After a few months of cordial campaigning, the Democrats have started finally started taking shots — at each other.
Katrina’s Swett‘s campaign manager told the Nashua Telegraph‘s Kevin Landrigan that Kuster should “be candid” with voters about her lobbying career, using the dirty word that most politicians, including Kuster, would rather avoid.
Below is what Swett’s campaign manager Meagan Coffman told Landrigan. You can read the entirety of the post here.
“Over the past several weeks, Ann Kuster’s campaign and her surrogates have cried foul when our campaign has mentioned the word ‘lobbyist’, and last month her campaign manager told the Valley News that such an assertion was a smear,” said Swett campaign manager Meagan Coffman. “Now the Kuster campaign has told a Union Leader columnist that they are proud of her lobbying background. If they are so proud of her work as a paid lobbyist, why does she euphemistically refer to herself as a public policy advocate? She either is a well-paid lobbyist or she isn’t a well-paid lobbyist. And she was clearly a well-paid registered lobbyist.”
Kuster’s campaign fired back with an email to supporters, with the subject line titled “Katrina’s attacks.” Below is a portion of that email:
Today my opponent in the Democratic primary, Katrina Swett, launched a political and misleading attack against me – so I wanted to give you the straight facts:
Despite her attacks, I have never worked as a Washington lobbyist at all. I’ve worked here on the state level, helping businesses and nonprofits work with state legislators to create programs like the Medication Bridge, which has distributed free prescription medicine to over 16,000 New Hampshire seniors and families in need.
It was an interesting divergence for the two women to trade barbs in such a public manner. Neither Kuster nor Swett spends much time criticising the other at campaign events, preferring to instead harp on Republican psuedo-incumbent Charlie Bass.
On one hand, the shenanigans make Swett look fairly petty — she’s coming off a disappointing second quarter haul, media questions about her support for gay marriage, and watching Kuster earn support from gay marriage and progressive groups. Firing off about lobbying this week makes Swett’s campaign seem anxious about her ability to win in September.
But on the other hand, it raises real questions about Kuster’s explanation of her background. She is clearly trying to avoid being cast as the “liberal lobbyist,” but she did do lobbying work for more than 20 years. Giving long descriptions of the positive benefits of her work doesn’t change that.
And it’s probably appropriate for someone to point this out — although it might not have been to Swett’s benefit to do it this week.