Tag Archives: Paul Hodes

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.


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.

Republican candidates speak to voters at spaghetti dinner

23 Jun

NORTH HAVERHILL, NH — Charlie Bass, Bob Giuda, and Jennifer Horn spoke tonight at the Haverhill Republicans Q&A, joining conservative candidates for offices from Governor to local Sheriff.

The three gave their standard campaign speeches to an audience that was mostly other candidates — but included some constituents from the area, in the northwest section of the district near the White Mountains.

None of the candidates directly criticized each other, although criticism of the Democrats was predictably present.

“This is our opportunity this year to change the district,” Bass said. “Change it from Paul Hodes to anyone that isn’t Annie McLane Kuster and Katrina Lantos Swett.”

The event lasted about two hours, although the candidates were limited to three minutes each. More than 20 candidates for various offices spoke.

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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.

Horn echoes Giuda’s anger, presents more polished image

11 Jun

HUDSON, NH — When Republican Jennifer Horn speaks, stereotypes of crazy Tea Party candidates fade away, and it’s easy to tell that she hosted a current events radio show and has run for Congress before.

Horn, who spoke Thursday night at the Hudson Republican Committee meeting, combines Bob Giuda‘s strong conservatism with Charlie Bass‘s political ease, presenting a potentially formidable challenge to both men in the September 14 Republican primary, which will serve as a litmus test of voter anger with Democrats in Washington.

Republican Jennifer Horn listens to a supporter speak on Thursday night in Hudson, NH.

Bass, who served in Congress from 1994 to 2006, has served as a handy punching bag for his Republican opponents in a race with no incumbent (Democrat Paul Hodes is running for Senate).

And with anti-incumbent fever at an all-time high, both Giuda and Horn have received major props from supporters for criticizing Bass’s moderate record in Congress.

Both Horn and Giuda fill a void in running to Bass’s right, but the difference in their presentations of the anti-Washington, anti-government message couldn’t be greater.

Giuda comes across as intense and serious, a self-proclaimed fighter who seems excited at the prospect of stirring up controversy. He has said he doesn’t see legislators as part of government, but rather checks on its power, and that he wouldn’t go to Washington to make friends.

Horn, who was the Republican nominee in 2008 who lost to Hodes,  in contrast presents a more positive, collected image that could appeal to voters who are enraged by Washington but not quite at ease with Giuda’s hard line. A breast cancer research advocate, former radio show host and mother of five, Horn rails against the Democrats and their deficit spending in a manner that seems less personally combative.

In Thursday  night’s meeting, she also displayed a slight sense of levity and candor that her Republican counterparts have lacked thus far in their interactions with supporters and the press.

“What are you going to do now that Charlie Bass wants his seat back?” one woman in attendance asked.

“I’m sorry, whose seat?” Horn responded, laughing. “This is about wining the seat back for the state of New Hampshire.”

There is no doubt that Horn is taking her role as a fighter in this race seriously, but how voters will respond to her personal brand of New Hampshire conservatism remains unclear.

Up next: Check back Friday afternoon for an update on Democrat Katrina Swett officially filing in Concord.