Republican Congressional candidate Dan Innis’s top political adviser today tweeted out an editorial that sings the candidate’s praises on a hot-button political issue. Ho-hum, right? Well, the editorial was written in the Concord Monitor – a paper notoriously unfriendly to Republicans – and it absolutely excoriates the Granite State’s only Republican in the federal delegation, Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
— Christopher Stewart (@FreshBuzz) February 14, 2014
Innis should be given credit for staking out a position on the debt ceiling that differentiates him in a competitive Republican primary with former Rep. Frank Guinta. Contrast is important, even if it pits Innis against some of the most active members of the GOP base. And it is certainly the case that many who may vote in the September Republican primary agree with Innis’s point of view regarding debt ceiling theatrics. His message is not without a considerable constituency.
The problem for Innis is that the editorial his campaign is celebrating contrasts him not with Guinta, but with Ayotte, who enjoys considerable popularity among Republicans and who holds an office Innis is not even seeking. His criticisms of Ayotte’s position have brought great delight to some of the state’s top Democrats, if their own giddy tweets are any indication.
Moreover, the Innis campaign’s antagonism toward Ayotte and the Republican Party is beginning to look like a deliberate strategy. Yesterday, NH Journal highlighted a fight brewing between a prominent Innis supporter and the New Hampshire Republican State Committee over the latter’s inclusion of former-Sen. Rick Santorum in an upcoming GOP conference.
The Innis campaign did not respond to inquiries about these skirmishes.
More than a few Republican operatives have taken note of the strategy. One GOP consultant said, “Innis is a good guy and I think his heart is in the right place. But he’s getting some really bad advice.”
One senior Republican went so far as to tell NH Journal, “This is the week Innis lost the campaign.”
That’s a bridge too far. There’s a lot of campaigning left to do. But if this is the strategy – to differentiate Innis by having him attack the party he just recently joined – well, I think Dan Innis is going to find it an incredibly difficult needle to thread.