Updated Granite Reports: Walker packs NH schedule with private meetings, one public appearance

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, UPDATE: WALKER SCHEDULE IN NH. While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s public schedule calls for only one stop this weekend – on Saturday in Concord – he will actually arrive in the state tomorrow and begin a series of private meetings with what his political action committee describes as “a wide ranging group” of Republicans.


Walker, in his first visit New Hampshire visit since the fall of 2012, will have no fewer than eight private meetings, a spokesman announced Wednesday.


His first meeting will be with former Gov. John H. Sununu, who has not endorsed a prospective candidate and has said he may not do so. Walker will then meet with former U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown.


Also on tap for Friday is a meeting with “liberty Republicans,” followed by a meeting with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.


On Saturday, Walker is scheduled to meet privately with state Republican Party county chairs , state Senate President Chuck Morse and “local GOP activists” before giving remarks at the NHGOP’s “2016 Kickoff Grassroots Training” session at Concord High School at 9:30 a.m.


Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, has nine public stops scheduled when he returns to New Hampshire tomorrow for two days (see item below).


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)





TUESDAY, MARCH 10 UPDATE;  NINE STOPS IN TWO DAYS.  When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry returns to first-primary state New Hampshire for the second time in two months on Thursday and Friday, he will pack nine events into two days, including three traditional town halls.


Perry will begin with an appearance at the traditional Politics and Eggs breakfast on Thursday at 8 a.m. at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. At 11:45 a.m., he is scheduled to lead a business roundtable at he law offices of Cleveland, Waters and Bass in Concord.


He will then head to Weed Automotive in Concord for a retail stop at 1:45 p.m.


Perry will then head north, and at 6:45 p.m. he will told a town hall meeting at the Town and country Motor Inn and Resort in Gorham.


On Friday, he will begin the day at 7:45 a.m. with a town hall meeting at the Lancaster VFW, followed by a visit to Fuller’s Sugarhouse in Lancaster at 9:40 a.m.


At 11:45 a.m., he is scheduled to be in Littleton for a town hall meeting at the Littleton VFW and at 4:45 he will attend a meet and greet hosted by Sen. Jeanie Forrester at Church Landing at Mill Falls in Meredith.


He will then wrap up his visit with a 6:45 p.m. visit to Belmont Firearms and range in Belmont.


Perry will be back in April for an appearance at the NHGOP’s “First-in-the-Nation Republican Leadership Summit” on April 17 and 18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua.


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)


SATURDAY, MARCH 7: HERE THEY COME. Even though no one has formally announced for President, yet, the next two weeks will see the “pre-campaign campaign” ramp up to a hectic pace.


A flurry of activity will give no fewer than 11 potential or likely candidates a chance to begin to get their messages out, meet activists, voters and compete for media attention.


Over the 15-day period that began yesterday, March 6, here is the lineup, chronologically, through March 20: Martin O’Malley, Carl Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Jim Gilmore, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, George Pataki, Donald Trump and Rand Paul.


And four days later, on March 24, Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be in the state to speak to a Politics and Eggs breakfast, according to NHIOP director Neil Levesque.


Here’s the breakdown:


Friday, March 6: O’Malley began the fun last night with a scheduled appearance at Gibson’s Bookstore and True Brew Barista in Concord, speaking to the Concord City Democrats.


Saturday, March 7: O’Malley today is the featured speaker at an NHDP fundraiser hosted by Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, prior to the party’s state committee meeting . O’Malley had initially been expected to speak at the state committee meeting but was able to do so due to other commitments.


Fiorina begins the day with a breakfast for the Cheshire County Republican Committee at the Keene Country Club and then will appear at the New Hampshire Young Republicans “Gipper Awards” event at the Grappone Center in Concord this afternoon.


Sunday, March 8: Graham will make his first stop in New Hampshire since announcing an exploratory committee with a stop at the Concord Republican Committee’s new Politics and Pies series at the Snowshoe Club.


Monday, March 9: Graham will appear at Politics and Eggs at the Bedford Village Inn.


Thursday, March 12: Perry will return to New Hampshire for the second consecutive month for two days of campaigning. He will appear at a Politics and Eggs breakfast at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, followed by private meetings, and then a business roundtable discussion at the Concord law firm of Cleveland, Waters and Bass. He will then make a stop at Weed Automotive in Concord before heading north for a town hall meeting at the Town and Country Hotel in Gorham.


Also Gilmore will be back in the state for stops at a roundtable discussion with UNH students in Durham and at the McConnell Center Cafeteria in Dover. The event is a free Politics and Potluck dinner, followed by remarks and a question-and-answer session.


Friday, March 13: Bush comes to New Hampshire for the first time in 15 years; stops so far announced are a fundraiser reception for U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta at the Manchester Country Club in the evening followed by a “meet-and-greet” at the home of former NHGOP chairman Fergus Cullen and his wife, Jenny, in Dover.


Perry will wrap up his visit with a noontime town hall meeting at the Littleton VFW, a meet-and-greet in Meredith organized by state Sen. Jeanie Forrester, and another meet-and-greet, this one at Belmont Firearms and Range, also hosted by Forrester. (Forrester, in case you are wondering, has not endorsed Perry, but we’re told she likes him and is hosting the events “as a service to her constituents.”)


Gilmore will wrap up his two-day visit by addressing the Rockingham County Republican Committee at a breakfast meeting at Lamie’s Old Salt in Hampton.


Saturday, March 14: Walker will make his visit to the state since announcing since actively beginning consideration of a candidacy. He will conduct private meeting, but his only known public stop – at the moment – is an appearance at a NHGOP “2016 Kickoff Grassroots Training Session” at Concord High School (the location has been moved from the New Hampshire Technical Institute).


Bush is also scheduled to be in the state that day, but no events have yet been disclosed.


Sunday, March 15: Cruz will make his first appearance in New Hampshire of the 2016 cycle with two stops. First, he will appear at a free “Chili and Chat” event with the Strafford County Republican Committee at Turbocam in Barrington. He will then head north to be the featured speaker at the Grafton County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln.


Monday, March 16: Cruz will be back in southern New Hampshire for an appearance at a Politics and Eggs breakfast at the NHIOP.


Tuesday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day will see Pataki return to the state and appear at the annual Wild Irish Breakfast in Nashua. Also back in the state will be Graham, to appear at the same event.


Wednesday, March 18: Pataki will wrap us his two-day visit with media interview, but other events have not yet been announced.


Thursday March 19: Trump comes to New Hampshire for the first time since announcing his serious interest in running for President and hiring staff. He will conduct a series of private meetings and also appear at the first in a planned series of presidential candidate event sponsored by Rep. Bill O’Brien and his House Republican supporters. The meeting is scheduled to take place in the evening at the Amherst home of Rep. Steve Stepanek. Another public event may be announced shortly.


Friday, March 20: Paul will return to the state on the first day of spring to speak at an evening meeting of the Carroll County Republican Committee at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway.


And Tuesday, March 24: Kasich.


What a couple of weeks and it’s only the beginning!


FIFTH TERM. As we first reported in mid-January, no Democrats filed to challenge the current slate of NHDP officers, meaning that unless there are nominations from the floor and stunning upsets today – both highly unlikely — all will be returned to their posts at today’s state committee meeting.


NHDP Chair Raymond Buckley will be elected to a fifth term, while also unopposed for reelection are First Vice Chair Sen. Martha Fuller Clark; Second Vice Chair Dorothy Solomon; Secretary Sen. Bette Lasky; Treasurer Brian Rapp; and Legal Counsel Dan McKenna.


Buckley recently was elected to an unprecedented fourth term as president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, an arm of the Democratic National Committee that provides resources to state parties.


ANOTHER TRADITION. The Belknap County Republican Committee is already getting ready for its annual Lincoln Day Cruise of Lake Winnipesaukee aboard the M/S Mount Washington, scheduled for May 29 at 6 p.m., departing, as is customary, from the Weirs Beach Port.


Signed on so far for the “First-in-the-Nation” version of the cruise are former Ambassador John Bolton, former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehlrich and Pataki.

SiriusXM Patriot Radio Talk Show Host and Fox News Contributor David Webb will emcee.


GRAHAM AT SUMMIT. Meanwhile, Granite Reports has learned that Graham is the latest potential candidate to confirm an appearance at the NHGOP’s “First-in-the-Nation Republican Leadership Summit” on April 17-18 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nashua.


SNOWFLAKE RECEPTION. Having won reelection just a few short months ago, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is going to work to rebuild her campaign warchest. Her annual “Snowflake Reception” is March 27 at the Puritan Backroom restaurant. Individual tickets are $50 with sponsorships going for the $2,700 maximum.


ORGANIZERS WANTED. The nonpartisan “No Labels” political group is already recruiting organizers for the summer. Emails have gone out to young activists of both parties asking, “Would you like to spend this summer in New Hampshire as a No Labels Organizing Fellow?”


Promising that housing will be provided, the group says volunteers will engage in “phone calls to voters, research, hand-writing postcards/mailings, attending presidential candidate events.”


“We believe that any college student or young professional interested in politics will benefit enormously from spending the summer of 2015 doing meaningful, groundbreaking work in the key presidential primary state of New Hampshire,” the group says. Replies are requested by Sunday, March 15.


STRONG WORDS. Bloomberg Politics had an interesting story this week about opposition research group on both side of the aisle, but focusing on the pro-Democratic American Bridge.


While the story focused on the groups work against Scott Walker, group president Brad Woodhouse made it clear that although New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has fallen off recently in the polls, American Bridge intends to continue to target him.


“We’re not going to pull resources from Christie, we want to kill him dead,” Woodhouse said.


Pretty intense language, even if Woodhouse did mean it – as we’re sure he did – from a political perspective.


The Christie camp saw the comment and had this to say, from a Christie spokesperson:


“We’ve always known the Hillary opposition research team has been laser focused on Governor Christie for the last few years, but ‘killing Christie dead’ is ridiculous rhetoric. By the way, he is still standing.”


AT THE FEC. While the state Democratic Party’s 2010 complaint to the Federal Election Commission about the source of $355,000 in loans Rep. Frank Guinta made to his campaign that year remain unresolved, Republicans are pointing out that former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is among a very long list of congressional campaigns cited in a complaint against a private firm that provides voter lists and other services to campaigns at below-market rates.


As a result, the complaint states, Catalist LLC, is allegedly acting as a political organization.


Also on the list of no fewer than 382 campaign and political committees is Ann Kuster for Congress.


The complaint by the conservative self-described “watchdog” group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust alleges in part that Catalist LLC, headed by long-time Clinton supporter Harold Ickes, is a for-profit business that is “providing candidates and federal party committees….data and list-related products at below-market rates, constituting excessive, source-prohibited and in-kind contributions.”


To read the full complaint, click here.


This is not the first time that a partisan watchdog group accused the other side of this sort of activity. Last fall, the Democratic group American Democracy Legal Fund, filed a complaint against the Republican National Committee, charging an illegal coordination scheme involving the GOP firm Data Trust.


ANNUAL “LIBERTY FORUM” UNDERWAY. The pro-libertarian and pro-Free State Project New Hampshire Liberty Forum – called “Moved by Liberty” — has been underway in Manchester since Thursday, and wraps up tomorrow.


The annual event is the centerpiece of the Free State Project’s long ago announced effort to bring 20,000 like-minded libertarian-conservatives to the state to assume control of state government and begin “slashing” state and local budgets to reduce the tax burden.


There are dozens of speakers signed up for dozens of forums and work sessions, including Josiah Bartlett Center president Charlie Arlinghaus, former candidate for governor Andrew Hemingway, longtime activist Jared Chicoine and Jason Sorens, who wrote the initial essay that started the Free State Project.


The group now says it has nearly 16,500 people pledged to move to the state, but only about 1,700 have so far reportedly moved here.


The liberal activist group Granite State Progress on Friday warned that the billionaire conservative Koch brothers are partially funding the effort “to move 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to take over, dismantle state government.”


GSP says at least four Koch brothers-funded entities, including Americans for Prosperity Foundation – New Hampshire and the Josiah Bartlett Center, “are allocating money or staff time” to the forum.


GSP’s Zandra Rice Hawkins says the Kochs are “subverting democracy.”



(John DiStaso is news editor of the New Hampshire Journal and the most experienced political reporter/columnist in New Hampshire. He has been reporting on Granite State politics since 1980. Watch for updates of his Granite Reports column and of course separate stories on NHJournal.com as news breaks. He can be reached at distasoj@gmail.com and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)



Author: John DiStaso

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