Veteran New Hampshire political reporter John DiStaso dies at age 68

Journalists and elected officials alike are mourning the death Thursday of John DiStaso, longtime New Hampshire reporter and “dean” of the political press corps in the state, as local ABC affiliate WMUR – for which the late writer most recently worked – regrettably reports.

According to the outlet, DiStaso was just 68 years old and had been suffering from a prolonged, undisclosed illness.

The Associated Press noted that DiStaso covered 11 New Hampshire presidential primaries, renowned for their first-in-the-nation status, a beat that afforded him the opportunity to interview numerous high-profile politicians and to offer in-depth analysis on campaigns.

Prior to spending seven years at WMUR, DiStaso served as senior political reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader, a tenure during which he developed a reputation for breaking major news stories on hot political issues and campaigns of the day in his widely-read column.

In the wake of DiStaso’s passing, the editorial board of the Union Leader praised the outlet’s former columnist by calling him “diligent, fair, and accurate,” noting that despite having spent decades covering elections and candidates, “to this day we don’t know if his own political leanings were left, right, center,” an achievement that is increasingly rare in an era of outrageously biased reporting disguised as straight news.

“He kept his opinions to himself, which is not to say that he didn’t hold politicians of all stripes to account. He was not nasty or mean-spirited in doing so, but he wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions and he wasn’t bowled over by the trappings of power,” the paper added.

Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) lauded DiStaso’s dedication, saying, “He was ferociously devoted to his work and we were all better for it. …He had Granite Staters’ trust, as he worked diligently to bring the most coveted and important news into their living rooms.”

Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu also paid tribute to the late journalist, taking to social media to declare, “No one will ever replace John DiStaso, the top political reporter who always got the scoop.”

DiStaso leaves behind his wife, Diane, and two sons, Dante and Nicholas, but he will clearly never be forgotten by the legions of New Hampshire voters whose decisions at the ballot box were far more informed than they would have been, thanks to his unwavering commitment to his craft.