MANCHESTER — Republicans and Democrats took it to the podium tonight, but it’s unclear what anyone achieved from the process.
The candidates in NH’s 2nd district Congressional race faced off tonight in debates less than a week before the Sept. 14 primary, with the overall tone of the race taking a decidedly more negative turn.
Neither hit third candidate Bob Giuda particularly hard, signifying his increasing insignificance in the race. All three candidates talked of cutting spending, opposing “Obamacare” and reducing the role of government — fairly standard rhetoric.
Early in the evening, the two started waging accusations of lobbying at each other — a petty fight that has come to define their race. Kuster said the issue has “become something of an obsession” for Swett, and the moderator had to change the topic to keep civility.
But even when the candidates moved on from lobbying, the tone of the evening remained unpleasant. Abortion, nuclear energy, and tax cuts all elicited snarky comments from the two.
So who came out on top?
Winner: Jennifer Horn
With Bass stumbling on his words and presenting an unclear message tonight, and Giuda increasingly becoming a non-factor in the race, Horn managed to deflect criticism and come across as a strong, viable candidate in the Republican race. She used some poor metaphors and strange rhetorical devices, but overall, presented a much more compelling conservative voice than either of her opponents. Too bad she hasn’t been more successful at fundraising, and will have to compete with Giuda for the far right.
Loser: the Democrats
There’s no question that tonight’s debate was terrible for the Democrats. Airing their dirty laundry in public, Kuster and Swett attacked each other at a personal level that will not bode well for whoever advances to the general election. Overall, Kuster kept her cool better than Swett, and stooped to less snark than her opponent. But New Hampshire Democratic Party leader Ray Buckley must be a very unhappy man right now.