Leonard to seek Democratic nomination for N.H. Senate Dist. 6

NEW DURHAM — Rich Leonard, a pharmacist and farmer, announced yesterday that he will again seek the Democratic nomination for the New Hampshire Senate in District 6, consisting of Rochester and the towns of Alton, Barnstead, Farmington Gilmanton and New Durham.

In his first foray into electoral politics in 2012, Leonard lost the seat to Republican Sam Cataldo of Farmington by 637 votes, 12,764 to 12,127. Leonard carried five wards in Rochester, losing the sixth by 32 votes, but was beaten in all of the five towns, including a drubbing by 793 votes in Alton that decided the outcome of the election.

In a prepared statement, Leonard said, "It's time families and businesses in the Senate District 6 had a State Senator who shares their values and will work hard to represent them in a civil and bi-partisan manner," a thinly veiled references to Cataldo's affinity for the Tea Party.

Describing himself as a lifelong Democrat, Leonard presents himself as a strong supporter of public education from kindergarten to the university, including the community colleges working partnership with businesses to develop a skilled workforce. He also backs the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid to the uninsured in New Hampshire.

The pharmacy manager at Hannaford's store in Alton, Leonard also owns Miller Farm with its orchard of 380 apple and peach trees and sugar shack. He is a member of the Public Health Advisory Council-Executive Committee and University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service in Strafford County. Raised in Hanover, Mass., he lived in Rochester for 26 years before moving to New Durham in 2004.

Duane Kimball, who chairs the Strafford County Democratic Committee and manages Leonard's campaign, said yesterday that despite starting late in his first campaign, Leonard ran well in 2012 and with more preparation and an early start fares to be a stronger candidate in 2014.