WEDNESDAY, AUG. 13: FREEDOM WORKS FOR GARCIA. Republican 2nd District U.S. House candidate Marilinda Garcia picked up another big conservative endorsement in the libertarian-mined Freedom Works PAC.
Freedom Works, which has its roots in David Koch’s Citizens for a Sound Economy, called Garcia “a fantastic addition to the next generation of leadership in Congress, and the solutions wing of the Republican Party.”
PAC president Matt Kibbe said Garcia “can inject some much-needed energy and ideas into the GOP.”
The Freedom Works PAC endorsement of Garcia follows an endorsement by the Club for Growth PAC earlier in the summer. The Club for Growth has aired independent expenditure television ads promoting the Salem state representative.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 13: HEADED SOUTH. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen headed to South Carolina Wednesday evening for a fundraiser for her campaign as Republicans accused her of not holding an open town hall for more than 700 days.
A “town hall ticker” on the NHGOP web site is counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds since Shaheen’s last open, in-person town hall meeting. The party also now has a staffer dressed in a chicken costume showing up at Shaheen events with a sign, “Shaheen too chicken to hold town halls.”
Meanwhile Democrats are attending Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown’s town halls.
A memo was circulated among the media today from Nashua Democratic City Committee member Joanne St. John asking fellow Democrats to attend Brown’s “Obamacare Isn’t Working” town hall that was held Tuesday night and ask him questions about the Affordable Care Act.
The Brown campaign has said that its town hall meetings are not by invitation and are open to everyone of all political stripes. Yet BuzzFeed.com reported just the opposite today — that Democratic operatives were denied entry to Brown town halls and were told they were private.
Shaheen’s fundraiser was hosted by long-time Democratic National Committeeman Don Fowler and other top South Carolina Democrats in Columbia, the state capital.
(Earlier Granite Reports follow.)
SATURDAY, AUG. 9: BLOOMBERG, RENDELL … AND LAMBERT? Republican 2nd District U.S. House candidate Gary Lambert opposes a hike in the federal gasoline tax to shore up the state’s highway trust fund. And he has said that he would have voted against the recent state gas tas hike, too, had he been in the state Legislature.
Still, Lambert is listed as a member of a national group that has supported a federal gas tax hike and gas tax hikes in other states. His campaign says there is no inconsistency there.
Building America’s Future is a non-profit educational fund “dedicated to bringing about a new era of U.S. investment in infrastructure that enhances our nation’s prosperity and quality of life,” according to its web site.
BAF also describes itself as politically and regionally diverse. But conservatives say its leadership is liberal. The co-chairs are former Obama administration Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is the group’s founder.
BAF last year backed a 10 cents-a-gallon gasoline tax hike in Wyoming and another gas tax hike in Michigan.
It supports more government funding for high speed rail and mass transit.
Lambert campaign manager Josh Davidson said that while Lambert opposes gasoline tax hikes on the federal and state level, he believes that infrastructure improvements “should be a top priority.”
“While in the state Senate, Gary joined Building America’s Future because he believes infrastructure is vital to economic growth and job creation,” Davidson said. “He does not endorse any specific policy proposal put forward by the group but is supportive of a broad effort to update and improve our nation’s roads and bridges. Furthermore, Gary is firmly opposed to increasing taxes, such as the gas tax, in order to pay for infrastructure projects.”
But Tom Szold, campaign manager for Lambert primary foe Marilinda Garica, countered: “While infrastructure is vital and Marilinda wants to ensure that we are addressing our critical infrastructure needs, she would be unlikely to sign on to initiatives driven by Big Government liberals like Michael Bloomberg and Ed Rendell — especially taxpayer subsidized projects.”
Lambert is not the lone Granite State member of the BAF, and the New Hampshire delegation is indeed bipartisan.
Members include Republicans state Senate President Chuck Morse, outgoing Sens. Bob Odell, Jim Rausch (who sponsored the state gas tax hike bill) and Peter Bragdon, former Sen. Bob Letourneau, former candidate for governor (and current Londonderry Town Manager) Kevin Smith, and Merrimack Town Councilor Bill Boyd. Democratic members include Rep. Candace Bouchard of Concord and John Cloutier of Claremont as well as Manchester Aldermen Dan O’Neil and Garth Corriveau.
“STILL UNDER REVIEW.” Lambert, by the way, has not yet returned two contributions his campaign received in June from a nonprofit charity and an auto dealership. Federal campaign finance law bars taking such donations and the campaign promised to check into it.\\
The campaign has 60 days from the end of the quarter to return any questionable contributions, giving it another three weeks.
THE SECRETARY OF FUN. Steve Duprey, dubbed the “Secretary of Fun” in GOP circles and on his Twitter handle, has been given a serious job by RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
Duprey, the former state GOP chair and current Republican National Committeeman, was named by Priebus on Friday to chair the RNC’s presidential debate committee.
Duprey told Granite Reports in an interview Friday that while the details must be discussed and decided by the 13-member committee, it appears that the RNC will sanction nine debates and candidates who appear at debates not sanctioned by the RNC will be barred from the authorized debates and could lose delegates.
Duprey said there is broad agreement in the party that the 23 debates held in the last cycle were too many and were too closely together both in terms of time and geography.
“New Hampshire had four or five debates last time,” he said. “Given the great honor the state has of holding the first-in-the-nation primary,” New Hampshire should be satisfied with one debate. The current tentative plan is to have one debate in each of the four early states – Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, as well as New Hampshire – and a total of nine.
A final debate committee recommendation for the full RNC is expected in the fall, Duprey said. Also on the debate committee is state RNC member Juliana Bergeron.
WYLIE DEPARTS. Senior advisor Matt Wylie has left candidate for governor Andrew Hemingway’s campaign and will focus his energies on his work for Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Brian Herr, Hemingway’s campaign confirmed.
O’MALLEY RETURNS. Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will return to the state on Aug. 17 for a fundraiser for the state Senate Democratic Caucus at the home of Sen. Martha Fuller Clark in Portsmouth.
O’Malley, who has a strong relationship with the state Democratic establishment and activists, appears to be building toward a run for President.
He has made several visit to the state in recent years, headlining the state Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in December and a Manchester City Democrats event in June.
BROWN TOWN HALLS. After kicking off his “New Hampshire Speaks” town halls this week in Salem, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown will continue the series on Tuesday in Nashua.
Brown is expected to talk about the Affordable Care Act and what he views as its negative effects on New Hampshire before opening up the forum to questions.
He also was endorsed by more than 100 activists in Belknap, Merrimack and Strafford counties.
GRASSROOTS DEMOCRATS. The state Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign committee, Granite State Forward, will continue its canvassing program today in Portsmouth and Moultonborough.
Local volunteers, activists and community leaders will go door-to-door to promote Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Gov. Maggie Hassan and Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster.
UPCOMING DEBATES. It was my pleasure to work with WGIR’s Jack Heath on the two congressional debates last month. We are looking forward to the Aug. 20 debate between GOP gubernatorial candidates and the Aug. 27 debate with the GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate.
(John DiStaso is news editor of the New Hampshire Journal and the most experienced political columnist/reporter in New Hampshire. He has been reporting on Granite State politics since 1982. Watch for updates of his Granite Reports column and of course separate stories on NHJournal.com as news breaks. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @jdistaso.)