With the New Hampshire Republican Party seemingly unable to find a suitable candidate to oppose U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in her reelection bid, the search has broadened.
Massachusetts resident Scott Brown helicoptered in (literally) to signal his interest, as did Florida resident Bob Smith, who briefly left the party before then leaving the state.
Given the lack of enthusiasm those out-of-staters generated, conservatives have now initiated a campaign to draft commentator Mark Steyn, a New Hampshire resident who occasionally guest hosts for Rush Limbaugh.
Last week, talk show host Hugh Hewitt announced the launch of SteynforSenate.com, where visitors can sign a petition encouraging the conservative commentator to run for the U.S. Senate seat. Appearing on Hewitt’s radio show, Steyn didn’t quite take the bait, but he did express his disdain for the current crop of Republican hopefuls.
“My heart sank somewhat when I read in the Union Leader, I think it was the other day, about those who were preparing to run against Jeanne Shaheen for the U.S. Senate seat,” Steyn said.
"I wish this state was the way it was 20 years ago, but the New Hampshire Republican Party was too often was content to be in office rather than in power," he complained.
There is one small problem. Steyn is a Canadian citizen. Article I, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires U.S. Senators to have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years.
Hewitt claims the 17th amendment eliminated that requirement, a position that doesn’t seem to be shared by constitutional scholars.
In her statement announcing an exploratory campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, conservative activist Karen Testerman declared, “America’s strength lies in her people when they are free to be creative, to make choices, to succeed or fail.”
Her appreciation for Americans exercising their free will doesn’t extent to those who voted for Pres. Obama, however. Those Americans, she says, “voted against the Creator.”
In a gross understatement, UNH political scientist Dante Scala told Ben Leubsdorf that Testerman is “pretty far to the right among New Hampshire Republicans.” Here are a few examples of Testerman’s pretty extreme rhetoric:
When the public hears about the open policy to admit transgender boys, the promotion of abortion to our innocent children, and the close association with Planned Parenthood, is it any wonder that annual cookie sales of the Girl Scouts USA are down?
In a moment of honesty today, the executive director of Cornerstone lamented the lack of top-tier challengers to take on Democrats for the 2014 midterm election. Just 15 months before voters head to the polls, no Republicans have officially entered the races to face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Congresswoman Ann Kuster or Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Three of New England’s top five congressional races to watch are in New Hampshire, writes Nathan L. Gonzales in Roll Call. And the deputy editor of the Rothenberg Political Report says Democrats are favored — albeit by varying margins — in all three:
Senate: Republicans don’t have to defeat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to get to the majority. And that’s a good thing for the GOP, since it doesn’t have a candidate. … Democrat Favored.
1st District: Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is the GOP’s main target. If former Rep. Frank Guinta runs to reclaim his seat, the district is almost guaranteed another close race. Toss-Up/Tilt Democrat.
2nd District:As the more Democratic district in the state, this isn’t a great opportunity for Republicans. … If Republicans nominate a candidate with broad appeal, they could challenge Rep. Ann McLane Kuster. Wait and see. Lean Democrat.
Dean Barker reviews the responses of New Hampshire’s top elected officials to gun safety proposals and concludes “only President Obama and Rep. Shea-Porter advocated on behalf of the majority of Granite Staters when it mattered:”
When President Obama unveiled his plan for commonsense gun safety in the wake of 20 murdered children, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter immediately responded with support for it. She was vindicated in her leadership on this by two subsequent polls (UNH, NEC) showing clear majority support in New Hampshire for the key elements of the President’s plan.
Senators Shaheen and Ayotte, Rep. Kuster, and Gov. Hassan (who, it will be remembered, made a very publicized choice to be speak out on the federal issue of DOMA) were all silent on the President’s plan unless pressed by reporters.
Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown ignited a firestorm last night when he refused to rule out a race against the senior senator from New Hampshire, Jeanne Shaheen.
David Bernstein, who covered politics for the Boston Phoenix until its untimely demise, thinks a Brown campaign in the Granite State would be plausible:
He’s a good fit up there — he can smooth over the intra-GOP divide, and then really appeal to the general electorate. The amount of money he can raise now … would give him a huge edge in New Hampshire. And, this is a retail politician with an amazing will and ability to drive himself around and charm voters one by one in every nook and cranny of whatever area he’s running in.
But citing Brown’s commitments to his new law and lobby firm, Bernstein concludes it’s a big tease. ”It’s realistic enough to get him some additional buzz and public interest,” he writes, “so he’s using that to keep his market value up.”
Not even plausible, counters Charles P. Pierce:
Scott, baby, she’s enormously popular and used to be governor up there, and she started out organizing the state politically 40 years ago. You’re a one-term loser who got elected in a fluke and then lost to a woman who never had run for anything before because you ran the worst campaign in the history of man…. Rule it out, Scott. Say die already.
New Hampshire is one of 13 states targeted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun violence group in an upcoming $12 million ad campaign.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns will begin running the ads on Tuesday when senators are home for the congressional Easter recess. The campaign is focused on lawmakers who Bloomberg believes might be persuaded to support the Senate’s package of gun safety legislation.
The campaign also includes more than 100 grassroots events across the country on Thursday, March 28 as part of a National Day to Demand Action. Gun safety advocates are organizing events, petition drives and phone calls to congressional offices.
“The N.R.A. has just had this field to itself,” Bloomberg said. “It’s the only one that’s been speaking out. It’s time for another voice.”
In its first endorsement of the 2014 electoral cycle, Emily’s List threw its support behind Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, calling her a “truly remarkable leader" who has been a "champion for women, working families, and veterans."
Stephanie Schriock, Emily’s List president, said the 2012 election proved women voters want leaders like Shaheen who will fight for equal pay and violence prevention legislation. “Republicans, she said, “haven’t gotten the message, and are doubling down on their anti-woman platform" that would "roll back the clock on women’s rights and opportunities." That’s why Emily’s List is determined to send Shaheen back to Washington, she said.
In the 2011-2012 cycle, the group supported Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster and Gov. Maggie Hassan, raising over $540,000 for the three candidates and spending $550,000 in independent expenditures.
Democrat Jeanne Shaheen says everything needs to be on the table:
“We’ve got to look at revenues; we’ve got to look at the domestic side of the budget. We’ve got to look at the defense side, and we’ve got to look at the mandatory programs. I think we do have to make some tough choices.”
Republican Kelly Ayotte targets Social Security and Medicare:
“Programs like Social Security and Medicare — we have to start talking about how we reform them because, for example, Medicare goes bankrupt 2024. That’s not far off for many in this room that would rely on it or your grandparents. … So we need to have those hard discussions now.”
In February, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen publicly urged the Democratic Party to include a marriage equality plank in the 2012 party platform. “Any Democratic statement of core beliefs about the importance of families,” she said, “must include all our families, gay and straight.”
Today we learned that platform language supporting same-sex marriage and condemning the Defense of Marriage Act has been approved by party officials and is expected to go before convention delegates in September for final approval.
Shaheen praised this historic action. ”Equality and freedom are at the core of who we are as Americans,” she said, “and that means freedom for all of us, not just some of us.”
"Our party has long been a leader on issues of justice and this reaffirms to the country that we are working on behalf of all our families, gay and straight," Shaheen continued. "I am proud to see the Democrats take an important step in standing up for the rights of same-sex couples."
The Romney campaign held a series of events today “to allow small business owners the chance to respond” to President Obama’s assertion that businesses have benefited from government investment and support.
One of these “We Built This” events was held at Secure Care Products, a manufacturer in Concord. The owner, Harold Baldwin, said “he was pretty upset" by Obama’s suggestion that the government helped him build his business.
For the record, Secure Care is a member of the Granite State District Export Council, an organization that “supports the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts throughout the country.” Just two months ago, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen delivered a speech on the Senate floor relating how the federal export program was critical to Secure Care’s expansion.
Secure Care has developed a technology that protects Alzheimer’s patients who may wander or newborns who are still in maternity wards. Grace Preston, the international sales manager for Secure Care, told us that the company has significantly expanded its growth by selling overseas. Grace also told us that Secure Care couldn’t have done that without federal and state export programs working together. In New Hampshire, our state and federal export services work seamlessly, which has helped exports grow our economy. [emphasis added]
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte earned a 98% score from Club for Growth on its annual Congressional Scorecard and was recognized with a “Defender of Economic Freedom” award.
Ayotte’s near-perfect score was based on her roll call votes favoring tax reduction, government spending cuts, free trade, tort reform, school choice and industry deregulation. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen received a 10% score. She did not receive an award.
Club for Growth raises money for “pro-growth” candidates. During the 2010 election cycle, the exceptionally well-funded conservative advocacy group spent more then $8.2 million in independent expenditures primarily advocating for Republican candidates or against Democrats. John Nichols notes the organization has been a key player in the orchestrated attacks on labor unions and public workers.