Tag Archives: New Hampshire 2nd Congressional District

Kuster declares victory, GOP race still undecided

15 Sep

CONCORD, NH — Democrat Ann McLane Kuster easily coasted to victory this evening in her primary match against Katrina Swett. On Tuesday night, with 35 percent of precincts reporting, Kuster had won 68 percent to Swett’s 31 percent.

Democrat Ann McLane Kuster accepts the nomination with her family around her at the victory party in Concord Tuesday night.

Although the numbers will continue to trickle in, Kuster was euphorious Tuesday night when she greeted supporters in Concord, speaking of her desire for unity and bipartisanship in her November race.

“Voters will have a crystal clear choice in November.”

Kuster congratulated opponent Swett on well-fought race, and expressed her excitement to beat the Republicans in November.

“She is a strong, intelligent, and fearless voice for our state. And I promise you Katrina, I will continue that.”

Kuster will face a Republican opponent in the general election, but at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the GOP race was too close to call.

Frontrunner Charlie Bass was locked in the race with opponent Jennifer Horn, with neither side declaring victory or defeat. Bass seemed confident that he would pull off the win, but votes will continue to be tallied into the night.

Check back later on Wednesday for updates on the GOP race, photos from Tuesday, and analysis of the crazy primary 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.

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Hodes highlights Dem strength at Keene community lunch

12 Sep

KEENE, NH — As Paul Hodes shouted about taking on the Republicans in November to an enthusiastic, applauding Democratic crowd in Keene on Sunday, it was clear that liberals in New Hampshire won’t go down without a fight.

Paul Hodes, right, and his wife Peggo, perform for community supporters in Keene on Sunday.

Hodes is the Congressman in the 2nd district vacating his seat to run as the the sole Democratic nominee for the Senate. A relatively popular Representative among liberals, he trounced Jennifer Horn in his 2008 reelection and made headlines beating then-incumbent Charlie Bass in 2006.

But he faces a tough Senate fight this fall, no matter who Republicans elect on Tuesday. So far, he is trailing likely Republican nominee Kelly Ayotte by several points.

But the community support he received Sunday showed  the degree to which he has benefitted from running without opposition as the Democratic nominee, and provides an interesting contrast with the race between Democrats vying for his seat, which has been a bitter, at times unpleasant, struggle.

On Sunday he recieved enthusiastic support from a clearly very liberal crowd — many of whom, incidentally, were sporting Kuster stickers.

The Congressman, who has run against (and beaten) two of the three Republican candidates running in the 2nd district race, thinks whoever the Democrats elect on Tuesday will run a strong November fight against the conservatives.

“We’re going to have on Tuesday, or whenever the results come in, a tremendous Democratic candidate,” he said.

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Check back this evening for a post on Democratic candidate Ann McLane Kuster’s appearance at Keene State.

Dems keep it civil in Friday debate, focus on policy

10 Sep

HENNIKER, NH — Weeks of campaign anger and insults came to a head this week when Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett clashed visibly and personally in Wednesday’s debate, but the candidates put their discord aside Friday when they took the stage at New England College.

The two women presented a smart, focused, and driven image, hitting hard on policy issues such as tax code, Social Security and troop withdrawals in Iraq. Democrats can be pleased that whoever they elect will be a formidable candidate in November — both women did very well.

But the debate highlighted the inherent differences between the two candidates, and the degree to which Tuesday’s winner will have a tough fight ahead of her.

The candidates address a small audience at New England College Friday night. The Republicans will debate on Saturday at noon.

In a sharp contrast with Wednesday’s event, Kuster and Swett both largely refused to engage in attacks of the other, and spoke of their desire to raise the level of debate in their race. It would have seemed refreshing — to anyone who missed Wednesday’s debate.

It was particularly clear Friday night that the Democratic race is as much about voters picking a brand of politics they prefer than ideology — both candidates are fundamentally liberal, pro-choice, pro-Obama women who believe in government’s role in securing health care, economic growth and middle class opportunities.

But the two have vastly different personalities and brands of politics, which was clearly on display Friday night.

Swett is a something of a political bulldog. A mother of seven and candidate several times before, she took the lead in answering questions and used animated hand and facial gestures to convey her passion. She is spunky and passionate, comfortable talking policy and using anecdotes (however saccharine at times) to illustrate her points. When she talks of fighting for the middle class, it seems that she could break out boxing gloves at any minute. On Friday, she brought her A-game.

Kuster, in contrast, never looks quite as comfortable  behind a podium as she does in voter living rooms. She can come off as slightly plodding in debates, repeating her mantra of running a grassroots campaign. But while she lacks Swett’s flair for drama, she has a grounded, Yankee sensibility that appeals well to voters in a more personal settings. She is likable and articulate at the same time, and on Friday, seemed at ease in her role as the progressive candidate.

The two are set for a competitive race on Tuesday, but the questions on Friday already hinted at the challenges to come. Debate moderators asked both women if they thought the negativity of the campaign they’ve waged will serve as ammunition for whoever the Republican elect next week. While both claimed this would not be the case, GOP blogger glee last week told another story.

Democrats will have a tough choice on Tuesday, but it’s the contest that starts Wednesday that they should be worried about — in some ways, the fight has only just begun.

Check back Saturday afternoon for a post-event analysis of the Republican debate. It will be held at noon at New England College. Read more information here.

Dems to debate tonight

10 Sep

Democrats Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett will debate tonight at 7 p.m. in advance of Tuesday’s primary.

The two faced off this 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 roses,” and a clip of the two debating the divisive issue of lobbying is worth a watch.

Tonight’s matchup provides an opportunity for the candidates to either begin repairing the negative image they have perpetuated, or to further solidify the perception that theirs is an ugly race — and one that will help whichever Republican is elected in November.

Either way, it will be a good measure of the Democratic contest before going into the final weekend of the primary campaign.

The debate will  be held at 7 p.m. at the Henniker campus of New England College, hosted by the school’s Center for Civic Engagement in conjunction with other media outlets. The Republican candidates will debate on Saturday at noon.

It will be broadcasted by WGIR, and a post-debate analysis will posted on Primary Wire this evening.