By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28: YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT PAYBACK. The state Republican Party is accusing Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s chief Senate counsel of promoting a Twitter post the party says contained a “grossly inappropriate” statement and was an “over-the-line attack.”
Judy Reardon on Tuesday re-tweeted and favorited a tweet that commented on Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s endorsement of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown.
The original tweet, by another person, said:
Biggest winner from Ayotte endorsement of Brown? Hassan for Senate 2016. Payback's a bitch. #nhsen
— marcia kingsley (@marcianhgirl) May 27, 2014
The reference was clearly to speculation that Gov. Maggie Hassan may challenge Ayotte in 2016, when Ayotte is up for reelection, and that Ayotte’s endorsement of Brown will hurt Ayotte’s chances in such a match-up.
Reardon, the longtime Shaheen counsel, re-tweeted it to her 584 followers and “favorited” it.
NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn reacted Wednesday with the following statement:
“It is troubling that Senator Shaheen is allowing a senior, taxpayer-funded employee in her federal office to promote such grossly inappropriate statements. This type of petty, juvenile threat has no place in political discourse and Senator Shaheen needs to condemn this over-the-line attack. Failure to do so will send a troubling message that this kind of offensive and hateful speech is not only tolerated, but endorsed by the highest levels of Senator Shaheen’s office.”
NHJournal has reached out to Reardon for a response and will add it to this report if it is received.
Reardon also tweeted in response to the criticisms leveled at Shaheen and Democrats at the Tuesday Ayotte-Brown event:
“1. Disappointed by the clear implication by speakers at GOP for Scott Brown event today that Dems don’t believe in the constitution.”
“2. That’s what I expect from fringe GOP, not from GOP statewide office holders from NH, especially ones with J.D. (law degrees).
“3. Suggestion that people who interpret some provisions of constitution different than you do don’t believe in constitution is nuts.”
And, “Does @KellyAyotte get that when one joins in event where others attack Shaheen one, too, is attacking Shaheen?”
Reardon, on her Twitter account, states, “Views are my own only.”
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
SATURDAY, MAY 24: BROWN “IN THE LION’S DEN.” Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown handled a “fairly hostile crowd” pretty well last Tuesday night at the Gun Owners of New Hampshire meeting, according to an attendee who spoke to Granite Reports anonymously.
His answers, we’re told, were ambiguous at times and at other times direct, but overall, we’re told, not entirely what the gun owners would have preferred hearing.
Still, he was commended for going into the “lion’s den” and taking the heat.
There were about 50 gun owners in the audience, four or five of whom were “vehemently opposed” to Brown, and others who also opposed him, but more politely.
The source said Brown promised never to support an ammunitions magazine ban, but “stopped short of saying he would not vote for legislation banning modern sporting rifles, the AR-15 type guns.”
Brown, according to the source, also “said he would not sponsor any anti-Second Amendment legislation.” But the source pointed out that Brown may have chosen his words carefully because “sponsoring legislation is different than supporting legislation, so there was some ambiguity.”
Brown declined to sign the organization’s pledge with “seven or eight” specific points on Second Amendment rights, but he “touted his ratings by the NRA and the Gun Owners Action League in Massachusetts.”
The source noted his ratings from those groups dropped after he supported a ban on “assault weapons” in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” our source said. “I think he’s pretty confidence he’s going to get the (Republican Senate) nomination and if he does, he may be thinking that we’re going to need him more than he needs us.
“His answers were his carefully crafted and highly noncommittal in a number of areas, but he’s a likable guy, frankly,” the source said. “He was courageous to come into that environment. I’m sure he knew what was ahead of him.
“He fielded every single question and he defended himself quite well on a lot of those issues. They may not have been the answers we wanted to hear, but he was tough enough to come into the lion’s den and he is to be commended for that, for sure.
“His answers were a little disappointing, but we have time.”
SHAHEEN VS. THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen this week took time from the intense issues facing Capitol Hill lawmakers to weigh in on an emotional, but what some might consider less pressing, issue – the Washington Redskins.
Shaheen joined 49 other Senate Democrats in a letter to National Football League President Roger Goodell to press for a change in the name of the team.
The senators cited the National Basketball Association’s swift and decisive action against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his racist rant.
“The Washington, D.C. football team is on the wrong side of history,” the senators wrote. “What message does it send to punish slurs against African-Americans while endorsing slurs against Native Americans?
“The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” the senators wrote.
Shaheen’s participation raised the question: What about her own state?
According to the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, there are nine high schools in the state with nicknames that are either clearly native American-related or could be construed to be.
Belmont High School students and parents recently voted to keep the Red Raisers nickname and Native American profile logo after some students sought a change on the grounds that they constituted a slur.
New Hampshire also has the Colebrook Academy Mohawks, Laconia Sachems, Lebanon Raiders, Merrimack Tomahawks, Sanborn Indians, Spaulding Red Raiders, Wilton-Lyndeborough Warriors and Winnacunnet Warriors.
Does Shaheen want those changed as well?
By the way, the Redskins responded by inviting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to a game. No word yet on whether he’s going or on whether he would bring Shaheen along if he does.
MEDDLING? Fund-raising emails from either side of a hotly contested race often go to extremes with rhetoric about the candidate’s opponent. But the one that came down Friday from Shaheen campaign had Republicans rolling their eyes.
In an email with the subject line, “Meddling,” Shaheen pointed out that while outside interests have already weighed in heavily on Brown’s behalf in the campaign, Brown also recently told hedge fund executives during a paid speech at a Las Vegas conference, “You have a role to play” in the mid-term elections.
She also noted that Brown, as we reported last week, recently formed a Joint Fundraising Committee with three other GOP Senate candidates to expand their fundraising reach.
“The stakes for Jeanne just got even higher,” the Shaheen campaign fund-raising email stated. “We’ve set a goal of $60,000 by midnight tonight to help her keep fighting back. We don’t have max-out billionaires. We have you – please, chip in $5 or more now.”
Republicans were quick to point out what one called “utter hypocrisy” even under the broad license of a fund-raising email.
First, this week it was reported that Shaheen will be a beneficiary of billionaire and hedge fund executive Tom Steyer’s plan to spend $100 million effort nationally to make climate change a prime campaign issues. He is a billionaire and his investment could be viewed objectively as a “max out.”
Steyer is targeting seven Senate and governors’ races – including the New Hampshire Senate race – for big spending by his NextGen Climate Action SuperPAC on advertising and on-the-ground operations. Brown will be targeted primarily for his support of the Keystone pipeline, and Shaheen, who cosponsored the energy efficiency legislation that fell by the wayside as a result of a stalemate over Keystone, will be the beneficiary.
Shaheen’s email also didn’t mention she has her own Joint Fundraising Committee. In fact, she has two.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that – by either candidate.
DELAYING THE FIGURES? Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire cited a report in the Washington-based publication The Hill to accuse Gov. Maggie Hassan of having the state Insurance Department withhold the public release of 2015 Affordable Care Act premium rates until after the November election. Republican candidate for Governor Walter Havenstein joined in the criticism.
The Hill found the New Hampshire rates won’t be out until Jan. 1, 2015. The department, however, disputed the report, saying the figures will be out “on or before Nov. 15,” when open enrollment begins. Election Day is Nov. 4.
“When every other state in New England can get this done before Labor Day and the only other state that has a monopoly in its ObamaCare exchange can release this by September, there’s no excuse for not getting this information out sooner so that New Hampshire citizens have time to plan for their premiums, unless the Hassan administration already knows that there will be a huge rate spike and they need political cover,” said AFP-NH director Greg Moore.
_ Hillsborough County Republican Committee Chairman Ray Chadwick Friday announced a “30 Guns for 30 Heroes Raffle.” Each gun will be raffled “in honor of a Republican who has advanced the rights of women, minorities or veterans, protected the freedom and rights of citizens and taxpayers, or promoted the security and prosperity of the United States,” the committee said. The proceeds of the raffle will be used to support Republican candidates from Hillsborough County running for the New Hampshire Legislature and county offices.
The Committee will raffle off 30 guns in 30 separate drawings. Each $30 ticket is good for up to 30 drawings, or until it is picked.
_ Former state Rep. Jennifer Daler of Temple this week became the first Democrat to announce a candidacy for the District 5 Executive Council seat being vacated by the retiring Councilor Debora Pignatelli.
_ Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will return to the first-in-the-nation primary state on June 13 to address the Manchester City Democratic Committee’s Flag Day fund-raiser at the Puritan Backroom restaurant. O’Malley, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, was last in the state in December to keynote the state Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson fund-raiser.
_ Republican District 8 state Senate candidate J.P. Marzullo has pledged to oppose any income or sales tax. Marzullo pointed out that he signed the pledge as Gov. Maggie Hassan was signing legislation to increase the gax tax.
_ Brown has upset local business owners in Merrimack with his refusal to participate in the Merrimack Business Association’s GOP Senate candidates’ forum on June 18. His campaign cited a scheduling conflict. GOP Senate candidates Jim Rubens, Bob Smith and Karen Testerman will attend. MBA spokesman David McCray said he was informed by a reporter of Brown’s decision not to attend and did not hear from the Brown campaign.
“We went to Stoneham on the day of the Massachusetts election when he ran against Elizabeth Warren and held Scott Brown signs, standing out in the cold for eight hours,” McCray told the Sentinel and Enterprise of Massachusetts. “He knew that. And yet he didn’t even have the common courtesy to respond to our invitation to a debate in 16 days. That bothered me.”
_ It has become a can’t-miss event GOP of the late spring: The Belknap County Republican Committee’s 9th Annual Lincoln Day Cruise aboard the M/S Mount Washington will be held on Friday, May 30, departing from The Weirs in Laconia at 5:30 p.m. Candidates for governor, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House will be speaking, along with a yet-to-be-announced keynote speaker. Tickets are $50 with sponsorships ranging up to $2,500.
_ Attorney and former state Board of Education Chairman John Lyons has endorsed Republican Phil Nazarro’s longshot bid for the District 21 state Senate seat in the heavily Democratic district now represented by Sen. Martha Fuller Clark .
_ The Veterans Administration scandal is becoming a partisan issue in the federal races in New Hampshire. All GOP candidates for the Senate and House have called on Veterans Administration Secretary Shinseki to resign, and the Democrats, despite mounting pressure, have not. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican not up for reelection until 2016, has also called for his resignation.
_ First District U.S. House candidate Frank Guinta said it was particularly poignant that Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has not called for Shinseki’s resignation given that she is a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
_ Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens was featured in the liberal Huffington Post on Friday as the only Republican U.S. Senate candidate in country who touts his believe that humans are causing global warming.
_ Brown’s second television ad of the campaign began airing this week, focusing on Brown’s roots in Portsmouth and the Seacoast and hitting Shaheen on her support for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
_ Halligan’s Tavern is hosting two kickoff events for Derry area state Senate candidates. On Tuesday, Jim Foley will have his event there, followed by former Sen. and current Rep. Frank Sapareto on Wednesday. Backing Foley are outgoing Sen. Jim Rausch, former Sen. Bob Letourneau as well as Rep. Phyllis Katsakiores and long-time community and party leader Chris Wolfe.
(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 email@example.com and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)