MONDAY, AUG. 18: FACEBOOKING BACK AT YA. We reported on Saturday (see item below) that candidate for governor Walt Havenstein’s media team pointed out that despite primary foe Andrew Hemingway’s social media prowess, the Havenstein campaign Facebook page actually has more “likes” and its Twitter page more followers.
The reaction today from Hemingway campaign manager Alicia Preston:
“He’s hitting us for him having more Facebook friends? Is Walt running for 8th grade student council? He has spent thousands of dollars to get Facebook followers, even I liked his page to follow his rainbows and skittles economic policy proposals. With all of Andrew’s policy releases, on taxes, jobs, privacy, health care, gambling and more, if all they have is they can buy more Facebook followers, we feel pretty confident.”
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
SATURDAY, AUG. 16: “LIBERAL MARILINDA?” Gary Lambert, down by 10 to as many as nearly 30 percentage points in 2nd Congressional District private GOP primary polling, is striking again at Marilinda Garcia on the immigration issue.
It’s still a very fluid race, with a majority of those who will vote on Sept. 9 undecided between the two as well as third candidate Jim Lawrence. There is time for Lambert to make a move, certainly, but time is growing short.
So, without a huge campaign account and without the backing of outside groups, as Garcia has, Lambert is at once trying to introduce himself and define (aka “go negative” on) Garcia.
A television ad and a mailer earlier this week focused on her former membership in the National Council of Hispanic State Legislators and its 2013 resolution, which she cosponsored, calling for comprehensive immigration reform. Garcia says she is not pro-amnesty and not “liberal” on immigration, as Lambert charges.
Lambert will double down and next week, we’ve learned, go after her for her former membership on the board of a centrist group called Americans By Choice.
We broke the news in January 2013 of the formation of this group, founded by former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen. It supports comprehensive immigration reform – though not “amnesty,” although that’s all a matter of spin and semantics. At that time, Garcia was announced as being on the board. She has since departed to pursue her candidacy.
Among the group’s founding principles are (from its web site):
_ Legal status and citizenship can be treated as separate issues. Most immigrants are primarily interested in opportunity, work, and holding legal status. Obtaining citizenship is secondary.
_ America needs a realistic and pragmatic approach to the millions of undocumented people living in the country that is consistent with our national heritage and that respects the dignity of individuals.
_ The need to secure the Mexican border is a legitimate concern but cannot be an excuse for lack of action on other immigration issues.
_ Undocumented individuals who commit other crimes should be dealt with in accordance with the law, including being subject to deportation.
Cullen told us back in January 2013 that the group would support a “pragmatic and realistic approach to the undocumented population that is already here.”
ABC, as it’s known, applauded the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill supported by Sen. John McCain last year. Significantly, Sen. Kelly Ayotte backed the bill, a move Cullen called the “right thing to do” and former state GOP chair and Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey called “courageous” at the time.
Garcia had been one of five board members, which, the Lambert campaign points out, also included and still includes prominent immigration attorney George Bruno, a former state Democratic Party chairman and former Ambassador to Belize during the Clinton administration.
The way the Lambert campaign sees it, Garcia has now been “revealed” as “a leading member of a centrist immigration group which has actively supported the Senate amnesty plan put forward by the Gang of Eight.”
Lambert campaign manager Josh Davidson said, “Actions speak louder than words and Marilinda Garcia’s actions scream her support for amnesty. Facts are facts and the fact is that once again Rep. Garcia has gone out of her way to work with Democrats who support amnesty and don’t consider securing the border a priority.
“With the current crisis we face on the border, Granite Staters can’t afford to be represented by someone who will go along with the Senate and Obama amnesty plans. Voters in the 2nd District care about this issue and they deserve the truth from Rep. Garcia. She needs to come clean and be honest with folks about her long record of support for amnesty.”
Garcia campaign spokesman Kenny Cunningham responded by telling us that Garcia is no longer on the board of Americans By Choice and by pointing to a sections of her web site in which she responds to Lambert criticisms of her on the immigration issue.
On the web page, called “Setting the Record Straight,“ Garcia writes:
“Gary Lambert is lying when he claims that I support amnesty for those who entered our country illegally. When attempting to explain his claim, he points to the fact that I am a former member of a group that has advocated for immigration reform. That claim is baseless, just like his others. Not only does the group oppose amnesty, but it’s worth noting that I operate independently of this group and have always opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants.
The Garcia campaign also pointed out that Lambert’s earlier claim in a mailer that she wanted to raise corporate taxes by $150 billion and cost 500,000 jobs was rated as “Pants on Fire” by the independent Polifact.
SOCIAL MEDIA GURU. Andrew Hemingway is the social media guy in the Republican governor’s primary race, right?
Hemingway is the one having the Bitcoin Bomb. He is the one who, as we wrote about back in 2011, helped organize the first-ever Twitter presidential debate among GOP candidates.
But according to Walt Havenstein’s campaign, it is actually doing better on social media.
According to the Havenstein Social Media Team, between July 30 and Aug. 12, “Walt for NH” had 6,007 total Facebook “likes” to 1,868 for “Hemingway for Governor.” And as of Friday, “Walt for NH” had 484 followers, while “Hemingway for Governor” had 383. Also, “Walt for NH” had 77 retweets as compared to 52 for “Hemingway for Governor.”
What’s it mean?
According to the Havenstein camp, it shows, “Hemingway isn’t the only person in New Hampshire who knows how to use social media. But what this shows is that he just doesn’t have the same level of reach as Walt. If he’s relying on social media to get out his vote, it’s a misguided strategy.”
Hemingway, however, received a lot of attention in conservative circles via a story on the conservative Brietbart.com web site.
“CALIFORNIA CAROL.” That’s the name Republicans dubbed Rep. Carol Shea-Porter with yesterday as she headed to Napa Valley for reception hosted by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
According to Politico, Pelosi brought “top donors and other powerful political figures to wine country for a two-day legislative and issues conference at the swanky Villagio Inn and Spa. High profile draws include Google’s Eric Schmidt, mega donor and environmental activist Tom Steyer and California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Politico listed Shea-Porter among a list of “vulnerable Democratic lawmakers” who would “mix and mingle with some of her biggest supporters. Getting picked to attend is considered an opportunity to schmooze with potential mega donors.”
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ian Prior said Shea-Porter’s devout loyalty to Nancy Pelosi is paying major dividends. But as Shea-Porter wines and dines with Pelosi and her liberal California friends this weekend, Granite Staters are paying the price for the devastating policies Pelosi and Shea-Porter have forced onto them.”
Jay Ruais, a spokesman for Republican candidate and former Rep. Frank Guinta, piled on, “311,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, as the squeeze on middle-class Granite Staters tightens. The border remains porous while conflicts in the Middle East, Russia and the Ukraine threaten to escalate even further.
“Instead of holding town halls with her constituents, the Congresswoman is hobnobbing with big money, liberal, special interest groups in wine country. Could the Congresswoman please tell us why she has chosen California over her constituents?”
Shea-Porter spokesman Marjorie Connolly shot back, “Carol does not accept a dime of corporate PAC or D.C. lobbyist money, unlike Frank Guinta, who relies on corporate and D.C. lobbyist money as well as the NRCC’s desperate attempts to fool New Hampshire voters with fake fundraising websites and dirty tricks.”
Shea-Porter backers also noted that Guinta has had many “out-of-state trips” in his time, such as dining with Texas Gov. Rick Perry earlier this year, being the beneficiary of a Washington fundraiser last November hosted by former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy last November, and attending a Koch brothers-hosted party on his first day in Congress back in 2011.
FAKE WEB SITES. The NRCC has unabashedly set up what a spokesman describes openly as “attack” web sites going after Shea-Porter, Rep. Ann Kuster and a host of other Democratic House members it views as vulnerable. They look like straightforward news sites, but – well – they’re not.
NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman acknowledged, “These are real attack sites we’re doing to hold Annie Kuster accountable. She is the one blatantly deceiving voters.”
And as for the Shea-Porter site, the NRCC said, “Unfortunately for New Hampshire voters, Carol Shea-Porter and other Nancy Pelosi-backed Democrats offer nothing but generic drivel on their websites and on the campaign trail. These sites provide facts that are publicly reported and deliver information that is absolutely relevant to voters looking to make an informed decision in November.”
A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not respond to our request for comment but has been quoted as calling the sites “deception” and vehicles to “peddle misinformation.”
THIS CANDIDATE CLIMBED MOUNT WASHINGTON. Who can begrudge a guy who can climb to the summit of the highest peak in the Northeast?
That’s what Scott Brown did the other day, accompanied by an entourage of supporters, including state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley.
The Brown campaign cut a video of Brown and company reaching the summit, in which he says, “It was one of the bucket list things I’ve always wanted to do.”
When state Democratic chairman Ray Buckley saw the video he couldn’t help himself, apparently.
He tweeted, “It’s common for Mass tourists to take videos of their visits to the White Mtns, @SenScottBrown. We appreciate the $ spent here.”
A supporter of Brown GOP primary opponent Jim Rubens emailed, “If you do happen to write an article about Scott Brown finally discovering Mt. Washington, be sure to mention that Jim Rubens has climbed Mt. Washington just about every year since 1972. Jim did not have a camera crew with him.”
_ Sen. John McCain will return to New Hampshire on Monday to co-host a town hall meeting with Brown at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry. See our Friday interview here.
_ Texas Gov. Rick Perry will return to the Granite State later next week. On Friday, the governor was indicted by a Travis County (Texas) grand jury on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest. Grand jurors charged Perry with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official.
_ Guinta this week rolled out another list of endorsements, this one headed by state Rep. David Hess and former House staffer Terry Pfaff, both of Hooksett.
_ Republican former District 4 Executive Councilor Earl Rinker this week endorsed candidate Jim Adams for the seat, which is now held by Democrat Chris Pappas.
_ The Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire this week “recommended” Dan Innis over Guinta for the GOP nomination for the 1st District House seat. It’s fully expected that the PFFNH will endorse Shea-Porter for reelection in the fall.
(John DiStaso is news editor of the New Hampshire Journal and the most experienced political columnist/reporter in New Hampshire. He has been reporting on Granite State politics since 1982. Watch for updates of his Granite Reports column and of course separate stories on NHJournal.com as news breaks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)