877)"[27] New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont are the only two States in the U.S. that use two-year terms.[15][28]

On September 15, 2011, Lynch announced he would not seek a historic fifth term as governor.[29][30][31]

During the announcement Lynch said "I feel like I have the passion and the energy to keep doing this work for a long, long time, but democracy demands periodic change. To refresh and revive itself, democracy needs new leaders and new ideas."[32][33]

On January 3, 2013, Lynch was succeeded by fellow Democrat Maggie Hassan, marking the first time a Democrat succeeded a Democrat as the state's governor since the 19th century.[34]

New Hampshire gubernatorial election (General Election)
Year Winning candidate Party Pct Opponent Party Pct Opponent Party Pct
2004 John Lynch Democratic 51.02% Craig Benson (inc.) Republican 48.87%
2006 John Lynch (inc.) Democratic 73.5% Jim Coburn Republican 26.5%
2008 John Lynch (inc.) Democratic 69.8% Joseph Kenney Republican 27.9% Susan Newell Libertarian 2.2%
2010 John Lynch (inc.) Democratic 52.6% John Stephen Republican 45.1% John Babiarz Libertarian 2.2%



As a candidate for governor, Lynch took "The Pledge" not to enact any broad-based taxes, especially a Sales or Income tax. As governor, Lynch kept his promise.[35] Lynch does not support an amendment to the State Constitution banning an income tax.[36]

In 2007, Lynch signed into law the Research and Development Tax credit which, for the following five years, appropriated $1,000,000 for companies to write off qualifying "manufacturing research and development" expenditures.[37] In 2012, during his final State of the State address, Lynch proposed doubling the tax credit citing its success in creating jobs, and slammed lawmakers for slashing funding to the states Community College system to fund a 10 cent reduction in the Tobacco tax.[38]

In June 2010, Lynch signed a Budget balancing measure that repealed the state's LLC tax.[39]


Lynch worked with the state Attorney General, police chiefs, and lawmakers to pass sex offender laws; increase the state police force; and increase the number of state prosecutors. New Hampshire was rated the "Safest State" in the Nation in 2008 and 2009. New Hampshire again boasts the nation's lowest murder rate and the second-lowest rates for aggravated assault, according to CQ Press. Lynch issued the following statement after the announcement of the award in 2009:

I am proud that working together we continue to keep New Hampshire the 'Safest State' in the nation. Our low crime rate has long been a part of what makes this such a great place to live and work, and it is important that we work to maintain our high quality of life. With this recognition, we should take time to thank the hard-working men and women of New Hampshire law enforcement who work every day to help keep us all safe.[40]

Death penalty[edit]

Lynch upheld the death penalty while in office, stating "there are crimes so heinous that the death penalty is warranted."[41] The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed legislation in March 2009 to abolish the death penalty, which Lynch threatened to veto. Due to the veto threat, the Senate tabled the legislation in April of that year.[42] In June, Lynch compromised with legislators and signed legislation to form the New Hampshire Commission to Study the Death Penalty.[43][44][45]

Lynch campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008

In December 2010, the Commission recommended, by a 12 to 10 vote, to retain the death penalty. However, the panel unanimously recommended against expanding it.[46][47] In 2011, Lynch signed legislation to expand the death penalty to include home invasions.[48]

Natural disaster response[edit]

In April 2006, Lynch was awarded the "National Chairman of Volunteers" Award for Volunteer Excellence by the American Red Cross, due to his leadership during the 2005 floods.[49]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

On June 3, 2009, Lynch signed a same-sex marriage bill into law, despite being personally opposed to gay marriages, making New Hampshire the fifth state in the United States to allow such unions.[50]

Historic popularity[edit]

Throughout his eight year tenure, Lynch enjoyed very high approval ratings, often being ranked among the most popular of U.S. governors.[51] According to the WMUR/Granite State Poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire, just three months after taking office in January 2005, Lynch's approval rating surpassed 50% and stayed upwards of 55% throughout his tenure.[52] Likewise, between February 2006 and February 2009 his approval rating was above 70%.[53] In April 2012, Lynch's approval rating was again above 70% making him the second most popular governor in the United States, behind New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.[4][54] Lynch enjoyed bipartisan support[55] and is the most popular governor in the state's history.[56]

Presidential endorsements[edit]

During the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Lynch was one of eight superdelegates from New Hampshire. Lynch remained neutral during the New Hampshire primary because as governor he needed to "focus on being a good host to the primary", according to a statement by spokesman Colin Manning. At an event on June 27, 2008 in Unity, New Hampshire, Lynch formally endorsed Barack Obama for president.[57]

Lynch endorsed President Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential Election.[58][59]

Lynch endorsed former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 Presidential Election.[60]

Personal life[edit]

John Lynch and his wife Susan Lynch

Lynch and his wife, Dr. Susan Lynch, a pediatrician and childhood obesity activist, reside in an 11,000-square-foot (1,000 m2) home atop Gould Hill in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. The multi-million dollar home offers a tennis court, cabana, and swimming pool among other amenities, and views extending to Mount Washington.[61] The Lynches have three children.


  1. ^ a b c "About Governor Lynch". State of New Hampshire. 2011. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Schweitzer, Sarah (November 4, 2004). "Defeated after 1 term, N.H. governor fades out". The Boston Globe.
  3. ^ Love, Norma (November 3, 2010). "Lynch wins historic 4th consecutive term as NH gov". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ a b Blake, Aaron (April 12, 2012). "The nation's 10 most popular governors — and why". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ Kaplan, Thomas (May 10, 2011). "Cuomo Among Most Popular Governors, Polls Show". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "John Lynch soon leaving post as popular governor". WMUR. December 10, 2012. Archived from the original on May 27, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  7. ^ Landrigan, Kevin (December 16, 2012). "Lynch's Legacy: Appealing personality made Lynch popular as governor". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved December 8, 2014. (Registration required (help)).
  8. ^ DiStaso, John (September 17, 2011). "Pundits concur that Lynch tops popularity list among governors". The New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  9. ^ Dartmouth, Tuck School of Business at. "Tuck School of Business - John H. Lynch". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ Manning, Colin. "Lynch kept Benson off-balance with attacks on Integrity". Foster's Daily Democrat. Archived from the original on December 12, 2004.
  11. ^ Schweitzer, Sarah (October 26, 2004). "N.H.'s race for governor spotlights scandals". The Boston Globe.
  12. ^ a b "Lynch beats Benson in N.H. gubernatorial race". USA Today. Manchester, New Hampshire. Associated Press. November 3, 2004.
  13. ^ Love, Norma (November 11, 2004). "Lynch's Ethics Push Wins Over New Hampshire". Stateline. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Archived from the original on April 12, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  14. ^ Johnson, Kirk (October 22, 2004). "THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: GOVERNORS; In Other Frays, 6 Closely Fought Contests for Governor". The New York Times.
  15. ^ a b c d e Strauss, Valerie (July 25, 2012). "John Lynch (D)". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013.
  16. ^ " Election 2004". CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  17. ^ Fahey, Tom (November 8, 2006). "Landslide for Lynch one for history books". The New Hampshire Union Leader. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  18. ^ a b "2008 Results : States : New Hampshire". The New York Times. December 9, 2008. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "Elections 2006". CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  20. ^ "Local and National Election Results – Election Center 2008". CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  21. ^ "Democrat Lynch wins 3rd 2-year term as NH governor". USA Today. Manchester, NH. Associated Press. November 4, 2008.
  22. ^ "New Hampshire election results 2010: Ayotte beats Hodes, Lynch secures governorship from Stephen". The Washington Post. November 1, 2010.
  23. ^ "Governor Lynch Inaugurated to Historic Fourth Term". State of New Hampshire. January 6, 2011. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  24. ^ Love, Norma (November 3, 2010). "Lynch wins historic 4th consecutive term as NH gov". The Boston Globe. Associated Press.
  25. ^ Jacobs, Jeremy P. (November 4, 2010). "Devastation: GOP Picks Up 680 State Leg. Seats". The National Journal. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  26. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (2010). "New Hampshire Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  27. ^ Leubsdorf, Ben (November 3, 2010). "Governor wins two more years: Fourth-term win makes history". The Concord Monitor. Archived from the original on January 6, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  28. ^ DeLaney, Ann. "Understanding Elected Offices". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  29. ^ Landrigan, Kevin (September 16, 2011). "Lynch will not seek fifth term as New Hampshire governor". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  30. ^ Cresta, Joey (September 15, 2011). "Gov. Lynch won't seek 5th term". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  31. ^ "Gov. Lynch bows out of running for a historic fifth term". The New Hampshire Union Leader. September 15, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  32. ^ Langley, Karen (September 16, 2011). "Lynch will not seek a fifth term : Longest-serving governor in modern times looks to 'the next generation of leadership'". The Concord Monitor. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  33. ^ Rayno, Garry. "Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Filling key positions on Hassan's to-do list". The New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  34. ^ "Hassan declared winner in governor's race". WMUR. November 7, 2012. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  35. ^ "John Lynch on Tax Reform". OnTheIssues. April 25, 2013. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  36. ^ Cresta, Joey (July 20, 2012). "Gov. Lynch advocates for 'middle ground'". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  37. ^ "Research & Development Credit : Frequently Asked Questions". NH Department of Revenue Administration. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  38. ^ Rayno, Garry (January 31, 2012). "Gov. Lynch laments 'harshness in the air' in final State-of-the-State". The New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  39. ^ CPAsteve (June 10, 2010). "New Hampshire Governor repeals controversial LLC Tax". The Appletree Core Newsletter. Appletree Business Services, LLC. Archived from the original on July 4, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  40. ^ "New Hampshire Named Safest State in the Nation For Second Year in a Row". State of New Hampshire. March 24, 2009. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  41. ^ Mears, Bill (March 26, 2009). "New Hampshire House votes to abolish death penalty". CNN. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  42. ^ "Project Vote Smart – The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  43. ^ McCord, Michael (June 12, 2009). "Lynch expected to sign bill to study N.H.'s death penalty". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  44. ^ "New Hampshire Likely Next to Create Death Penalty Study Commission". The StandDown Texas Project. June 12, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  45. ^ "New Hampshire Commission Studies Cost of the Death Penalty". Death Penalty Information Center. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  46. ^ Feals, Jennifer (December 1, 2010). "Death penalty panel votes to retain N.H. law". Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  47. ^ Hanna, Maddie (November 30, 2010). "Panel favors state's death penalty : Commission votes 12-10 to keep law". The Concord Monitor. Retrieved December 8, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  48. ^ Love, Norma (June 29, 2011). "N.H. expands death penalty after brutal attack on family". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  49. ^ "American Red Cross Honors John Lynch". American Red Cross. April 5, 2006. Archived from the original on February 24, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2006.
  50. ^ Cole, Jim (June 3, 2009). "N.H. governor signs gay marriage bill". MSNBC. Associated Press. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  51. ^ "The Survey Center" (PDF). College of Liberal Arts. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 15, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  52. ^ "The Survey Center" (PDF). College of Liberal Arts. Retrieved December 8, 2014.[dead link]
  53. ^ "The Survey Center" (PDF). College of Liberal Arts. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 15, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  54. ^ Jensen, Tom (May 16, 2012). "Close race for Governor of NH". Public Policy Polling. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  55. ^ DiStaso, John (April 24, 2012). "New poll shows race to succeed Lynch as governor wide open". The New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  56. ^ "This year's race for governor a bit like a box of chocoaltes". New Hampshire Magazine. April 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. [sic]
  57. ^ Lawson, Brian (June 27, 2008). "Lynch formally endorses Obama". Archived from the original on January 12, 2009. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  58. ^ "Biden hits Romney's 47 percent remark in NH". WMUR. Hanover, NH. September 21, 2012. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  59. ^ "Obama Campaign Rally Portsmouth New Hampshire". September 7, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  60. ^ "Tim Kaine tells N.H. voters they have a clear choice". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  61. ^ Gill, Maryalice (December 19, 2012). "Hopkinton neighbors say Lynch blends in around town, but his Gould Hill estate sticks out". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved December 8, 2014. (Registration required (help)).


Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Fernald
Democratic nominee for Governor of New Hampshire
2004, 2006, 2008, 2010
Succeeded by
Maggie Hassan
Political offices
Preceded by
Craig Benson
Governor of New Hampshire
Succeeded by
Maggie Hassan