CONCORD – Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey and his wife, Patty, are the major donors behind the New Hampshire PAC to Save America, a super PAC aimed at helping former state Sen. Jim Rubens win the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
The couple endorsed Rubens for the seat in January and have been among his strongest supporters.
Rubens and the Humphreys have had a strong personal and political relationship for at least the past dozen years. In 2002, when Gordon Humphrey ran for governor, Rubens was his chief spokesman and senior policy adviser.
Humphrey said Thursday he is not involved in “micro-managing” the super PAC, which is separate and is forbidden by law from coordinating activities with the Rubens campaign. Humphrey said he was not directly involved in its advertising and media plan or the development of a website unveiled this week by PAC consultant Michael Dennehy, www.RealScottBrown.com.
The website questions Rubens primary foe Scott Brown’s Republican credentials and points out that the former Massachusetts senator voted with President Barack Obama between 61 and 78 percent of the time during his time in the Senate.
Humphrey said Shaheen and Brown have more in common than they have differences, while Rubens is the type of person who could help to change Washington.
Humphrey would not say how much money he and his wife have donated to the PAC. He said he knows that they are the major donors, but said he did not know if they are the only donors.
“We think Jim is the superior candidate and would make an excellent United States senator,” said Humphrey. “We are motivated not only by the excellence of his candidacy but also by the sincere belief that our country is in a very bad way.”
Humprhrey said, “Jeanne Shaheen, and for that matter, Scott Brown in his time in the U.S. Senate, served the nation very poorly and the election of either one of them would be highly unfortunate and would do nothing to save the country from the ruinous course on which we are now embarking.
“Honestly,” said Humphrey, who served in the U.S. Senate for two terms from 1979 to 1990, “I’ve never been more concerned I my entire life about the disastrous course this Congress is pursuing and we desperately need to make changes.”
Humphrey said President Barack Obama is “incompetent,” but “it is the continuing decades-long incompetence of the Congress and its gross malfeasance that is more serious. And it is the result of the careerist attitude of the majority of the members.”
Noting that Shaheen has been in elective office for all but two of the past more than 23 years, Humphrey said, “Come on home, Jeanne Shaheen, and face the real world, and get a real job.
“We truly need new people in Washington with fresh ideas and fresh idealism, and Scott Brown is also not that person,” said Humphrey. “He was nearly as supportive of President Obama as Jeanne Shaheen. One’s almost as bad as the other.
“Scott Brown would make no noticeable difference in Washington. I wish him well as a new resident of New Hampshire but not as a United States Senator from New Hampshire.”
Humphrey served with Bob Smith during six years on Capitol Hill, Humphrey in the Senate and Smith in the House. Smith succeeded Humphrey in the Senate when Humphrey declined to seek a third term.
“I think Bob is well-intended but the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” said Humphrey. “I think guys like Bob Smith and Gordon Humphrey serve best by being seen but not heard.”
He called Rubens “exceptionally bright and innovative and an innovative thinker and doer, who puts into practice the things he believes in. He established an impressive record in the state Senate, especially in the area of reforming education, which is a high priority in the minds of most parents.”
Humphrey, asked about Rubens’ former support for a carbon tax and his pro-choice stance, said, “Jim Rubens is not perfect. But who is the real conservative? It certainly isn’t Jeanne Sahheen and it certainly isn’t Scott Brown.
“Jeanne Shaheen is clearly a liberal,” he said. “But what Scott Brown is — is a mystery to me, given his record.”
Can Rubens win the primary and then the general election?
“Yes, he can,” said Humphrey. “You’re talking to the underdog kid here.”
Huymphrey was referring to his narrow upset defeat in 1978 of sitting Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom McIntyre.
“I had zero name recognition at that time,” he said. “And Tom McIntyre was a sitting senator. And I defeated him. Scott Brown’s support is a mile wide an inch deep.
“Irrespective of whoever may be President, unless we change substantially the makeup of the Congress, it won’t matter. We have to remove these self-servers who only care about being reelected and having their egos stoked.”