(Updated: Tuesday afternoon, June 24)
CONCORD — State Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn, responding to questions by GOP Senate candidate Bob Smith, denied she or the party colluded with the Scott Brown campaign in developing or sending out a “Unity Letter” to GOP candidates for top offices last week.
The letter asked GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate, governor and the U.S. House to pledge to support the winner of the primaries in those races and to attend the party’s “Unity Breakfast” on Sept. 12, three days after the primary.
All candidates agreed except Smith who said it is “premature” because Brown has not participated in enough debates and forums for him to pledge to back Brown. Smith has also said he does not in effect admit defeat by signing such a letter.
And in a debate on WMUR televised on Sunday, Smith said he had “impeccable” sources telling him there was collusion between the Brown campaign and the party on the letter. In the debate, Brown called the charge “ridiculous.”
Smith said he wrote Horn a letter raising the question last Friday, and, receiving no response, followed it up with another letter today, raising the question again.
“Please know that I am not making an accusation,” Smith wrote to Horn early Tuesday. “I am asking you a clear and direct question because I have information from sources that I consider to be impeccable and 100% reliable, that in fact, you and/or your staff did participate with Scott Brown and/or representatives of his campaign in the drafting of this letter or, that Brown or his campaign representatives encouraged or directed you to send it out to the U S Senate candidates.”
Horn, in an interview, told the New Hampshire Journal, said she is “not colluding with anyone,” and said “it is incredibly disappointing” that Smith is raising the question.
“The unity letter was my idea,” Horn said. “I gave it a great deal of thought in advance and it seemed to me like an easy ‘yes’ for every one of our candidates to agree that no matter what happens, we all work to unseat the Democrats in the general election.”
She said he first thought about writing a unity letter several months ago and discussed it with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul during the party’s early April “day of action.”
“He said they had done it in Kentucky and thought it was a good and productive and positive thing. I waited until the end of the filing period to do it,” said Horn.
“And the reason I did it for the senate candidates is because it is incredibly important to make Jeanne Shaheen a one-term senator,” she said.
Horn added, “My original thought behind the letter was to show our activists that their candidates and their party leaders shared their commitment to returning Republicans to office. Which is why I am so pleased that 99 percent of our candidates have made this pledge.”
(Our earlier report follows.)
(Earlier Tuesday, June 24:)
CONCORD – The New Hampshire Journal has learned that former Sen. Bob Smith is asking New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chair Jennifer Horn to answer whether there has been any “collusion” between the party and the campaign of one of his fellow Republican Senate candidates, Scott Brown, on the “Unity Letter” Horn sent to all candidates last week.
Horn’s Unity Letter asked all candidates to pledge to support the nominee of the GOP in the Senate race, governor’s race and two House races.
Only Smith so far has refused to sign, saying it is “premature.” He has not ruled out signing it in the future.
In a debate televised last Sunday, Smith repeatedly said he had “impeccable sources” who have told him there was “collusion” between the party and Brown’s camp. In the WMUR debate, Brown called the charge “ridiculous.”
There has been no comment from the party, and as a result, today, Smith Tuesday wrote the following letter, obtained by the New Hampshire Journal, to Horn:
“On June 20, 2014 I wrote a letter asking you whether there was any collusion between you personally or your staff at the State Party between Senator Brown (or anyone from his campaign) in the drafting of said letter?” referring to the Unity Letter.
“Secondly,” Smith wrote, “did Senator Brown or anyone from his campaign advise or ask you to send this letter to the U.S. Senate candidates?”
Smith continues, “Please know that I am not making an accusation. I am asking you a clear and direct question because I have information from sources that I consider to be impeccable and 100% reliable, that in fact, you and/or your staff did participate with Scott Brown and/or representatives of his campaign in the drafting of this letter or, that Brown or his campaign representatives encouraged or directed you to send it out to the U S Senate candidates.
“I am still waiting for your response.”