TUESDAY, MARCH 24: LATEST VISITS TO NH. Three likely GOP contenders have planned visits to New Hampshire for early and mid-March.
The Strafford County Republican Committee will host South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham when he returns to the state on April 8 for an event at Turbocam in Barrington at 5:30 p.m.
Also on April 8, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will hold a rally at the Milford Town Hall at 12 noon, with doors opening at 11:15 a.m. Paul is returning to New Hampshire the day after he is expected to formally announce his candidacy for President in Louisville, Ky.
On April 15, the Strafford County Republicans will host former New York Gov. George Pataki for an “Ax the Tax” event at 6 p.m. at the Pink Cadillac Diner on Route 11 in Rochester.
TUESDAY, MARCH 24: NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn posted on Facebook today that Republicans must hold the line on spending. Her comments came after state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, a fiscal conservative was removed from the House Finance Committee after opposing the leadership‘s budget.
Speaker Shawn Jasper said in a statement: “The budget process is a multi-step process that is in the early stages at this point in time. When someone is part of a leadership team they sometimes have to make sacrifices to move the process along for the good of the team. Rep. Sanborn spoke at length with me before a decision was made to replace her on the Finance committee. Rep. David Hess will assume her position on House Finance. His many years of experience on Ways & Means will make him a valuable asset to the committee. I have also asked Rep. Ken Weyler, who is also a veteran of the House Finance committee, to take over the position of Vice Chairman of Finance, Division II.”
Horn, while not mentioning Jasper or Sanborn, and who endorsed the original vote of the House Republican caucus to nominate Rep. Bill O’Brien as speaker, wrote:
“After a decade of failed Democratic leadership in the corner office, the people of New Hampshire and our elected leaders are now faced with some very difficult budget choices. Republicans recognize that government is too big, too intrusive and too expensive and the people can not continue to bear the financial burden of Gov. Hassan’s out of control spending.
“Just as families across New Hampshire sit down each month and prioritize their spending, so must our state government. We can not continually raise taxes and fees, burdening the hard working families across the state.”
Horn wrote, “I applaud those Representatives who are standing up for the people of New Hampshire and keeping their campaign promises to advocate for fiscally responsible policy on their behalf. Gov. Hassan has asked for an outrageous and unsustainable level of new spending. It is incumbent upon Republicans to hold the line against her devastating policies. I am confident that once the budget has gone through the complete process in both the House and the Senate, Republicans will once again offer their neighbors across the state a fiscally sound and responsible budget.:
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
Granite Reports: Poll suggests Republicans coming around on climate change
SATURDAY, MARCH 21: AYOTTE AND CLIMATE CHANGE. It had been the third rail for Republican politicians among their own – believing that climate change is real and that human activity is largely responsible for it.
But Sen. Kelly Ayotte has walked that tightrope, and, according to a poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters, she remains popular, either because of it, or despite it.
Ayotte in January was among only five Senate Republicans who voted for a Democratic amendment stating that “climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” The amendment failed.
But according to the poll of 3,000 Granite Staters who said they were likely to vote in next year’s Republican presidential primary, 53 percent supported Ayotte’s vote, 34 percent disapproved and 13 percent had no opinion.
The poll was taken by a GOP pollster, Target Point Consulting.
It also showed by Ayotte had an overall favorable rating of 68 percent among Republicans.
Separately, 57 percent of those polled backed having the federal government taking steps to reduce carbon emissions.
The results showed, Target Point said, “that “savvy Republican politicians can successfully navigate the politics of climate change.”
Yet voters were split on how they generically feel about candidates who believed that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributed to it. Thirty-nine percent said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who agrees with that statement, while 32 percent said they would be less likely and 29 percent said it would make no difference or they did not know.
And at the same time, 49 percent of those polled said they agreed with the statement: “Global climate change is caused mostly by natural patterns in the earth’s environment,” while 37 percent said the statement, “Global climate change is caused mostly by human activity such as burning fossil fuels” comes closest to their view about global warming. Six percent said they believe “Global climate change goes not exist.”
The likely GOP voters were also voters were also asked, whether, regardless of their views on the causes of climate change, they believe that the United State should put more emphasis, less emphasis or about the same emphasis as it does now on diversifying energy sources to include renewable resources such as wind, solar and hydropower.
Fifty-three percent said more emphasis, 16 percent said less emphasis and 27 percent said about the same emphasis.
Also, GOP voters were also asked if Congress should place a high or “somewhat high” priority on energy policy, “specifically exploration and development of traditional and renewable energy sources.”
Thirty percent said a very high priority, while 50 percent said a “somewhat high priority,” and 22 percent called the current energy debate is an economic issue, while 15 percent said it is a national security issue.
The bottom line, Target Point said, is that Republican primary voters in New Hampshire “are both concerned about the future of American energy policy as well as open to considering action to counteract global climate change. Despite the common narrative that Republicans are monolithic in their views regarding action on the issue, our data clearly shows that large swaths of the Republican primary electorate are open to policy solutions to address global climate change.”
IF MAGGIE RUNS FOR SENATE, CAROL WON’T. Former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter this week cleared up any question about whether she would take on Gov. Maggie Hassan in a Democratic U.S. Senate primary next year. She won’t.
But she also made it clear she is leaning heavily toward running again for something – including the Senate if Hassan does not run or the 1st District U.S. House seat she held for three terms.
“If Governor Maggie Hassan runs for the United States Senate, I plan to support her. She will defeat Kelly Ayotte and give our state two Democratic Senators,” Shea-Porter wrote in an email sent to supporters.
“I am so grateful to all of you who have been also asking me to run again for the United States House of Representatives. Even though the District is just 26 percent Democratic compared to 34 percent Republican (and 40 percent Independent), it was a close race (2014) for Democrats. The Governor won the District, and the rest of us came close to winning it. I received 48.2 percent of the vote in a very tough cycle, which means we can win the seat in 2016 when more voters turn out.”
Shea-Porter wrote, “My team and I are hard at work looking at everything, and I will send you an email when a decision is made.”
The email is also paid for by “Carol Shea-Porter for Congress,” and seeks contributions.
And she also gives a hint that she has had the much tougher job winning office when compared to, say, Rep. Ann Kuster.
Although she doesn’t mention Kuster, Shea-Porter writes, “You are the reason I went to Washington as the first woman ever to hold federal office from New Hampshire, you are the reason I won three terms in the House even though the Republicans have an eight-point advantage in our District (NH’s other District is on the Democratic side of the state).”
(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 email@example.com and on Twitter: @jdistaso.