Yesterday was the close of NLRC 2014 in Nashua New Hampshire an event that was filled with Republicans from the Northeast talking and feeling optimistic about election 2014. The event was well-managed both by the hotel & by the NHGOP. The party & staff under chair Jennifer Horn did an excellent job putting it together.
There are many stories from this event and I’ll be posting more video over the next few days but the story that grabbed the majority of the media was Scott Brown’s announcement of the formation of an exploratory committee to run in New Hampshire. The place was just swarming with press over it.
Then came the senator’s speech
I thought it was pretty good and was delivered with great feeling hitting several strong GOP points. It certainly impressed this attendee
Before I say another word let me speak this for the record. Scott Brown was a pretty good Senator from Massachusetts. He was very open about his positions, carried himself well to the voters in general and even when people disagreed with him, particularly on the Tea Party side always gave them time and a respectful.
I suspect the tea party bridges he burned came from bad consultant advice. On a personal level you can’t help but like the man and his wife Gail is not only charming but just plain nice.
I wish he was running in Massachusetts against Ed Markey instead of in NH. I think he would have won the special election there AND would win a contest in the state now.
New Hampshire,that’s a totally different story
New Hampshire is one of the most informed voter bases in the nation. They have more state reps per citizen than any other and take their politics seriously.
To a crowd of low information voters Senator Brown’s stirring speech would have been the start of a rallying cry but the problem is, the GOP base in New Hampshire, like the rest of the tea party types, are not made of low information voters.
They remember Scott Brown opinion on the assault weapons ban and were angry enough to show up in freezing cold 300 strong last year to protest it. They remember the 2012 campaign where in ads he described himself as a “different kind of republican” as if there is something wrong with being one. They remember the ads portraying him as pro-choice that really bothers people like me. As NH gets blanketed by Massachusetts media they couldn’t avoid those ads if they tried.
They also remember the day after his hand-picked chair for the GOP chair squeaked though on the second ballot to get the top GOP job in the state on the back the belief it would mean Brown would be running in the special election to replace John Kerry, he announced he would not be running (a huge shame BTW as Kristen Hughes has turned out to be an excellent party chair who would have carried Brown over the finish line).
In short they remember him running from the tea party after being elected, running away from the GOP during his last campaign and then running from the fight.
Now comes 2014 and it’s looking like 2010 all over again and what happens?
Brown doesn’t run in Massachusetts where he could easily contrast himself with Ed (voting present) Markey on Obamacare AND on a willingness to stand up and be counted.
He crosses the border back to NH because Jeanne Shaheen is considered vulnerable and is now giving speeches about republican unity. Even Maureen Dowd sees this:
It’s not that Democrats are particularly scared that the 54-year-old former Massachusetts senator is going to get elected as a New Hampshire senator — although it’s conceivable that a charming, carpetbagging, middling politician could jump across the border and unseat Jeanne Shaheen.
FYi Dowd’s Carpetbagging charge is bogus, Brown was Born in NH he’s had connections to the state for years and frankly if NH disqualified people who escaped from Massachusetts from the state you’d disenfranchise half the electorate, but she’s spot on two paragraphs later
This is what’s really freaking out Democrats: They know that Brown, after making some real money working for Fox News since his loss to Elizabeth Warren two years ago, wouldn’t even be getting into the race if the political environment weren’t so toxic for Democrats.
That’s really the issue, Browns decision to run appears to people in NH as something imposed from on high and that brings up another sore spot in the state that can best be illustrated by what or rather who I didn’t see at NLRC 2014.
Granite Grok is the premiere conservative group blog in the state. There is nobody that has advanced conservative position and candidates with more strength. Furthermore they are generally everywhere if a political event is taking place Granite Grok is there to cover it and stream it live.
Grok didn’t show up. Their reaction to the Scott Brown run was the title of their post:
Grok’s absence symbolizes the split between the Tea Party wing of the NH GOP & the Establishment wing of the GOP. It’s reaching the point of open war. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that a conservative 3rd party will arise in the state after the November election unless this is taken care of.
This has to be addressed NOW. Scott Brown & the NH GOP’s problem is a lot like Mitch McConnell at CPAC he needs to address the elephant in the room which are his positions on life and guns because as of today those NH Republicans will not turn up and vote for Senator Brown in a general election.
And if they don’t forget a senate seat in Washington, if they stay home the NHGOP can kiss the prospect of taking back the state house and senate goodbye in a year where Democrats in the state are running scared.
Nominating Brown takes the gun issue off the table that the GOP should be able to beat the Democrats over the head with and will put Kelly Ayotte who voted on the right side of the bill on the spot two years before her re-election campaign.
I’ve said this before and I will again, my candidate is Karen Testerman (her site is here) but if Brown is nominated the GOP had better decide to mend fences fast, or it will cost them more than they bargained for.
Of course the best solution is just voting for Karen, she can hit Shaheen on the 2nd Amendment like this:
when Senator Brown can not.
Update: added a link & rearranged an ambiguous sentence.
Update 2: Jazz Shaw interviewed Karen Testerman yesterday:
Since joining the primary hunt last fall, Testerman has been a target of liberals in the Granite state. A spokesperson for the state Democrat party responded to her initial announcement by describing her as a far-right extremist and a rubber stamp for the Tea Party.
Jazz did some great work in NH this weekend.
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