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Republican presidential contender Tim Pawlenty today named several local operatives to his New Hampshire steering committee, expanding what was already an active ground game in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
But one of the eight steering committee members, former Nashua, N.H., Alderman Dave MacLaughlin, is a convicted felon in Massachusetts. In July 2009, MacLaughlin pleaded guilty to his third drunken driving arrest, which is a felony, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.
District attorney spokesman Steve O’Connell confirmed today that MacLaughlin was sentenced to two years, with six months to serve at the Lawrence Correctional Alternative Center, a low-security locked facility locally dubbed “the farm.”
MacLaughlin served the full six months. O’Connell confirmed that MacLaughlin is on probation until July 15. His driver’s license was also suspended for eight years.
When contacted by Roll Call, the Pawlenty campaign said the governor stands behind MacLaughlin’s appointment.
“Dave MacLaughlin is a volunteer supporter of Governor Pawlenty and well-respected member of the Nashua community,” said Rich Killion, New Hampshire senior adviser for the Pawlenty for President Exploratory Committee. “Dave made terrible mistakes and has to live with those mistakes. The Governor supports Dave’s commitment to redemption.”
The Manchester Union Leader first reported the steering committee appointments, which include a variety of Republican activists from across the state. MacLaughlin was described as a former Nashua alderman who served as chairman of Sen. John McCain’s 2008 Nashua campaign and the current chairman of the Nashua Conservation Commission.
MacLaughlin’s third arrest was big news in the summer of 2009.
He continued to serve as an elected official after his arrest and subsequent incarceration, according to the Nashua Telegraph. He missed several Board of Aldermen meetings, but his colleagues were unaware of the criminal conviction until notified by reporters in mid-August that year.