Granite Reports: Brown formally retires from Army National Guard
By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
TUESDAY, May 13: BROWN RETIRES FROM GUARD. U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown formally retired from the U.S. Army National Guard Tuesday afternoon at a private Pentagon ceremony.
Brown was accompanied by his daughters, Ayla and Arianna, and his wife, Gail Huff.
Brown was a member of the National Guard for 35 years and retired as a Colonel.
He received the Legion of Merit and Maryland Distinguished Service Cross.
“My time in the Guard shaped who I am as a person—the camaraderie you share with your fellow soldiers is unlike any other experience you can have,” Brown said in a statement. “Joining the Army National Guard was one of the best decisions of my life, without it I would not be the man I am today.”
Brown’s campaign says he has trained in Afghanistan on contracting, fraud and waste and abuse issues. He also spent time in Paraguay and Kazakhstan.
“For the past few years, Brown has been performing his duty at the Pentagon and has served as the deputy counsel to the chief counsel for General Frank J. Grass—chief of the National Guard Bureau and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” his campaign said.
“Recently Colonel Brown and his team rewrote the sexual assault regulations for the National Guard Bureau, which were quickly approved and implemented to address this important issue straining the Armed Forces,” his campaign said.
TUESDAY, MAY 13: ACA STILL BIG ISSUE FOR GUINTA. First District U.S. House candidate Frank Guinta’s campaign cited U.S. Rep. Carol-Shea-Porter’s reaffirmation of her support for the ACA in a weekend story by Reuters.
“In my mind, this was a great joy and a triumph to be able to vote for healthcare for millions of Americans who had none,” Shea-Porter told Reuters. “I am always going to support it.”
Reuters clarified, however that Shea-Porter “understands the political perils for Democrats of Obamacare. She lost her seat in Congress in 2010 elections after her vote for the law, only to be re-elected in 2012. Her 2014 race is considered a toss-up although her Republican opponent has yet to be chosen in a September primary.”
The story continues, “Shea-Porter, who met last week with recent healthcare enrollees in Somersworth, said she is aware of the qualms some people have, including wariness of providing personal information on a government website. But she said the best way to advertise Obamacare’s benefits is to publicize the stories of people who signed up and discovered that ‘nothing terrible happened.’
Guinta’s campaign responded perhaps Shea-Porter should “dial down her supportive rhetoric” given that “37 percent of NH approves of Obamacare, 22,000 Granite Staters have been kicked off their health care plans” and “10 hospitals have been excluded from the exchange, including three in this district.”
“Yet,” said the Guinta campaign, “she continues to unabashedly praise the law. Our plans put forth throughout (Guinta’s campaign) Health Care Listening Tour would have insured more people at a fraction of the cost.”
“Congresswoman Shea-Porter offers a false choice when she intentionally mischaracterizes our argument as ObamaCare or nothing,” said Guinta spokesman Jay Ruais. “Frank Guinta has laid out several significant reforms he would work to implement were he to be elected to Congress, many of which are bipartisan.”
A spokesman for Shea-Porter did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Shea-Porter held a forum with about 35 seniors on the ACA, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at Birch Hill Terrace in Manchester.
Shea-Porter says she has opposed any proposal to cut benefits to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and has backed the “Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013,” which, she says, would “improve benefits for current and future Social Security recipients” and “extend the life of the Social Security trust fund.”
Guinta’s campaign, by the way, today released another group of supporters, bringing, it said, the total number of endorsements from activists, elected officials, party chairs and local officials to 275.
A sampling from the latest list includes former state Reps. Chris Nevins of Hampton and Russell Day of Goffstown, Danville selectmen chair Shawn O’Neil, Exeter Selectman Ann Surman, Bedford businessman Rob Wieczorek, and activists Ronnie Schlender of Manchester, Joshua Whitehouse of Farmington and Mike Zaino of Hampton.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow)
MONDAY, MAY 12: In what Manchester City Republican Chair Tammy Simmons described as a “peculiar” situation, Scott Brown appeared at – and then quickly disappeared from — the committee’s candidates forum and cake auction on Saturday afternoon.
Simmons said the Republican U.S. Senate candidate was invited to the event at the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, but declined due to a scheduling conflict.
The forum went on without him, with a tight schedule that included the other three GOP candidates for the Senate – Jim Rubens, Karen Testerman and Bob Smith — as well as two candidates for governor and candidates for other offices.
Simmons said that a one point, as another candidate was speaking, someone pointed out to her that Brown was standing in the back of the room.
She said she asked herself, “What am I going to do if he wants to speak? We had a very tight schedule.”
Simmons said she went into a hallway and conferred with another board member, who, she said, told her that “we don’t have him on the schedule and there is nothing we can do.
“But when I went back into the room, he was gone,” Simmons said. She said Brown was there for no more than five minutes.
“It was really kind of peculiar. It was odd,” but she said Brown never asked to speak and was not asked to leave the event.
“I was kind of glad that he just did leave,” Simmons said, because it saved her from being put in an awkward situation.
She said about 50 people attended the forum.
Brown spokesman Elizabeth Guyton also said there was no controversy.
After an event in Franklin, “he wrapped up a bit early and just stopped by as he went through Manchester.”
Guyton said Brown, knowing he was not on the schedule, did not ask or expect to speak.
MONDAY, MAY 12: NEW TV, WEB ADS: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s second television ad of the campaign focuses on her work for small businesses.
Featuring Adria Bagshaw of WH Bagshaw in Nashua, the 30-second ad began airing Monday on on WMUR and New Hampshire cable. In it, Bagshaw says that Shaheen has focused on helping small businesses export their products, get access to credit and hire workers who have received job-specific training.
The Shaheen campaign’s first ad, released on May 4, focused on her work to help obtain a Veterans Outreach Center in Keene.
Meanwhile, Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown posted a new web video continuing to focus on veterans issues.
Brown is retiring Tuesday as a Colonel after 35 years in the National Guard at a private ceremony.
The nearly two-minute web ad features a group of veterans saying that Brown is “one of us” and that not enough veterans serve in Congress.
MAY 12: CONGRESSIONAL NOTES: Republican 1st District U.S. House candidate Frank Guinta began what he’s calling an “economic recovery tour” Monday by visiting the Rochester Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Guinta discussed with plant officials the possibility of the Environmental Protection Agency setting a strict nitrogen limit on the bay that Guinta says would force taxpayers and businesses to pay “the hundreds of millions of dollars it would cost to meet their requirement.”
A sampling of other stops on Guinta’s tour are Welch Manufacturing Technologies, Laconia; Spaulding Composites, Rochester; Foss Manufacturing, Hampton; Gunstock Mountain Resort, Gilford, and the Hampton Beach boardwalk.
Also Monday, 2nd District Republican U.S. House candidate Marilinda Garcia picked up the endorsement of She-PAC, which supports conservative women.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
FRIDAY, MAY 9: BROWN’S WARNING. Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Scott Brown was among relatively few congressional lawmakers who sounded an early alarm about the Boko Harum group now holding young girls hostage in Nigeria.
In 2012, Brown as a U.S. Senator, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voicing concern about the group’s attacks against civilians “and growing operational connections to al-Qaeda and its affiliates,” urging her to designate it as a terrorist organization.
He also introduced a bill cosponsored by Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, and John Risch, R-Idaho, requiring Clinton to report on whether Boko Harum should be designated as a terrorist group, and if not, why.
“This designation is essential to giving our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to stop individuals from providing support to Boko Haram in the U.S. and abroad,” Brown said at the time.
No action was taken on the bill by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Later in 2012, Brown introduced similar legislation as an amendment to a major defense bill. It also went nowhere.
Last year, with Brown out of the Senate after being defeated by Elizabeth Warren, Risch and seven other Republican senators, including New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, introduced a similar bill requiring the State Department to designate the group as terrorist or explain why it should not do so.
Risch’s bill was also assigned to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which includes New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen. But no action was taken on Risch’s bill there, either, and the issue was largely forgotten until the fallout this week over the kidnappings.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
THURSDAY, MAY 8: CHANDLER FOR BROWN. House Republican Leader and former speaker Gene Chandler of Bartlett is formally endorsing Scott Brown for the U.S. Senate.
In a statement to be released later Thursday, Chandler calls Brown “a conservative leader who will fight for New Hampshire to restore the economy, pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and focus on getting the government off our backs.
“New Hampshire is proud of our individual freedoms, and it’s about time we elected someone who will represent our principles.
Chandler also said, “Our communities do not want a rubber stamp who votes with President Obama 99 percent of the time. We want an independent voice who will repeal Obamacare, lower taxes, and restore America’s greatness.”
Brown said he was honored to have Chandler’s support and said Chandler “has fought tirelessly for the North Country to make sure his constituents are well represented in the State House. I appreciate his support and dedication to restore conservative principles in New Hampshire.”
THURSDAY, MAY 8: McCARTHY TO VISIT FOR GUINTA. Former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta will have U.S. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Cal., visit the state to help him raise campaign funds later this month.
Guinta, running again for the 1st District U.S. House seat and in a primary against former UNH business school dean Dan Innis, will hold a fund-raiser reception featuring McCarthy on May 18 at the home of Jerry and Joan Gittlein in Rye Beach, with tickets ranging from $50 to $500.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7: RUBIO ENDORSES BROWN. Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio endorsed fellow Republican Scott Brown for the New Hampshire U.S. Senate seat Wednesday.
Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential hopeful who will visit the state on Friday, made the announcement on Jack Heath’s radio talk show on WGIR-AM.
Rubio said, “While we haven’t made any formal announcements, I certainly am a strong supporter of Scott Brown. I think he’d be a great senator for New Hampshire. I’m sure the other candidates are very good as well.
“He’s the one I know personally,” said Rubio. “If the voters of New Hampshire choose Scott Brown they they will certainly not be disappointed.”
Brown is in a Republican Senate primary against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, former state Sen. Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman.
Rubio will be in the state Friday appearances at the Rockingham County Republican Committee “Freedom Founders’ Dinner” at the Wentworth-by-the-Sea in New Castle and for a private NHGOP reception in Bedford.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
MONDAY, MAY 5. PIGNATELLI RETIRING; WHEELER RUNNING. Four-term Executive Councilor Debora Pignatelli, D-Nashua, announced Monday she won’t seek reelection in November and is retiring from politics after a State House career that spanned nearly 30 years.
Pignatelli cited a “short-term health issue” she said would make it difficult for her to campaign in the district, which stretches from Nashua to Weare.
Pignatelli’s political career dates back to 1986, when she was first elected to the New Hampshire House. She also served five terms in the state Senate from 1993 through 2002.
She was first elected to the Executive Council in 2004 and was reelected in 2006, 2008 and 2012.
Former Executive Councilor David Wheeler, a Republican former three-term councilor who lost to Pignatelli in 2004, 2006 and 2012 but defeated her in 2010, was unaware of Pignatelli’s announcement until informed by the NHJournal.
Wheeler said he had been planning to run again for the seat even before the Pignatelli announcement and said he has been speaking with Republican committees in several towns in the district.
“On a personal level, we wish her well,” Wheeler said. “She has put in a lot of years of service.”
But Wheeler said he is running because “there needs to be a check” on spending in Concord, which, he said, has led to two bond rating agencies recently giving negative reports about state finances.
Although lawmakers appropriate funds, “Every dime that is spent goes through the council one way or another,” Wheeler said.
Other Republicans seriously considering running are former Deputy House Majority Leader Steve Stepanek, who lost to Pignatelli in 2008; Law Warehouse owner Brian Law and Steve Hattmer, owner of Nashua Anesthesia Partners.
Pignatelli received bipartisan praise following her retirement announcement, but each political party expressed confidence their party will win the seat in November.
State Democratic Chair Raymond Buckley called Pignatelli “a strong champion for the people of New Hampshire, especially her hometown of Nashua,” and he said, “The impressive body of work Councilor Pignatelli leaves behind will serve as the foundation for the new Democratic councilor that will follow in her footsteps in November.”
State Republican Chair Jennifer Horn said, “While we didn’t agree with Councilor Pignatelli on every issue, we thank her for her years of service to the State of New Hampshire. We wish her the best of luck in the future and a speedy recovery from the short-term health issue that she is facing.
“Republicans now have an excellent chance to pick up the District 5 seat and take back the majority on the Executive Council,” said Horn.
Gov. Maggie Hassan called her fellow Democrat “a strong and thoughtful voice in Concord for her constituents.”
MONDAY, MAY 5: KENDA ANNOUNCES FOR SENATE. Republican state Sen. Nancy Stiles has competition from within her own party as she tries to win a third term.
North Hampton businessman Steve Kenda announced Monday he will oppose Stiles for the GOP nomination in District 24.
Kenda briefly considered running for governor two years ago but decided instead to back GOP nominee Ovide Lamontagne.
In his announcement Monday, Kenda said, “I respect Senator Stiles and her service in Concord, but I believe it’s time for a renewed sense of focus in this Senate seat – a real understanding that you build a better future for New Hampshire by attracting great businesses to the state and making it easy for them to create jobs.
“You’ve got to put fuel in the economic engine; good jobs, low taxes, no-nonsense regulations. It’s the New Hampshire way—I just want to bring it back.”
Kenda formerly headed KENDA Systems, a software consulting firm that, according to Kenda, grew to include “150 employees in 15 offices across nine time zones.”
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” said Kenda. “I’ve worked hard, and I’ve been rewarded. Now I want to give back, and ensure that the path to prosperity is still there for the next generation. We can get this right in New Hampshire; we just need to elect experienced leaders who can get this job done.”
Kenda said he will make his first campaign appearances on Friday, May 9, at the Seacoast Republican Women’s Annual Spring Luncheon and that evening at the Rockingham County GOP Freedom Founders Dinner.
MONDAY, MAY 5: CANDIDATES IN BELKNAP. Republicans in Belknap County and surrounding areas will have an opportunity to see several candidates next week.
Former state Sen. Jim Rubens, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is scheduled to speak to the Barnstead-Alton-Gilmanton Republican Committee on Tuesday, May 13 at J.J. Goodwin’s Restaurant in Center Barnstead.
On Wednesday, May 14, candidate for governor Andrew Hemingway and 1st District U.S. House candidate Dan Innis are scheduled to address the Belknap County Republican Committee at the Top of the Town Restaurant in Belmont.
MONDAY, MAY 5: MORE GUINTA ENDORSEMENTS. First District U.S. House candidate Frank Guinta’s latest list of endorsements includes state Reps. John Sedensky of Hampton and David Welch of Kingston, former Deputy House Majority Leader Steve Stepanek of Amherst, former Rep. Ken Hawkins of Bedford and former Rep. Steve Nadeau of Meredith.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
SATURDAY, MAY 3: GARCIA’S DECIDING VOTE: When a bill passes or fails by one vote, obviously everyone who casts a vote with the majority becomes “the deciding vote.”
Such was the case with the casino gambling vote on the House floor last Wednesday.
It failed, 173-172, with the acting speaker, Deputy Speaker Naida Kaen, breaking the tie in dramatic fashion as gasps emanated from the House floor.
But another “deciding vote” was that of state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, the GOP congressional candidate from Rockingham Park’s hometown of Salem. She voted to kill the gambling bill, as she has several times in the past. She didn’t try to duck out of a vote that is undoubtedly unpopular in her hometown.
Thursday, the day after the vote, her GOP primary opponent, Gary Lambert, sent out a statement clearly in favor of casino gambling.
Lambert cited “the people of Salem” in his statement but did not name Garcia. However, the message to Garcia’s home town, a very key town in the GOP congressional primary, was clear.
“With over 38,000 Granite Staters currently unemployed and economic loss due to Obamacare looming, New Hampshire cannot afford to turn down new jobs,” said Lambert. “That’s why I strongly disagree with the New Hampshire House of Representative’s action to vote down SB366. Expanded gaming in our state would keep us competitive with Massachusetts, where casinos are being built right now. Roughly 3,000 jobs would be created as a result of this project. The people of Salem want these jobs and our state government needs to get out of the way and let them have those jobs.”
Meanwhile, there was disappointment expressed by local officials in Salem about Garcia’s vote and votes of two other Salem lawmakers who also voted to kill the bill – her sister, Bianca Garcia, and Patrick Bick.
But congressional hopeful Garcia’s isn’t budging.
“It’s always a difficult vote in that each iteration of the bill has a lot of different technicalities and that requires a lot of review,” she told Granite Reports.
“Although I’ve been absolutely consistent, I’ve been elected four times, presumably by voters who didn’t have a problem with my position. I would not betray them.
“Some of the advocacy groups in the town and certain individuals have decided to focus on me since I’m running for Congress.
“I don’t see a big story about my vote” she said. “I’ve been pretty predictable. But things have escalated.
“I’ve been getting threatening anonymous letters,” Garcia said. And she said friends and colleagues have advised her to “take the legislative license plates off of my car and to watch out for tire slashing and things like that. It’s unfortunate that the proponents want to take it to that level.
“My general opinion (of casino gambling) is that like so many things, there is a promise of quick cash and yet so many iterations of the gaming bill are drawn up by Millennium and are in the best interests of Las Vegas.”
She acknowledged that casino gambling is popular in Salem, (81 percent supported it in a nonbinding referendum last June) but also said there are some residents who believe the town “would not make out well” and that revenue and job guarantees for the town are not binding.
Garcia also said the Massachusetts experience has reinforced her opposition.
“We have had the opportunity to observe the selection process in Massachusetts and it has been a complete chaotic disaster with lawsuits and infighting.”
She also noted an effort to repeal the Bay State law authorizing casino gambling is is underway, with the possibility of a question to recall the law legalizing casinos being on the ballot in the in November.
“I was sent to Concord to uphold my promise and to use my best judgment on this issue. I am doing the best I can and am sorry if some are disappointed. But people voted for me on the assumption that I would do what I said I would do and I’m not going to betray the people in town who don’t want a casino,” Garcia said.
Garcia said that for about a year, “I routinely get an anonymous letter mailed from Manchester with disguised handwriting. There are also nasty letters to the editor and a lot of Tweets.
But she also said, “I do always get a handful of respectful inquiries by email and phone which I always reply to.”
UNION MEMBER BROWN? Yes, Scott Brown is a union member.
We understand that when he talked about “fellow union members” at last Wednesday’s State House rally in favor of the Keystone pipeline, some Republican were surprised.
But they shouldn’t be. Brown has long been a member of the Screen Actors Guild, dating back to his days as a model.
That doesn’t mean Brown is going to get a rash of union endorsements in New Hampshire, given the strong relationship between organized labor and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (despite her opposition, to date, to the pipeline).
Brown received some union support in his 2010 special election victory over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts, but in2012 organized labor was mostly in Elizabeth Warren’s corner.
It’s not entirely clear right now it’s where Shaheen stands on the pipeline project.
In a statement last week, her spokesman told the New Hampshire media she does not want to tie a pipeline vote to her energy efficiency plan.
“She doesn’t think Congress should circumvent the regular approval process for the Keystone pipeline,” a spokesman said. “She believes it would set a bad precedent for similar projects.”
At week’s end, it appeared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was open to the idea of tying a Keystone pipeline vote to the energy efficiency bill Shaheen has been cosponsoring for many months with Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. But it was unclear if that would be the way the vote eventually goes down, or if there will be two separate votes.
Keystone supporters claimed to have 56 votes in favor, including 11 Democrats. Shaheen was not among them as of Friday and 60 votes will be needed to move the vote forward.
MINIMUM WAGE. Brown is a strong supporter of the pipeline. But the federal minimum wage?
Well, he’s taken no position, yet, several days after Senate Republican blocked it in a key procedural vote.
While Shaheen strongly supports it and two of Brown’s GOP primary opponents, Bob Smith and Jim Rubens, oppose it, Brown has been noncommital.
He said on Wednesday he has supported it in the past, but, “I’ve always said you need to have a consensus on this matter. You need to have the people at the table who are job creators.
“It’s something that needs to be periodically reviewed, but it’s important that everyone needs to be at the table. When you consider the high cost of Obamacare and the high cost of energy, these are all things that are dragging on businesses,” Brown said.
Regarding the bill that was before the U.S. Senate to raise the federal wage to $10.10, Brown said, “I haven’t read the bill and would be willing to be part of that conversation as I have been before.”
That prompted the Democrats to send state Rep. Pat Long of Manchester to Brown headquarters with a copy of the bill to present to Brown.
He wasn’t there when Long arrived, so Long handed the bill to a staffer. And the NHDP has it all on a web video it’s now featuring on its web site.
Smith said he opposed the minimum wage on the federal “or any government” level because, “Wages are to be negotiated between an employer and his/her employee. There is no constitutional role for government in this process.”
He also said a minimum wage “could cost thousands of jobs.”
His campaign then took after Brown:
“The difference on this issue as with every issue is clear. Senator Brown equivocates and then usually votes with the Democrats which he has done 62 percent of the time. Senator Smith provides clear leadership and supports conservative principles and values.”
Rubens said, “The added costs of a mandated increase in the minimum wage would be borne by businesses that typically hire lower wage workers. The effect would be to raise retail prices in industries such as hospitality and retail, incenting consumers to spend their dollars elsewhere, resulting in fewer jobs. So these businesses would instead increase mechanization and rely more on customer self-service again resulting in fewer jobs.
“Increasing the minimum wage is a highly inefficient means of reducing poverty, given that only 22 percent of minimum wage workers live in households earning at or below the poverty line,” said Rubens. “Most minimum wage workers are young, entry level workers who quickly move up the earnings scale as they acquire skills.
“A better approach to reducing poverty would be to reform social safety net spending, reducing programmatic overlap, sticky intermediary bureaucratic fingers, and increasing the extent to which aid flows to beneficiaries in the form of cash grants rather than rigidly proscribed services,” he said.
GOP: IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT OBAMACARE. Don’t expect the latest positive report from the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Cart Act to change the GOP’s laser focus on Obamacare as the big issue in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Last Thursday, the federal HHS announced that more than 8 million people had signed up for insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act as of April 30.
In New Hampshire, the numbers are impressive, with 40,262 individuals having signed up for a marketplace plan, according to HHS. That’s more than double the targeted sign-up total of 19,000.
The numbers won praise from Democrats.
“The Affordable Care Act has turned a corner in New Hampshire,” said U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. “ The rollout was rocky, and I made my frustration well known, but it’s great news that 40,262 Granite Staters and over 8 million people nationwide have signed up for private health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces.
But Republicans running for the U.S. Senate were not impressed.
“Unfortunately, what the statistics don’t measure is the grief and confusion caused by Obamacare, from cancelled policies to a lack of choice when it comes to choosing your own doctor,” said Brown spokesman Elizabeth Guyton.
“The people of New Hampshire value their individual freedoms. Obamacare takes away those freedoms,” Guyton said.
Rubens, meanwhile, said, “We don’t know how many of these enrollees paid their premiums. We don’t know how many of those enrollees will continue to pay their premiums. We don’t how many of these enrollees lost the coverage they had because of Obamacare.
“Obamacare restricts our access to doctors, hospitals, and medicines, restricts insurance plan options, sharply increases health insurance costs for many Americans, and drives up federal debt and deficit spending. Obamacare will result in a federal takeover of most of U.S. health care and is the largest expansion of big government in decades. Jeanne Shaheen either lied to us or failed to read or understand Obamacare before voting to impose it on us.”
ENDORSING THE PRIMARY. The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and By-Laws Committee on Friday set a presidential primary and caucus calendar for 2016 that, like the Republican-proposed calendar, pushes the early states back into February, as it used to be back in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The Republican National Committee does not set specific dates but the proposed Democratic calendar calls for the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1, 2016, the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 9, with Nevada’s caucuses on Feb. 20 and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 27. Under the rule, no other state would be allowed to hold a primary or caucus before March.
The Democratic rule must now go to the full DNC for approval, which is expected, in August.
If other states defy the rules of either party – and jump their primaries or caucses up to try to share the attention afforded the early states — convention delegates would be withheld.
Ultimately, in New Hampshire, the primary date will be set by Secretary of State Bill Gardner in keeping with state law mandating the primary be held at least seven days prior to any “similar election.”
In past year, Gardner has been forced by other state, such as Michigan and Florida to set primary dates in early January, which forced heavy primary campaigning during the holiday season.
That would be avoided if these proposed calendars are followed.
Both party calendars are also strong endorsements of New Hampshire continuing its first-in-the-nation primary tradition.
– – Brown picked up his first state Senate endorsement Friday in the person of Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton. Friday evening, Brown had dinner with Charlie Moore, NESN’s “The Mad Fisherman” at Moore’s home in Chester.
– – Congressional hopeful Lambert backed Friday’s action by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to set up a select committee to investigate the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. “Since that tragic day, the Obama administration has engaged in a deliberate effort to cover-up the truth,” Lambert said. “They have lied and withheld information from Congress throughout the course of the Benghazi investigation.”
(John DiStaso is news editor of the New Hampshire Journal and the most experienced political columnist/reporter in New Hampshire. Watch for updates of his Granite Reports column as news breaks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)