CONCORD — A New Hampshire super PAC filed in the spring to promote Jim Rubens’ campaign for the U.S. Senate has begun hammering Rubens’ primary foe Scott Brown as a candidate who is not being honest about his true record with GOP primary voters.
The New Hampshire PAC to Save America unveiled RealScottBrownRecord.com, which says that Brown voted with President Barack Obama between 61 and 78 percent of the time from 2010 to 2012, praised his relationship with Obama and backed tax increases and more gun control.
Veteran Republican strategist Michael Dennehy, who is advising the PAC, said on a conference call with reporters that while Brown is accusing Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of backing a federal gas tax hike (which her campaign denies), Brown himself supported a “back-door” gas tax hike while in the Massachusetts legislature.
Dennehy also said that while Brown criticizes Shaheen for voting with Obama 99 percent of the time, “a question for Scott Brown is, what is the acceptable percentage for one to vote with President Obama? Is it 90 percent? 80 percent, or 78 percent as he did?”
He said Brown voted with the GOP less than half the time he represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 2010 through 2012.
“Since Scott Brown moved to New Hampshire he has changed his position on his support for Obama, more gun control, cap-and-trade and the gas tax,” said Dennehy.
He said the PAC is making “a significant change in strategy” since it was first unveiled as a pro-Rubens PAC a month ago.
“The bottom line is: Who is the real Scott Brown? He should either stand up and defend his record or explain why he has changed on so many issues,” Dennehy said.
The Brown campaign declined to comment on the web site and Dennehy’s remarks.
The PAC, whose donors are so far unknown and which is separate from the Rubens campaign, will within a week begin a “substantive” advertising program that includes digital and direct mail advertising, said Dennehy. He said there are no current plans for television advertising but “all options are open.”
The advertising will focus on Brown’s record and also “educate voters on Jim Rubens,” who the PAC calls “authentic.”
Dennehy said the PAC’s activities, while hitting Brown, will also be “pro-Jim Rubens.
“Everything we’ll be doing will have Jim Rubens in it and promoting Rubens, while educating voters on Scott Brown’s record,” said Dennehy.
Brown, said Dennehy, “has a great shot at winning the nomination regardless. Just be open and honest about your record. That’s what voters in New Hampshire hope for and expect.”
While Brown may have changed his position on some issues, so has Rubens.
The former state senator has in the past written favorably about a cap and trade program and early in his campaign promoted a carbon tax. He later dropped the carbon tax idea because he said it was a “non-starter” on Capitol Hill.
“The difference is that Jim Rubens explained himself,” said Dennehy. “He told people why he changed. Scott Brown has not done that. He has not explained why he no longer supports President Obama or why he no longer supports more gun control. Once he does that then all of this is a moot point and it will be up to the voters to decide.”
Dennehy said “it would help” Rubens’ cause if former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith dropped out of the race, but Smith has made it clear he has no intention of doing so.
“Rubens isn’t resonating with the base and he is the one who must drop out,” the Smith campaign reacted in a press release.
Smith campaign manager Jack Kimball said Dennehy’s comment was “clearly contrived as he now knows that the conservative base is united behind Senator Smith as he is the only constitutional conservative in the race for the U.S Senate.”
Kimball also said a weekend Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers straw poll had Smith defeating Rubens by a two-to-one margin. He said Smith raised more than $200,000 in the second quarter, while Rubens raised less than $25,000 from individuals other than a loan from his own personal funds.
“The Smith campaign is becoming an unstoppable tsunami assisted by a heavy breeze coming from Virginia,” Kimball said.
Rubens responded on Twitter: “I am the only 100% pro-liberty Republican in
#nhsen race & not a career DC pol. @BobSmithSenate”
Dennehy, meanwhile, also refused to concede that Brown is on the way to winning the GOP nomination, saying, “We could have said the same thing about Eric Cantor (the former House Majority Leader who lost in a primary upset in Virginia).
“Anything can happen in elections,” Dennehy said.