After their first televised debate Wednesday, Gov. Maggie Hassan Thursday renewed her accusation that Republican challenger Walt Havenstein is misleading voters by contending that he does not want to repeal Medicaid expansion.
The charges were leveled as a new CNN/ORC poll showed Hassan leading Havenstein 51 to 45 percent.
Havenstein said last night that he wants to fix the plan, not repeal it, so that potentially tens of thousands of working poor Granite Staters are not thrown off of its rolls when it sunsets under the current plan in 2017.
But Hassan repeatedly pointed out that Havenstein during the summer signed the Americans for Prosperity pledge, which specifically says that if elected, he would “work tirelessly” to “Oppose all forms of ObamaCare in New Hampshire, including Medicaid expansion.”
Havenstein in July said he would veto legislation to reauthorize Medicaid expansion after the sunset. But at the debate, he said he wanted to fix it now.
“Make no mistake,” Hassan said in the debate on WBIN, “he has said he would repeal it.”
”It is simply not true,” said Havenstein. “I have said since that bill was passed that I would focus on fixing it.”
Hassan’s campaign said today Havenstein “desperately attempts to hide his pledge” to the Koch brothers, the conservative billionaires who founded AFP and are key contributors.
“Failed CEO Walt Havenstein is either intentionally misleading voters, or he simply doesn’t understand his own stated positions and what he promised when he signed the Koch brothers pledge,” said Hassan spokesman Aaron Jacobs.
The Hassan campaign also noted that Havenstein wrote on a questionnaire from the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire that he favors “efforts to roll back or repeal” Medicaid expansion.
But what the campaign did not cite was Havenstein’s explanation on the questionnaire:
“While I opposed Medicaid expansion from the start, I understand that we now have a law and need to address the issues presented by Maggie Hassan’s irresponsible proposal. I’ll work with the Legislature to find a workable solution that protects NH taxpayers.”
Still, said the Hassan campaign, “Havenstein can’t hide the fact that he signed the Koch Brothers pledge to take away health care from 50,000 Granite Staters, and that his own campaign website prominently features a petition to repeal the bipartisan transportation plan that’s fixing New Hampshire’s roads and bridges, including finishing the completion of I-93.”
“Either way, Havenstein’s doublespeak only further proves that he can’t be trusted to run our state and look out for Granite State priorities.”
The New Hampshire Democratic Party added that Havenstein was campaigning today with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and will campaign tomorrow with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, both of whom are supported by the Koch brothers.
“Havenstein, Pence and Rubio have this in common: they all back the Koch Brothers ultra-conservative policies that would further devastate middle-class families,” a party spokesman said.