New Hampshire Senate

Coordinates: 43°12′28.6″N 71°32′09.6″W / 43.207944°N 71.536000°W / 43.207944; -71.536000
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New Hampshire State Senate
New Hampshire General Court
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
New session started
December 7, 2022
Jeb Bradley (R)
since December 7, 2022
President pro tempore
James Gray (R)
since December 7, 2022
Majority Leader
Sharon Carson (R)
since December 7, 2022
Minority Leader
Donna Soucy (D)
since December 2, 2020
Political groups
  •   Republican (14)


Length of term
2 years
AuthorityPart Second, New Hampshire Constitution
Salary$200/term + mileage
Last election
November 8, 2022
(24 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024
(24 seats)
RedistrictingLegislative control
Meeting place
State Senate Chamber
New Hampshire State House
Concord, New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Senate is the upper house of the New Hampshire General Court, alongside the lower New Hampshire House of Representatives. The Senate has been meeting since 1784.[1] The Senate consists of 24 members representing Senate districts based on population. There are 14 Republicans and 10 Democrats currently serving in the Senate.


Under the 1776 Constitution, two chambers of the legislature were formed: the House of Assembly and the Council, the predecessors to the modern-day House of Representatives and Senate. The Council was originally elected by the House and was composed of twelve members: five from Rockingham County; two each from Cheshire County, Hillsborough County, and Strafford County; and one from Grafton County.[2]

In 1784, the state constitution was entirely rewritten, and the upper chamber was reconstituted as the popularly elected Senate. It was originally composed of twelve members to be elected from multi-member districts drawn by the legislature,[3] but this was increased to twenty-four members in 1879. Until districts were drawn, the apportionment of the Senate was continued from the 1776 Constitution. This constitution also imposed a majority-vote requirement for State Senate elections. If no candidate won a majority of the vote, a vacancy was declared and the full General Court would pick from the top two candidates. Similarly, if a vacancy occurred while the legislature was in session, the General Court would pick the successor from the top two remaining candidates. The constitution was amended in 1889 to provide that session vacancies would be filled by special elections and in 1912 to abolish the majority-vote requirement altogether.[4]

Between 1784 and 1912, more than 200 state senate vacancies were filled by a full vote of the legislature. During some years, nearly 60% of the State Senate was selected through this method, which frequently determined which party controlled the Senate majority. An analysis of the vacancy-filling patterns shows that the General Court was overwhelmingly likely to fill vacancies based on the party affiliation of the eligible candidates. In cases in which session vacancies were filled, the General Court occasionally selected third-party or independent candidates, who received no more than a handful of votes, over opposing major-party candidates.[4]

The predictability of the vacancy-filling procedures sometimes led to conflict. In 1875, outgoing Democratic Governor James A. Weston exercised his constitutional power to issue "summonses" to the winners of legislative elections to avoid the General Court filling two vacancies. In two districts, Democratic candidates won pluralities, but not majorities; the narrow Republican majority in the State House likely meant that the Republican candidates would be elected. The Senate was tied 5–5, so the allocation of the two contested seats would determine control. Weston, along with the Executive Council, invalidated votes cast for Republican Senators in two districts on the grounds that the votes were not cast in the candidates' "Christian names." They instead issued summonses to the Democratic candidates, who were seated by the Senate. The 7–5 Democratic majority then rejected a Republican challenge to the Democrats' qualifications, and the Republican minority sought an advisory opinion from the New Hampshire Supreme Court.[4] The state supreme court concluded that "the action of the senate is final," and affirmed the seating of the Senators.[5]

In 1912, the voters approved a constitutional amendment removing the majority-vote requirement for all elections. That year, however, the gubernatorial election failed to produce a majority winner, as did four State Senate elections. After concluding that the amendment applied after the election, not to it, the General Court proceeded to fill the vacancies. An unexpected alliance between Democrats and Progressive Republicans led to Democrat Samuel D. Felker elected Governor, Henry F. Hollis elected to the U.S. Senate, four Democrats selected to fill the State Senate vacancies, and a Progressive Republican as the Speaker of the House.[6]

2022–2024 biennial session[edit]


Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Democratic Republican Vacant
End of 164th General Court 10 13 23 1
165th General Court 10 14 24 0
166th General Court 14 10 24 0
167th General Court 10 14 24 0
Start of 168th General Court 10 14 24 0
Latest voting share 42% 58%


Position[8] Name Party District
President of the Senate Jeb Bradley Republican 3
Majority Leader Sharon Carson Republican 14
President Pro Tempore James Gray Republican 6
Majority Whip Regina Birdsell Republican 19
Assistant Majority Leader Daniel Innis Republican 7
Minority Leader Donna Soucy Democratic 18
Deputy Minority Leader Cindy Rosenwald Democratic 13

Committee leadership[edit]

Committee[9] Chair Vice Chair Ranking Member
Capital Budget Daniel Innis (R) James Gray (R) Lou D'Allesandro (D)
Commerce Bill Gannon (R) Denise Ricciardi (R) Donna Soucy (D)
Education Ruth Ward (R) Carrie Gendreau (R) Suzanne Prentiss (D)
Election Law, Municipal Affairs and Redistricting James Gray (R) Keith Murphy (R) Donna Soucy (D)
Energy and Natural Resources Kevin Avard (R) Howard Pearl (R) David Watters (D)
Executive Departments and Administration Howard Pearl (R) Sharon Carson (R) Rebecca Perkins Kwoka (D)
Finance James Gray (R) Daniel Innis (R) Lou D'Allesandro (D)
Health and Human Services Regina Birdsell (R) Kevin Avard (R) Becky Whitley (D)
Judiciary Sharon Carson (R) Bill Gannon (R) Becky Whitley (D)
Rules and Enrolled Bills Kevin Avard (R) Sharon Carson (R) Cindy Rosenwald (D)
Transportation Denise Ricciardi (R) David Watters (D) N/A
Ways and Means Timothy Lang Sr. (R) Lou D'Allesandro (D) N/A

Members of the New Hampshire Senate[7][edit]

Map of former (March 2021) partisan composition of legislative districts for state senate:
  Republican senator
  Democratic senator
District Senator Party Residence First elected
1 Carrie Gendreau Rep Littleton 2022
2 Timothy Lang Sr. Rep Sanbornton 2022
3 Jeb Bradley Rep Wolfeboro 2009
4 David Watters Dem Dover 2012
5 Suzanne Prentiss Dem Lebanon 2020
6 James Gray Rep Rochester 2016
7 Daniel Innis Rep Bradford 2022 (2016-2018)
8 Ruth Ward Rep Stoddard 2016
9 Denise Ricciardi Rep Bedford 2020
10 Donovan Fenton Dem Keene 2022
11 Shannon Chandley Dem Amherst 2022 (2018–2020)
12 Kevin Avard Rep Nashua 2020 (2014–2018)
13 Cindy Rosenwald Dem Nashua 2018
14 Sharon Carson Rep Londonderry 2008
15 Becky Whitley Dem Contoocook 2020
16 Keith Murphy Rep Manchester 2022
17 Howard Pearl Rep Loudon 2022
18 Donna Soucy Dem Manchester 2012
19 Regina Birdsell Rep Hampstead 2014
20 Lou D'Allesandro Dem Manchester 1998
21 Rebecca Kwoka Dem Portsmouth 2020
22 Daryl Abbas Rep Salem 2022
23 Bill Gannon Rep Sandown 2020 (2016–2018)
24 Debra Altschiller Dem Stratham 2022

Past composition of the Senate[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Hampshire Senate". Retrieved 2018-05-06.
  2. ^ Article 3 of the Constitution of New Hampshire (1776)
  3. ^ Article 2, Section 34 of the Constitution of New Hampshire (1784)
  4. ^ a b c Yeargain, Tyler (2021). "New England State Senates: Case Studies for Revisiting the Indirect Election of Legislators". University of New Hampshire Law Review. 19 (2). Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Opinion of the Justices, 56 N.H. 570, 573 (N.H. 1875).
  6. ^ Wright, James (1987). The Progressive Yankees: Republican Reformers in New Hampshire, 1906–1916. University Press of New England. pp. 143–44. ISBN 9781584652618.
  7. ^ a b "New Hampshire Senate". Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  8. ^ "New Hampshire Senate". Retrieved 2023-02-24.
  9. ^ "Senate Standing Committees". Retrieved 2021-08-17.

External links[edit]

43°12′28.6″N 71°32′09.6″W / 43.207944°N 71.536000°W / 43.207944; -71.536000