Tag Archives: Bob Giuda

Bass takes GOP nomination by a hair, tells Pelosi to pack her bags

15 Sep

CONCORD, NH — In a primary race that proved nothing is ever a sure thing in politics, Republican Charlie Bass barely eked out a win over conservative underdog Jennifer Horn early Wednesday morning, setting the stage for his matchup with liberal Democratic nominee Ann McLane Kuster in the November election.

Charlie Bass and his wife Lisa speak to reporters and supporters Tuesday night, acknowledging that they could not yet declare victory but that a win looked promising. The AP later called the race for Bass.

In a three-way race with Republican Bob Giuda, Bass’s victory looked uncertain well into the night, when only a single percentage point separated him and Horn. At 12:30 a.m., about two hours after Kuster declared victory in her Democratic primary, Bass told supporters that the gap between him and Horn was growing, and he expected to win his race. At 1 a.m., the Associated Press called the race for Bass.

But in a race where Bass had long been considered a frontrunner by the national media and was running against two opponents splitting the conservative vote, to face a serious challenge from a woman who didn’t have the finances to run television ads must prove a concern for state Republicans.

While Bass did eventually secure the win, there was a point in the night when supporters were quiet and worried, and reporters started drafting stories in case of a Horn victory. Probably not how the former Congressman wanted to stage his comeback.

But when Bass did take the stage, there began to emerge glimpses of the former six-term Congressman who won kudos for his pragmatic leadership and steady, moderate approach to politics. While it’s not his style to dazzle a crowd, he seemed newly energized as he said of national Democrats, ”Madam Speaker, start packing your bags.”

Cheers from moderate Republican supporters — one of whom said Bass has always been “good old Charlie” — buoyed the candidate’s oft-repeated speech about returning to politics to fix Washington and cut government spending.

Bass spoke of making this election “Kuster’s last stand” with a conviction that wasn’t present in his earlier deliveries of the line, and marked the first stages of what will likely be a close and contested November election, in which Bass will try to paint Kuster as a radical, left-wing liberal, and Kuster will portray him as a washed-up D.C. insider.

“I couldn’t stand aside and let this district be represented by two Democrats who are so liberal they make Obama look like Glen Beck,” he said.

And with the GOP nomination called for Bass, his supporters can finally turn their efforts to the ultimate prize: a win on November 2.

Check back later today for Top 5 takeaway points from the race, and photos from the night.

Horn event in Newport shows possible reality of GOP race

13 Sep

NEWPORT, NH — Less than 24 hours before the polls will open in New Hampshire, Republican state legislator Beverly Rodeschin is doing everything she can to get Republican Congressional candidate Jennifer Horn nominated.

Ushering friends and acquaintances into Village Pizza on Main Street, she surveys the crowd to make sure everyone has a seat and enough pizza, and tells them to get excited for Horn’s arrival. She spoke excitedly of her candidate’s endorsement by the Union Leader. But privately, she said she’s not sure how Horn will fare tomorrow.

“Do you think she’s nervous?” she asks me.

Jennifer Horn speaks to supporters in Village Pizza on Monday at noon.

Horn certainly didn’t seem nervous at the packed event in Newport on Monday. She hugged friends and supporters, gave glowing recommendations of the pizza and spoke passionately about why she should be the Republican nominee in November. She proved once again that she’s a strong campaigner who does an excellent job connecting with voters and making them believe in her words.

But with very little money to compete, and facing a challenge from opponent Bob Giuda to capture the conservative vote, a Horn victory on Tuesday isn’t looking likely. Almost all pundits and political reporters in the state have called the race for Republican Charlie Bass, the moderate former Congressman and fundraising leader.

The national media has tentatively predicted that Bass, a moderate, will appeal to more voters than Ann McLane Kuster, the liberal Democrat likely to be his opponent in November. But in talking to Rodeschin, it’s clear that Bass will have a hard time winning the state’s conservative base and coasting to victory in the general, should he win on Tuesday.

“He’s not a conservative,” Rodeschin said. She said she saw his performances in the GOP debate last week, and thought he looked “terrible.” She said she supports Horn because of the candidates’s clear conservative beliefs and likability among voters, although Giuda would be her second choice.

So would she vote for Bass in November, should he become the nominee?

“I would leave that spot blank,” she said, noting that she would still vote for Republicans in other state races.

It’s possible that Bass could still pull off a win with the support of the state’s independent and moderate voters who find Kuster (or Katrina Swett, should she win on the Democratic side) too liberal.

But all the talk of Republicans nationwide getting out to vote and changing the course of the 2010 midterms will be a non-factor in the 2nd district race if New Hampshire’s conservatives like those at Village Pizza on Monday feel that both candidates on the ballot are too centrist to win their vote — or even a trip to the polls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Republican debate highlights Bass weaknesses

11 Sep

HENNIKER, NH — While much of the focus and media attention in the 2nd district Congressional campaign has focused on the Democrats, the three Republican candidates showed Saturday that theirs is still a fascinating and peculiar struggle — that has been misunderstood by the national media.

Bob Giuda, Jennifer Horn and Charlie Bass took the stage at New England College only days before the September 14 primary. The interactions between the three showed how vastly different they are as candidates and how Bass has struggled to run against his conservative counterparts. In contrast to the media’s analysis of theirs as an imbalanced contest, none of the three looked like a clear winner.

Bob Giuda, Jennifer Horn, and Charlie Bass participate in a debate at New England College on Saturday.

While Bass will likely prevail due his fundraising abilities, Horn and Giuda’s performances illustrated the degree to which a well-funded conservative could have really changed the race, and the degree to which Bass will struggle against the much more dynamic Democrats in the general election.

Many outlets have written off the race as solidly within Bass’s grasp, and on paper, this seems right. He has the moderate credentials, party backing, experience and fundraising to render his opponents essentially non-factors in the race. But this narrative was not at all obvious at Saturday’s debate, where Bass underperformed and Giuda and Horn looked relatively strong.

From a visual perspective, Bass looked physically terrible in Saturday’s debate. Seeing him in person provided a sharp contrast with the media’s portrayal of an assured victor on Tuesday.

James Pindell noted in his column about last week’s debate that Bass seemed actually ill, and I wrote in July that his campaign has seemed fairly lackluster for months now. On Saturday, he closed his eyes while his opponents spoke, took breaths and pauses at random times, and displayed odd mannerisms that weren’t on display earlier this summer.

But even on a policy level, he largely failed to demonstrate the degree to which he is leading this race. Bass and Horn got into a heated discussion about the value of experience in a candidate, and it wasn’t clear that anyone won. For a man who served 12 years in Congress, not being able to articulate the value of experience against a woman who has never held office is concerning.

But Bass’s problem is that he’s essentially running as someone he is not. A moderate, mainstream Republican, he is trying to embrace the Tea Party phenomenon and win his base while also defending a moderate voting record and appealing to independents. It’s too much for any one person to accomplish, and he seems frusterated by the inconsistencies as a result.

Bass will likely do much better running against a liberal Democrat in the general election, where he can tout his widespread political appeal with less fear of alienating hardcore Republicans. But until Tuesday, he has to deal with this conundrum.

One of the panelists asked him if he’s concerned that party leaders don’t find him conservative enough, and he became visibly agitated at the suggestion, hitting the podium in response. “No one can beat my record,” he said, seeming distressed at the suggestion.

In contrast, Giuda looked sharp and effective in the exchange. He does well in public speaking because he’s an engaging, dynamic conversationalist. He is confident and clearly enjoys discussing foreign policy. It’s unfortunate that Giuda spend the entire time with an odd smirk on his face. And that his campaign has virtually no money or prospects for a win on Tuesday.

Horn also did well, challenging Bass on his voting record and his lack of idealism in revamping how Congress operates. What she lacks in substance and practical policy solutions, Horn more than compensates with her dyanamic, compassionate brand of conservatism that could resonate with more hardline GOP voters.

But as one panelist noted, Horn has failed to gather endorsements from national conservatives like Sarah Palin — likely a sore point for the self-proclaimed mama grizzly in this race. She has also struggled to raise enough money to really seriously compete with Bass.

And financing is perhaps the most important aspect of this race, and the reason Bass will win next week, despite a lackluster campaign. “We cannot nominate a candidate that is flat-broke the day after the election,” he said in one of the sharper moments of the debate, hitting his opponents where it counts.

Horn has more than $200,000 in debt from her failed 2008 campaign, and Giuda has loaned his team more than $100,000 of his own money. Neither are prepared to take on the Democrats, who have far out-raised the Republicans in this race. Ann McLane Kuster, the likely nominee at this point, has raised more than $1 million.

What would Horn or Giuda’s campaigns looked like had they raised the money to compete with Bass? The contest is eerily reminsicent of Ovide LaMontagne‘s Senate bid, which has gained momentum from conservative endorsements this week despite his inability to keep up with frontrunner Kelly Ayotte in fundraising.

It seems that Charlie Bass could have really struggled this year — but Horn and Giuda weren’t the candidates to make it happen.

Poll shows Bass ahead of Dems, Kuster still unknown

30 Jul

Charlie Bass isn’t doing well in the polls– but “not well” still translates to “better than the Democrats.”

New data released today from a WMUR Granite State Poll shows Republican hopeful Charlie Bass beating both Democrats in hypothetical matchups by more than 15 points.

Democrat Katrina Swett dropped in favorability in the overall rankings, but still fares better than her opponent, Ann McLane Kuster, who remains unknown by a fairly shocking 88 percent of respondents, despite the candidate’s fundraising success in the state.

Read the full release of data here.

In the hypothetical matchups, it’s clear that Bass’s earlier mantra that he can win against the Democrats isn’t just talk. According to this poll, he takes a clear lead against both Kuster and Swett.

Charlie Bass 47%
Katrina Swett 30%

Charlie Bass 47%
Anne Kuster 29%

Jennifer Horn 34%
Katrina Swett 32%

Jennifer Horn 35%
Anne Kuster 31%

So what do these numbers mean? Here are my thoughts on what the poll says about each candidate:

  • Charlie Bass — The Republican has done a poor job campaigning recently, hasn’t raised a great deal of money and is suffering from the anti-incumbent wave sweeping the country. His unfavorability ranking has jumped about 15 points since the spring. But somehow, he still comes out far ahead of both Democrats in the polls and is now the frontrunner in this race. I’m still not really sure why the lackluster candidate is doing so well, but the numbers speak for themselves.
  • Jennifer Horn — The 2008 nominee who lost to current Rep. Paul Hodes has had to work to overcome her “loser” image. But that work has paid off. While she is still fairly unknown among voters (68 percent are neutral or don’t know enough to say), she is making significant gains and remains competitive against both Democrats in matchups. I’m still not prepared to write her off, and if Bass continues to dip in polls, she could have another shot at the seat in November.
  • Bob Giuda — Considering the media attention this Republican received in response to comments he made about gay marriage, I’m actually surprised Giuda remains so unknown among voters. But his numbers have remained unchanged since April, and 90 percent of respondents had no opinion of him. Ouch.
  • Katrina Swett — While the Democrat remains more competitive against Bass than her opponent, this poll is more bad news for an already embattled candidate. Swett’s unfavorability rating rose about 5 points, and more people now have a negative than positive view of her candidacy. These are fairly unimpressive numbers for a woman who was supposed to be the frontrunner in her primary — and it comes on the heels of battles with her opponent, a disappointing fundraising quarter and media scrutiny of her positions on gay marriage and the Bush tax cuts.
  • Ann McLane Kuster — The numbers in this poll were perhaps most troubling for the Democrat who has taken the state by a storm and seemed to be gaining on Swett. Kuster has set state fundraising records, earned numerous endorsements, and has received props for her grassroots efforts. But she is still unknown by a shocking 88 percent of voters. That’s a significant hurdle to overcome, but she’s raised more money than any other candidate so far. Time for her to start using it.

Note: As I mentioned in my last post, I’m no longer following the race from NH. But I’m still writing about it from afar, and you can follow me on Twitter at @primarywire for daily updates on the second district happenings.

Weekly Wrap — July 11-17

18 Jul

Each weekend I post a “Weekly Wrap,” or my impressions of the race as they played out during the past seven days.

With second quarter fundraising reports rolling in and less than two months until the primary, it was a fun week to be in New Hampshire. Here are my observations on the five candidates:

1. Katrina Swett is a smart lady

Bob Giuda’s campaign manager said this to me about a month ago, and I didn’t entirely understand what he meant by it — the Democrat hasn’t been particularly visible on the campaign trail in the past few months.

But as I have watched Swett begin to unveil her campaign and interact with voters, I’ve been impressed with her clear message and determination. She has more than $1 million on hand, extensive name recognition and a clear passion for politics and the people she wants to serve.

Swett is a strong moderate in a state that is reluctant to elect ideologues. The Democrats must feel lucky to have her.

  • Raised this quarter: $187,984
  • Cash on hand: $1,150,607

2. Ann McLane Kuster reminds people of Obama

I’m not saying Ann McLane Kuster is Obama. But when I asked her interns why they were motivated to work for her, they spoke with the deep convictions and starry eyes that graced Obama supporters in 2008 and propelled his buzz words of “hope” and “change” into the modern lexicon.

One young woman told me, “you just know when you see the real deal.” So far, I haven’t seen similar sentiments expressed about any of the other candidates.

Kuster’s challenge in this election will be mobilizing Obama liberals to continue believing in that hope and change that made 2008 historic. She is the underdog, the idealist and the liberal.

She is smart to focus her rhetoric on creating jobs, because if voters get frustrated by the economy or lack of results from national Democrats, her more moderate competitor will pick up votes.

But Americans love an underdog and a populist, and for many, Kuster is “the real deal.” The Democrats must feel lucky to have her.

  • Raised this quarter: $316,307
  • Cash on hand: $745,048

3. Charlie Bass is like vanilla ice cream

Stephanie Micklon, a 62-year-old resident of Salem who served in the NH legislature as a Republican and then a Democrat in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, made this comparison about Charlie Bass when I spoke to her at a fundraiser for Swett. I thought it was a clever description for the moderate Republican who hasn’t shown much pizzaz so far on the trail.

“Charlie I always felt was like vanilla ice cream. If you go into an ice cream store vanilla isn’t your first choice. You probably wouldn’t pick it out. But by itself, it’s fine. It’s not offensive — it’s just blah.”

  • Raised this quarter: $178,749
  • Cash on hand: $370,899

4. Jennifer Horn will always win a seat at the Tea Party

While the candidate lacks broad appeal among voters (who will not forget how she was trounced by Paul Hodes in 2008), there is room for a conservative to Bass’s right in the race. And for many who don’t know of or care for Bob Giuda, Jennifer Horn fits the mold.

Polished, professional and articulate, Horn gives a fresh face to the Tea Party movement and continues to win support from a growing number of conservatives in the state, as evidenced by recent straw polls. She’s a former radio show host who knows how to talk so people will listen, and this has served her well on the trail.

But this hasn’t translated into fundraising might. And whether she can overcome Bass in a state-wide election is still doubtful.

  • Raised this quarter: $50,611
  • Cash on hand: $31,407

5. Bob Giuda is still chugging

While the candidate has raised almost no money and will probably be known as the man who made some seriously questionable remarks about gay marriage, Giuda is still plugging away.

I’m not surprised. He loaned his campaign more than $80,000 so far — he is clearly in the race for strong personal and political convictions. Those weren’t likely to go away with one misstep.

  • Raised this quarter: $4,749
  • Cash on hand: $115,377

Note: Finance numbers came from posts by Red Hampshire, Open Secrets, and The Washington Post. Check out these sources — all are great to look at to learn more about the candidates and fundraising.