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August 16. 2013 1:58PM

Morse seeks Senate presidency, weighs support among GOP caucus

CONCORD – Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Morse, R-Salem, will seek the Senate presidency to replace Peter Bragdon, who announced he will resign to end any appearance of impropriety in becoming the Local Government Center's new executive director.

"I believe in Peter strongly," Morse said Friday, adding "You cannot question the man's integrity. He did the right thing."

But he said Bragdon's resignation is an opportunity to lead the Senate. "I've done that with the budget and proven that," he said.

Morse said he has talked to most of the Republican caucus members and most are supportive and said he would talk to the rest by the end of the weekend.

"This weekend is about Peter and preserving the integrity of the Senate," Morse said.

Republicans hold a 13-11 majority in the Senate. If Republicans back one candidate there is little room for Democrats to maneuver.

Bragdon said he hopes to have a Senate session soon after Labor Day to choose a new Senate president. He declined to endorse anyone for the post.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said he is backing Morse for the top spot, noting he put together a budget that was supported by all 24 senators.

grayno@unionleader.com



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