Dem fight turns ugly, Republicans focus their message

8 Sep

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.

Republicans Charlie Bass and Jennifer Horn focused on each other, with Horn attacking Bass’s record in Congress and Bass pointing to Horn’s lack of political experience.

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.

But it was the Democratic debate between Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett that got ugly, and probably thrilled every Republican following the race.

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.

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3 Responses to “Dem fight turns ugly, Republicans focus their message”

  1. Linda Twombly September 8, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    This is the correct summation of the debate on the gOP side. WMUR’s James Pindell got it all wrong.

  2. June Marshall September 9, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Thank you so much Linda! I love the good news! I only wish I could help in some way but since breaking my neck and back, it really depends a great deal on the weather and how much pain I’m in. I pray Jen gets the WIN! in November because we Need her!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dems to debate tonight « Primary Wire - September 10, 2010

    […] week in a debate that turned heated and drew criticism from the media (Read the Primary Wire recap here.) WMUR’s James Pindell noted that “neither Democratic candidate came out smelling like […]

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