HUDSON, NH — When Republican Jennifer Horn speaks, stereotypes of crazy Tea Party candidates fade away, and it’s easy to tell that she hosted a current events radio show and has run for Congress before.
Horn, who spoke Thursday night at the Hudson Republican Committee meeting, combines Bob Giuda‘s strong conservatism with Charlie Bass‘s political ease, presenting a potentially formidable challenge to both men in the September 14 Republican primary, which will serve as a litmus test of voter anger with Democrats in Washington.
Bass, who served in Congress from 1994 to 2006, has served as a handy punching bag for his Republican opponents in a race with no incumbent (Democrat Paul Hodes is running for Senate).
And with anti-incumbent fever at an all-time high, both Giuda and Horn have received major props from supporters for criticizing Bass’s moderate record in Congress.
Both Horn and Giuda fill a void in running to Bass’s right, but the difference in their presentations of the anti-Washington, anti-government message couldn’t be greater.
Giuda comes across as intense and serious, a self-proclaimed fighter who seems excited at the prospect of stirring up controversy. He has said he doesn’t see legislators as part of government, but rather checks on its power, and that he wouldn’t go to Washington to make friends.
Horn, who was the Republican nominee in 2008 who lost to Hodes, in contrast presents a more positive, collected image that could appeal to voters who are enraged by Washington but not quite at ease with Giuda’s hard line. A breast cancer research advocate, former radio show host and mother of five, Horn rails against the Democrats and their deficit spending in a manner that seems less personally combative.
In Thursday night’s meeting, she also displayed a slight sense of levity and candor that her Republican counterparts have lacked thus far in their interactions with supporters and the press.
“What are you going to do now that Charlie Bass wants his seat back?” one woman in attendance asked.
“I’m sorry, whose seat?” Horn responded, laughing. “This is about wining the seat back for the state of New Hampshire.”
There is no doubt that Horn is taking her role as a fighter in this race seriously, but how voters will respond to her personal brand of New Hampshire conservatism remains unclear.
—Up next: Check back Friday afternoon for an update on Democrat Katrina Swett officially filing in Concord.