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Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: AARP asks presidential hopefuls 'to take a stand'

December 02. 2015 11:36PM

Count AARP among those giving New Hampshire extra attention as a swing state in 2016.

AARP is asking presidential hopefuls to “take a stand” and propose solutions to strengthen Social Security during a summit Tuesday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.

“It’s fiscally irresponsible to kick the can down the road,” said Todd Fahey, state director for AARP. “It’s fixable, but it needs action.”

Candidates are invited to appear at the AARP Social Security Summit in person, have a surrogate attend on their behalf, or pre-recorded a video message.

The summit begins at 10:30 a.m. with some expert speakers, which will be moderated by Alison Shelton of the AARP Public Policy Institute. The 12-minute segments featuring presidential candidates will be moderated by Scott Spradling.

According to AARP, nine out of 10 Granite Staters 50 or older said Social Security benefit is a priority. The average monthly Social Security benefit is about $1,312.

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DEMOCRAT BERNIE Sanders, who taped a video message for the AARP summit on Friday, will resume campaigning Saturday with town hall meetings in Keene and Plymouth.

The Keene event is at the Redfern Art Center at 90 Wyman Way at 1 p.m. The Plymouth event is at the Hartman Union Building at 17 High St., at 4:30 p.m.

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(Granite Status published Dec. 3 continues below here:)

Ballot to have vintage look to mark 100 years of primary

The 2016 presidential primary ballot should have a real vintage look to it.

Secretary of State Bill Gardner plans to replicate the font used on ballots that were cast in the first primary 100 years ago.

The Legislature and governor have authorized Gardner to place a special heading on the ballots to commemorate the New Hampshire primary’s centennial anniversary.

“We’ll have a font that looks similar, if not the same,” Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said. “The ballot will have a special look to it.”

Approximately 765,000 ballots will be printed — and will be off the press before Christmas.

As the state’s chief election officer, and protector of the first-in-the-nation primary, Gardner has yet to announce the official date of the New Hampshire primary. As in previous cycles, he is waiting to ensure no other state tries to leap-frog ahead. Both parties are planning for it to be Feb. 9, 2016.

With that date in mind, the clock is ticking.

The Secretary of State must send out ballots to military and overseas voters 45 days before the primary, per the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. So, if the primary is to be held Feb. 9, that deadline is Dec. 26. There’s not much wiggle room left.

Any campaigns, supporters, or reporters with hotel reservations for that time should not worry about having to book other nights. Feb. 9 is looking solid.

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OUT-GOING PORTSMOUTH City Councilor Stefany Shaheen may soon be going all out in the race for governor. At least, that’s according to a growing buzz about her potential candidacy. Shaheen has yet to publicly announce anything short of acknowledging people have encouraged her to run. If she does jump in, she would be the third Democrat in the race, including Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and Mark Connolly, the state’s former director of securities regulation.

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PRESIDENTIAL candidates listen to voters talk about everything from global threats to local concerns, such as the Northeast Energy Direct project, which proposes extending a natural gas pipeline through southern New Hampshire. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders dove into the issue Sunday in his speech before about 1,400 people at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s “Jefferson Jackson Dinner” in Manchester. “I believe the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline that would carry fracked natural gas for 400 miles through 17 communities is a bad idea and should be opposed,” said Sanders, becoming the loudest presidential hopeful on the subject.

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REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL hopeful John Kasich announced that Belknap County Sheriff Craig Wiggin will be chairman of his “law enforcement advisory committee.” The 12-member group includes active and retired police officers, including Berlin Police Chief Peter Morency, Lincoln Police Chief Ted Smith, and retired Belmont Police Chief Vinnie Baiocchetti.

Kasich is back in state today, with a town hall meeting at Fisk Elementary School n Salem at 6:30 p.m. On Friday, he speaks at the American Legion Sweeney Post in Manchester at noon and on Saturday he holds town hall meetings at the Claremont Community Center at 10:30 a.m. and Colby Sawyer College at 1:30 p.m.

The Ohio governor has hired three additional campaign staff in the Granite State, including Emmalee Kalmbach, for communications. Kasich has a total of 11 full-time staff members here.

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FLORIDA SENATOR Marco Rubio will make his second visit of the week as the guest speaker Friday for the Seacoast Republican Women’s holiday luncheon at Portsmouth Country Club in Greenland. The Republican presidential hopeful will be back next week, too, his campaign says.

Rubio’s team is also branching out. His campaign is moving its office at 1750 Elm St. in Manchester to the third floor, which is more than four times the size of its current first-floor office there (previously an office for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein in 2014).

“Marco’s campaign is growing here each day, and we’ve outgrown our existing office as more and more volunteers come in daily to hit the phones and doors for him,” said Jim Merrill, senior adviser to Rubio. “We’re excited to move into our new, much larger office space this week, giving us far more room to accommodate our activists going all out for Marco over these final few months.”

Earlier this week, Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield endorsed Rubio at a campaign stop in Laconia. Rubio was one of a couple of presidential hopefuls vying for Merrifield’s endorsement, and made stops in the Three Rivers City to lend the mayor some visibility during his re-election campaign.

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BACK TO NEW HAMPSHIRE: Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton holds a Women’s Economic Opportunity Summit at Southern New Hampshire University around mid-day today, before a town hall meeting at the McConnell Center in Dover at 4:30 p.m. Clinton will visit a Nashua business to start the day.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., returns Friday for the Connecticut River Run and remarks at the Lebanon Elks Lodge at 5 p.m. The presidential hopeful stops by the holiday gathering at the Keene Country Club at 7 p.m. Friday, and he speaks at the Women’s Initiative Forum at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in Manchester at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Republican hopeful Jeb Bush is back Tuesday, with his first event being 1:30 p.m. for the Devine Millimet “First in the Nation” candidate series at the law firm’s office at 111 Amherst St., Manchester. Bush has a town hall meeting Tuesday night at 7 at the American Legion in Hooksett. On Wednesday, he attends the “Life of the Party” young professionals event at noon at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. On Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., Bush has a town hall meeting at Hampshire Hills Athletic Club in Milford.

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Quick takes:

• Nine Republicans, including five state lawmakers, will endorse Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina today. State Rep. Ernie Bridge of Unity, Frank Ferraro of Exeter, Robert and Kathleen Molway of Concord, state Rep. Brian Gallagher and Karen Gallagher of Sanbornton, state Rep. George Hurt of Gilford, Rep. Herb Vadney of Meredith, and Rep. Michael Vose of Epping.

• Dr. Ben Carson announced the endorsement of nearly two dozen faith leaders, who gathered Wednesday in South Carolina for prayers and a discussion of major issues facing the country. Dr. David Berman of Swanzey and Pastor Michael Small of Litchfield were two Granite Staters among the faith leaders supporting the Republican presidential hopeful.

• Photographer Roger Goun has a “Candidates Connecting” photo exhibit reception Jan. 22 at the Millspace Center in Newmarket. It begins at 5 p.m. A selection of his large, black-and-white images from the campaign trail will be on display from Jan. 16 to Feb. 7, two days before the 2016 primary.

Dan Tuohy covers politics and government for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Email news and information to Follow on Twitter: @tuohy

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