Granite Reports Update: Conservative group ‘Citizens for a Strong NH’ launches microsite asking, ‘Why Are They Hiding?’

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17: MICROSITE CHIDES FOUR TOP DEMOCRATS. The conservative issues group Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire today launched a microsite focusing on a lack of open town halls by Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster.


In unveiling, the group cited “the failed votes and policy positions” of the four Democrats as the reason they are, in its words, “hiding form Granite Staters with their refusal to hold public Town Hall meetings.”


The microsite is “being backed with a significant, statewide, online advertisement buy, which will be used to educate countless New Hampshire residents about the lack of honesty and transparency they are receiving from their elected officials,” Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire said.


Group spokesman Derek Dufresne said in a statement:


“New Hampshire once had a long standing tradition of open and honest elected officials who were concerned with the views of their constituents. However, that seems to be fading from memory as Governor Maggie Hassan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster continue to hide from those they represent.


“Considering their support for a failing Obamacare, a collapsing foreign policy, and a crisis at our border, we certainly understand why they are hiding from Granite Staters, but that’s no excuse. Granite Staters want to know why Hassan, Shaheen, Shea-Porter, and Kuster are going out of their way to avoid them. Since their constituents can’t get answers from their elected officials, our new microsite helps explain why they are hiding from them.”


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)


TUESDAY, Sept. 16: HE’LL BE BACK. Bill Clinton first came to New Hampshire 23 years ago and he’s never really stopped coming back.



The “Comeback Kid,” as he was dubbed after his famous second-place showing in the 1992 presidential primary, will return to the state on Oct. 16 as the featured speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner at The Radisson hotel in downtown Manchester.



He’ll raise big money for the NHDP and rally the Democratic base as it gears up to try to return Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to the Senate, Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster to the House, Gov. Maggie Hassan to the State House corner office.


Clinton, now 68, will also undoubtedly be laying the groundwork for the anticipated run for President by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won the 2008 New Hampshire primary and is already the heavy favorite to repeat that victory in 2016.


(Wednesday, Sept. 17 Update:)


Attorney Terry Shumaker, a senior adviser to the Ready for Hillary political action committee and a former Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago under Bill Clinton, said, “Thinking back to his prior visits here since he left the White House, including the one before the general election of 2012, I’ve never seen a surrogate who is more effective in articulating the case for candidates. And I think he’ll do that during this visit for the entire Democratic ticket.


“And the bond between Bill Clinton and New Hampshire is hard to describe,” Shumaker said. “It’s very real. During Hillary’s 2008 campaign, we had signs that said ‘New Hampshire is Clinton Country’ and I believe is still is.


“He goes back to 1991 or 1992 in this state,” Shumaker said. “I’m not sure who is more excited about this visit, the candidates or his old friends or Bill Clinton himself.”



TUESDAY, SEPT. 16: GIFFORDS PAC WEIGHS IN. The political action committee headed by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly is getting heavily involved in the two U.S. House races in New Hampshire with big television ad buys.


Americans for Responsible Solutions said today it will begin airing two new 30-second ads focusing on the opposition of Republicans Frank Guinta and Marilinda Garcia to “to closing loopholes that allow domestic abusers, stalkers and the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns.”


The ads will run on WMUR and Boston broadcast and cable, backed by six figures each for each district and will air for at least two weeks.


Here is the ad focusing on Guinta.

And here is the ad focusing on Garcia.


The PAC also announced a new poll showing 85 percent of Granite Staters support background checks for all gun sales and 83 percent support preventing the sale of guns to convicted domestic abusers and stalkers.


The poll also showed Democratic Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster with slim leads over Guinta and Garcia.

Click here for the polling memo by Normington Petts.


“Granite State voters deserve to know if the people running to represent them share their commitment to passing responsible laws that help make our communities safer from gun violence,” Hayley Zachary, ARS executive director, said in a statement. “When it comes to policies that reduce gun violence, Frank Guinta and Marilinda Garcia are out of step with Granite Staters and in lockstep with the corporate gun lobby.”






(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)



SATURDAY, SEPT. 13: BIG PAPPAS FUNDRAISER. Maryland U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes will be the featured guest at a $25-$1,000 fund-raiser for Democratic District 4 Executive Councilor Chris Pappas later this month.


Sarbanes, a four-term congressman, will join an influential host committee that will include former Republican Executive Councilor Louis Georgopoulos.


The event will take place on Sept. 24 at the Athens Restaurant in Manchester.


Also on the host committee are Dick Anagnost, Chris and Maria Spirou, Rep. Efstanthia Booras, Rep. Thomas Katsiantonis, Rep. Ted Rokas, Stavroula Bakolas, Nikki and Kosta Moulsioulis, and Ari and Effie Kalampalikis.
Pappas faces Republican Robert Burns in his reelection bid.


(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)




SATURDAY, SEPT. 13: RUBENS ENDORSES BROWN. Former U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens formally endorsed his former primary foe Scott Brown Friday night. Brown won the nomination in the Tuesday primary.


Rubens said in a statement:


“Primary contests are grueling and often necessary to debate the future path of the Republican Party. But in the end it is vital that Republicans unite behind our nominee. It is essential that we replace Jeanne Shaheen and restore control of the U.S. Senate to Republicans. Scott Brown and I had a productive and cordial meeting (Thursday) and together determined the ways I could help. This morning, I attended the Unity Breakfast and was accompanied by Senator Gordon Humphrey who was one of the first to endorse Senator Brown after the results of the primary were known. I appreciate all the support I have received before and after Primary Day. I am truly humbled.”


(The full Sept. 12 Granite Reports follows.
FRIDAY, Sept. 12: THE WAR OF WORDS GEARS UP. Who knows what November will bring, but the state Republican Party launched its general election campaign on Friday a big dose of enthusiasm.


Undaunted, Democrats geared up their TV and digital messaging, attacking the GOP as extreme, unqualified for high office and unconcerned about the Granite Staters they would represent.


Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the featured speaker at the NHGOP’s “Unity Breakfast,” urged the party, in New Hampshire and nationally, “We’ve got to be bigger, bolder, better.”


After losing the last two presidential elections, “Some say, ‘We need to dilute our message. Let’s be Democratic-light, let’s be more like them and we can win again.


“I couldn’t disagree more,” said Paul. “We can win on our principles,” but at the same time, he said, the party must reach out to “new audiences.”


He told a crowd estimated by the party at 375 at the Executive Court in Manchester, “We have to go to new places. We need new young faces,” singling out 31-year-old congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia.


“We need Scott (Brown’s) story of the difficulty and the emotion of having to grow up in difficult circumstances,” he said.


Paul said he started out working for minimum wage, mowing lawns, and, “My kid delivers pizza.


“I’m not that privileged,” he said.


“As a doctor I worked hard to get there,” he said. “We need to bring home that belief in opportunity….that work is not a punishment.


“I love getting up Monday morning to go to work,” Paul said. “You can’t be given self-esteem. You earn self-esteem, through work.”



Taking aim at the Democrats, Paul said President Barack Obama’s greatest fault is not the Affordable Care Act or his foreign policy strategy, but his “usurpation of power, his disregard for the Constitution.


“When he says, ‘I have no choice but to act,’” Paul said, “does that not scare the you-know-what out of you? It sounds like we’re talking about some Third World (nation) where there are no laws.


“It isn’t just Obamacare, it’s the fact that he thinks he can re-write and re-write and re-write the law in the executive branch without asking Congress.”


The Affordable Care Act, Paul said, “is not about health care policy and a lot of wonky stuff, it’s about freedom versus coercion.”


“We need to send this guy back to Chicago, we need to send Jeanne Shaheen home. We need to change things.”


The four top members of the GOP ticket, along with Sen. Kelly Ayotte and party chair Jennifer Horn, took turns directing strong criticism at the Democratic ticket.


Horn promised to defeat to defeat Shaheen and U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster – and even Gov. Maggie Hassan — “come hell or high water.”
Candidate for governor Walt Havenstein warned that Hassan is “spending the state toward an income tax.”


“Economically, we’re falling behind Vermont and Rhode Island,” Havenstein said. “I don’t’ know about you but for me that’s an embarrassment.”


“Our live-free-or-die way of life depends on our ability to keep the twin evils of an income and sales tax at bay,” said Havenstein. “If those levers ever get pulled, we’ll have opened Pandora’s Box to bigger and bigger government.”


Senate candidate Scott Brown called primary foes Bob Smith and Jim Rubens “two good men, two patriots who care very deeply about our country.”


“We’re going to see a lot of negativity and distortion because the Democrats can’t run on their record,” said Brown. Shaheen, he said, “can’t explain what she’s done for the past five years.”


Voting with Obama “99 percent of the time is inexcusable. We need true independent leadership in New Hampshire.


Recalling Vice President Joe Biden’s words last week, Brown said, “The gates of hell…they’re here. We’ve seen what those gates of hell look like.”


Frank Guinta, praising primary foe Dan Innis, said, “Primaries are good for our state, good for our party,” while Democrats, he said, “anoint” their nominees.


He called Shea-Porter “inaccessible and indifferent” on local issues, such as the concerns of fishermen and the status of the Great Bay.


Guinta said, “Primaries are good for our state, good for our party,” while Democrats, he said, “anoint” their nominees.


He called Shea-Porter “inaccessible and indifferent” on local issues, such as the concerns of fishermen and the status of the Great Bay.


Garcia thanked primary foes Gary Lambert and Jim Lawrence for endorsing her and said she wants to “repeal and replace” Kuster. She said of the Affordable Care Act, “When something is foisted on the American people, that has to change.”


Ayotte, recalling the hard-fought primary she won in 2010, introduced her top foe from that year – Ovide Lamontagne – and recalled that he immediately threw his support behind her.


“it’s been pretty lonely in the delegation over the past couple of years,” Ayotte said. “I hope you wll send me some teammates in November.”


Ayotte warned that in 2012 the Democrats “beat us on the ground,” and the party must do a better job this year. “There is too much at stake in this election for anyone to sit it out.


Smith, as we first reported on Thursday, appeared at the event and issued a statement backing Brown, saying, “It is time to move forward to the general election and focus on defeating” Shaheen.


“This (primary) race was a classic confrontation between the ‘establishment’ of the Republican Party and the conservative activists. We lost that fight. They got their vote out. We did not. Now what do we do about it? We can go home with our heads down or stay in the game and fight for our values.”


But Smith warned that “eight years of Obama could easily become eight more years of Hillary…Republicans must win the Senate back and get rid of Harry Reid as the Leader or Obama nominations (and may be even Clinton) will fly through and negatively impact our constitutional freedoms for decades.


“We can fight our internal battles in the next elections but now we must act. Shaheen must be defeated. Country above politics,” Smith wrote.


He said he spoke with Brown on Thursday and offered his support and he requested that “no write-in effort be conducted in my name.”


THE DEMOCRATS STRIKE BACK. The Democrats wasted no time counter-attacking as the GOP talked about unity.


Gov. Maggie Hassan’s campaign released a new ad, for the first time attacking Havenstein as a “failed CEO,” a line that so far had been used only by the state Democratic Party.


“As a CEO, Havenstein made nearly $20 million dollars implementing a failed management strategy,” the ad narrator says. “After driving his company into the ditch Walt stepped down as CEO… with a golden parachute….And now he wants to manage our state?


View the ad below.

Shaheen launched a tough new web video showing Brown telling a crowd in Massachusetts in 2010, “I’m’ nobody’s senator except yours,” and then saying in Concord after winning his primary on Tuesday, “I’m nobody’s senator but yours.”



View the video below.


“Anyone who watches this video will know that Scott Brown was wrong for Massachusetts, he’s wrong for New Hampshire, and he’s only in this campaign for himself,” said Shaheen spokesman Harrell Kirstein.


The Democratic Party hit Garcia for refusing to say on New Hampshire Public Radio how her health care is covered. She called it her own issue and said her opposition to the Affordable Care Act is based on the concerns of her constituents. Her campaign later told NHPR said she is not enrolled for coverage under the ACA.


“Tea Party extremist Marilinda Garcia signed the Koch Brothers pledge calling to take away health care from tens of thousands of Granite State families, but refuses to say where she receives her own coverage,” said a NHDP spokesman. “If Marilinda Garcia is going to make denying health coverage to hard-working Granite Staters a central part of her campaign, then voters deserve to know what she is hiding when it comes to her own health care.”


Overall, the week was a clear indicator that across the board, this general election season will not just be the most expensive in state history, but it will also be among the nastiest.


EHRLICH’S PRAGMATIC VIEW. Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich, in the state for several GOP events this weekend, is pragmatic about the upcoming election.


Ehlich, who served in the U.S. House in the mid-1990s with then-New Hampshire Rep. John E. Sununu, told Granite Reports in a Friday interview that he believes this is a Republican-leaning cycle in which the party will pick up seats in the U.S. House and stands a good chance of taking the Senate.


But he said that if that GOP is successful, it should realize that is essentially a trial run, just as it was for the GOP in 2010 and for the Democrats in 2012.


Traveling the country promoting his book — “America: Hope for Change” – and considering a run for President, Ehrlich said, he senses that Republicans will “benefit from a sense on the part of the people of negligent leadership with regard to the Senate Democrats and the President.”


“I do think that there is going to be a sense on the part of the voters that, ‘We’ve given you the keys, so don’t drive off the road.’”


Ehrlich said that while foreign policy is dominating the national discussion at the moment, immigration and the Affordable Care Act remain very much in the minds of voters.


And, he said, the rise of the Islamic terrorist state has put a halt to the “neo-isolationist movement in the country.”


“There most certainly has been a change in public attitude,” he said. What had been viewed as a “sort of existential threat” is now real.


But he said President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry are fundamentally anti-war politicians who are “clearly uncomfortable with the projection of American military force around the world.”


Calling himself a “Churchill-file” Ehrlich said, “The comparisons between our attitude in the United States recently and the United Kingdom in 1935 and 1936 are pretty interesting. This will be true test of the President and his presidency.”


He said he notes in his book that “rarely do the terms ‘community organizer’ and ‘commander of the United States Marine Corps’ appear on the same resume. But in his case, they do.”


THE SOCIAL MEDIA CONTEST. We don’t know how this will translate into votes, but at the moment it appears Scott Brown is far ahead of Jeanne Shaheen in the social media race.


As of Friday morning, Brown’s You Tube TV ads had drawn about 189,700 clicks to 22,500 for Shaheen’s. His immigration ad, “Secure Borders,” had more than 45,000 clicks on its own.


Brown had 66,500 Twitter followers, while Shaheen’s campaign account had 7,284 and her Senate account had 18,900.


Brown’s Facebook page had 378,900 “likes,” while Shaheen’s had 17,200. Her official government page had 10, 300 “likes.”


THE LAMBERT CONNECTION. How did George Lambert beat conservative school board member Robyn Dunphy in Manchester?


According to GOP political observers, he did so by virtue of the fact that he happens to share he last name and first initial with congressional candidate Gary Lambert.


George Lambert, of Litchfield, very few signs up in Manchester, didn’t go door to door and sent no mailings. To do well in your home town is understandable, they said, but to beat a new school board member who had signs throughout city, had gone door-to-door and done a couple of mailings, one with the endorsement of popular former Governor Steve Merrill?


“One might say – it does not compute,” said a Republican who watched the race closely. “Enter Gary Lambert who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Manchester television advertising and you have the answer. George Lambert = Gary Lambert = loss for Robyn Dunphy.”


(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 as news breaks. He can be reached at and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)



Author: John DiStaso

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