Tag Archives: Republicans

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.


Democrats: too strong for their own good?

16 Jul

BOW, NH — When Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, addressed voters Thursday night before the two Democratic candidates took the stage, he looked a bit like a concerned parent urging the kids not to get too rowdy.

“The problem is, we have a late primary,” he told voters. “And if we get too excited in our corners and we can’t get back together, there isn’t time, and Charlie will slip in. The day after the primary, in fact, the night of the primary, I would like for us to come together.”

And in Buckley’s stern remarks to enthusiastic Democrats, he laid out their essential problem — the candidates might be too strong for their party’s good.

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Democrats Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett have bucked the national trend by raising more money than their three Republican counterparts combined, energizing voters across the state through house parties and grassroots activism.

Kuster has raised more money from New Hampshire donors than any other Congressional candidate in state history. And Swett is a well-known political name who has more than a million dollars on hand. The two have the power to wage a strong race against each other. Read about their fundraising here.

But for Democrats, the concern is that a bitter primary could waste time and energy — resources that could be better spent fighting the Republicans, as Buckley pointed out.

“This is going to be an exciting election,” he said. “And I think that either one of these women will be amazing members of Congress.”

The two were cordial and polite at Thursday’s forum, only explicitly diverging on a few issues such as the use of nuclear power.

Kuster emphasized her passion for women’s health issues and her work as an adoption attorney, and Swett talked about her experiences as the daughter of Holocaust survivors working for human rights. Both agreed that the economy is one of the most important issues facing Congress today.

The women were impressive and articulate, but in the end, it wasn’t Kuster or Swett who had the last word — it was the Democrat who turned to look into the camera of a Republican aide to say what many in the boisterous crowd were thinking:

“Get ready Bass, we’re coming for you!”

I live-Tweeted a good deal of Thursday’s forum at @primarywire. Follow me on Twitter, and check back on Friday for video footage of the forum.

Horn is a winner — at least for Nashua women

12 Jul

NASHUA — As Jennifer Horn likes to say, the future has never looked brighter.

Or it least it seems that way for the candidate, who had a new spring to her step Monday night as she touted her recent successes to the women of the Nashua GOP.

“Jennifer Horn for Congress is winning,” she told them.

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For the Republican candidate who was trounced in the 2008 general election by current Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, the news that she took the lead in a recent unofficial straw poll must have felt good. (Read the full story here.)

And the candidate presented a correspondingly upbeat message to her core group of supporters, many of whom have known her for years.

“When I stand up here and tell you that we’re winning, it’s because we’re winning,” she told the women. “But we’ve got to reach out to tens of thousands more.”

Horn spoke to the Nashua Area Federation of Republican Women at their July meeting. The group of self-proclaimed conservative women meets on the second Monday of each month. The members span a range of ages, and about 30 enjoyed dinner in the air-conditioned Crowne Plaza Hotel to escape the heat.

A copy of Laura Bush‘s memoir was up for auction next to the podium, and a meat tenderizer was used in place of a gavel.

“We are in this for the right reasons,” Horn told the women (and some men) in attendance. “And when I say we, I mean everyone in this room.”

Horn, who has lagged behind the Democrats and her Republican counterpart Charlie Bass in fundraising —  but has not yet released her second quarter totals — told supporters that it isn’t the money raised that matters. But she was equally quick to ask for donations.

“If you read the political writers, all they write about is money raised. Right now, it’s about raising votes.”

What happens on September 14 is still anyone’s guess, but it seems Horn will have the votes of the women she spoke to Monday night.

Weekly Wrap — June 27 – July 2

4 Jul

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

This past week has been pretty crazy. Primary Wire got many new visitors after I reported on a series of comments Republican candidate Bob Giuda said about gay marriage.

Giuda sat down with a news outlet to explain his remarks and several bloggers declared that I had caused the “death of a campaign,” (although this was probably a bit dramatic). Read the original story here.

I’m proud of the reporting I did and how the story evolved, although I would welcome your comments or suggestions. Leave one below or email me at elizakern@gmail.com

Here are the three things I took away from the experience:

1. Bob Giuda certainly stands behind his words — whatever those words may be

On Monday, Bob Giuda told a group of high school students that gay marriage was the “downfall of the nation,” the cause of the fall of Sparta, and now-famously said “What’s next? Men and sheep? Women and dogs?”

As I wrote these words down in my notebook, I knew that they would cause a stir. And I half expected Giuda to dispute them. They were unscripted, spoken to teenagers arguing with him about controversial topics, and probably not ones campaign managers would advise a candidate to deliver.

But to Giuda’s credit — and in a manner that is quite reflective of what I’ve seen of his campaign so far — he basically stood behind what he said. He unfortunately tried to qualify his statement about animals, but he did not issue a wholesale recall.

There is no doubt that his words were offensive to many people. But you have to hand it to the guy for sticking to his word.

2. But this really wasn’t what Giuda needed

But while the candidate’s sticking to his word were admirable, the words themselves were not — and others were quick to point this out. Gay rights activists as well as other politicians and political commentators labeled the remarks highly offensive, and called on Giuda to apologize.

And as politics guru James Pindell pointed out so aptly, “The most attention his campaign has ever received was on this gaffe.” Bummer.

3. Technology and journalism are each powerful — and together, can make a lethal combo

This statement might seem highly obvious. Of course journalism and technology are powerful. But watching one quote go from the candidate’s mouth to a talking point on the New Hampshire Democratic Party‘s website was really stunning.

In some ways, I thought the experience was more a testament to the failure of the “traditional” news media to cover the race than any of my own journalistic skill. Most papers don’t have the resources or the time to send reporters to every campaign stop,which is understandable, but means I am often the only reporter attending events.

There’s no reason for papers not to hire a tech-savvy intern to do some blogging or camera work, provide a forum for interested readers, or even get political activists to write about their experiences online. I’m as much of a print news junkie as the next girl, but it is a race for the United States Congress, after all. It’s time to get creative in covering it and take advantage of the resources modern journalism can offer.

One such resource that played an important role in this week’s event was Twitter. A micro-blogging website, it has become an invaluable resource both to reporters and politicians working to get their message out to a wider public, and I think it will only continue to do so. (For those politicians who haven’t mastered the art yet, you should. Soon.)

With one re-Tweet from the right person, an obscure blog post like mine can become a virtual internet sensation. While it does promote the sort of “sound bite” media we’ve become accustomed to, it also provides a vast amount of information to interested audiences and makes “on the ground” reporting possible. It also means candidates like Bob Giuda can’t make off-hand remarks and expect them to go un-heard.

It’s certainly not your grandmother’s journalism. But it’s pretty cool.

Candidates tout Christianity, conservatism at Concord church

30 Jun

CONCORD, NH — Monday night, a new face joined the Republicans jockeying for office — that of Christianity.

Religion — a topic that has been largely avoided in the race — made its appearance at a candidate Q&A Monday night at the World of Life Church in Concord, when each of the candidates emphasized the importance of religion as they spoke to voters.

It was understandable that the candidates addressed Christianity in their speeches, considering that they were speaking to voters in a church.

But it was a marked departure from their usual stump speeches — addresses that they rarely alter from one event to another.

Candidates prepare to engage in a Q&A at the World of Life Church in Concord.

Bob Giuda‘s speech strayed the least from his usual message. He emphasized themes of moral responsibility, ethics reform in Congress, and the need for churches to engage in politics — all in keeping with his general political view.

“Churches must, and will, be an important part of this American revolution,” he said.

Charlie Bass, ever the moderate, made a few vague remarks at the beginning of his speech about the Founding Fathers being Christians and the importance of religion in public life.

“I believe it’s important that churches be involved in the discussion about government,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”

But it was Jennifer Horn‘s speech that exited the most from its usual trajectory, as she spoke at length about her upbringing with its commitment to faith and public service and the role of religion in her own family’s life.

“Growing up with faith was probably one of the most influential experiences in my life,” she said.

All three of the candidates seemed quite genuine when talking about their faith and beliefs in regards to Christianity — this did not come across as a political ploy.

It makes sense that they would downplay their views on Christianity while campaigning in a fairly secular state — New Hampshire ranked second to last in most religious states, according to a Gallup poll.

But if religion has truly shaped the candidates — and certainly Horn — as they said Monday night, it seems that it would have made its way into the public discourse earlier, regardless of the topic’s appeal in the state at large.