Tag Archives: Concord state house

Swett files, paints Bass as incumbent to beat

11 Jun

CONCORD, NH — As her supporters cheered her on in a crowded office, Democrat Katrina Swett grinned as she counted out $50 in single bills today, handing over the fee required to file as a candidate for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional district and beginning what will likely be a contentious race for her party’s nomination and the seat in November.

“We’ve had people read the names of their supporters before,” said New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who oversees all elections in the state. “But I don’t think anyone has done this before.”

The gesture was intended to signify her understanding of the plight of the middle class. But whether voters will see Swett — the seasoned campaigner as both the daughter and wife of former Congressmen — as a trailblazer for their interests or one of the much-reviled “Washington insiders” remains unclear.

Swett speaks to the media after filling out the required paperwork.

Swett faces a serious challenge in the primary from Ann McLane Kuster, a local activist who has raised large amounts of money from New Hampshire donors — both are compelling, well-spoken women with strong ties to the state.

And should she move on to the general election in November, Swett will have to fight against a forceful anti-Democratic sentiment from her right and three fired-up Republican candidates eager to paint her as a “Washington insider.”

But at Friday’s filing, Swett seemed happy and upbeat, choosing to focus only on her differences with Charlie Bass, the likely frontrunner in the Republican race and former Congressman for the district.

The seat has no incumbent, with Democrat Paul Hodes running for Senate, and as Bass is the only candidate running who has held the seat before, he has been the target of much anti-incumbent sentiment.

“He was riding shotgun when George Bush drove the economy into the ditch,” Swett told her cheering supporters Friday, promising to fight for their interests should she be elected.

Swett said she sees anger right now as being directed toward incumbents, not necessarily Democrats.

“I see that in many ways it’s a ‘fix it’ election in people’s minds,” she said, pointing to the results of Tuesday’s primary. “And I think very much that I have a clear focus to do just that.”

Click below to enlarge pictures in the slideshow of Friday’s event:

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Up next: Check back tomorrow for an analysis of the race so far and best quotes of the week.


Bass and Giuda file, present contrast in conservatism

8 Jun

CONCORD, NH — Both Bob Giuda and Charlie Bass officially filed their candidacies this morning at the Concord statehouse, overlapping at the building as each signaled his intent to enter the race for New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional district.

But while both candidates will run as Republicans in the election, the two present very different brands of conservatism — ones they hope will appeal to voters in the September 14 primary.

Bass is running as a Washington insider, ready to jump back into politics, while Giuda is touting his more conservative record and committment to opposing big government.

With a new Washington Post-ABC News poll reporting that only 29 percent of Americans intend to support their current Congressman in the fall, it will be a test for Bass to see if voters view him as an incumbent or a fresh political face.

Bass signs his official declaration of candidacy forms while wife Lisa and daughter Lucy look on.

Bass, who served as the Congressman for the 2nd district from 1994 to 2006 before losing to current Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes, is a centrist Republican running on his Washington experience and familiarity with voters.

Though the seat has no incumbent, he is the only candidate running who has served in Congress before.

“We need people who are ready to go to work on the first day,” he said after signing his official papers in the statehouse Tuesday morning.

In contrast, Giuda, a state legislator, has attacked Bass for not being conservative enough or supporting fiscally responsible measures while in Congress. He said Bass’ voting record speaks for itself.

“Charlie’s experience in Washington was anything but conservative,” Giuda said. “Those who created the problem would be hard-pressed to explain themselves. We don’t want a Washington insider.”

Conservative Republican Jennifer Horn is also running for Congress in the 2nd district and has criticized Bass.

Both Giuda and Bass have criticized the Democratic party‘s current leadership — citing it as a factor in their decision to run for office — and called for a reduction in government spending and job creation as major priorities.

But while Bass joked about filing for office for a second time this morning and presented a more relaxed, positive message of his belief in the American people, Giuda came across as angrier about the current state of politics and more passionate about his concern.

Giuda speaks to supporters with his family behind him in the New Hampshire Legislative Office Building before crossing the street to file.

“Sometimes the victory is in the fight itself,” he said. “Make no mistake about it — I’m not going to Washington to be friendly.”

He said does not see legislators as political insiders and thinks they have a responsibility to reduce spending and oversight.

“As an elected representative, I never considered myself part of government,” he said. “The role of the representative is to restrict government.”

Meanwhile, Bass rejected questions about his conservatism, and said his Republican opponents have criticized government without providing viable solutions.

“It’s easy to complain,” he said. “”This election will provide voters with a clear choice.”

While the Republicans have been attending more campaign events recently, neither Giuda nor Bass drew as much support as Democrat Ann McLane Kuster did when she filed in front of at least 50 cheering supporters last week.

However, the few who did turn out to cheer Giuda and Bass — aside from family members and campaign workers — were certainly passionate in their support.

“Conservatism for me is about individual liberty. It has to be an absolute focus on the individual and it means small government and lower taxes, ” said Laura Condon of Bedford, NH. “I have wonderful faith in the American people and believe in the American citizen.

Condon, who cannot vote in the 2nd district election, said it is her faith in citizens that influences her views and gives her confidence in Giuda’s brand of conservatism.

“I don’t believe we’re bad people,” she said. “We are good people. And if we have more of our hard-earned assets, we can do more. And that’s why I believe in Bob.”

To see photos of the events, click here.

Kuster files candidacy, breaks donation barrier

2 Jun

CONCORD, NH — Ann McLane Kuster, a Democratic hopeful in New Hampshire’s 2nd District, officially filed her declaration of candidacy today, announcing she had hit her $1,000,000 fundraising goal last night, the most raised from New Hampshire donors in any Congressional race yet.

Ann McLane Kuster speaks to supporters after filing candidacy.

“I am running to represent New Hampshire people,” Kuster said in a speech delivered from the state house in Concord to a supportive crowd of more than 50, including her husband, two sons and local well-wishers.

Kuster filed her declaration of candidacy on the first day of the filling period, which runs through June 11. New Hampshire’s primary will be held September 14.

Kuster, a lawyer and activist who has worked to elect President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, said she hopes to bring common sense and decency to Congressional politics if she were elected.

“Frankly I think Yankee values like fairness, frugality and respect could go a long way in Washington,” she said.

Kuster spoke in favor of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal, equal marriage rights, abortion rights, job creation and clean energy policy. But she also said federal dollars must be used conservatively.

“I am a frugal Yankee,” she said. “I believe that every tax dollar must be spent wisely or not at all.”

Kuster has been traveling throughout the state this month, attending 30 house parties hosted by supporters in 30 days. She has put a large emphasis on grassroots support among voters.

“Together we are standing up,” she told cheering supporters at the rally. “Together we are demanding government that supports decency and democracy. If you believe in this, together we will shake things up in Washington.”

To see photos of the rally and Kuster’s speech, click here.