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Kevin Landrigan's Granite Status: Chynoweth's big backers can't vote for him

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 14. 2018 12:40AM

When you’re first-time candidate Gray Chynoweth, well-heeled technology executive and a fixture in the Millyard elite, not all of your associates are going to be Democrats.

So when Chynoweth jumped feet first into the 4th Executive Council District race in April, one should not have been surprised some of his early and strongest supporters would be pro-free enterprise Republicans.

Trouble is, they apparently didn’t get the very public memo from Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

The deadline for changing party registration in time to cast a ballot in the Sept. 11 primary came and went on June 5.

According to local election officials, Chynoweth’s Campaign Treasurer Jeremy Hitchcock of Manchester and a key member of his Finance Committee, Philip Taub of Bedford, are still Republicans. That means they won’t be able to vote for him in the primary.

Had they changed party registration before June 5, our very generous election law lets them become independents, vote for Chynoweth in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary and on the same day change back to become Republicans if that is their wish.

Now they’ll have to just cheer Chynoweth on and help him raise money.

Campaign Manager Rich Thuma said it underscores Chynoweth’s broad appeal.

“Voters are looking for results, not labels. Just as Councilor Pappas was able to build a broad winning coalition, Gray’s unique background as a business leader and a problem solver is attracting the same kind of bipartisan support,” Thuma said.

Chynoweth has plenty of party chops having served years ago as the state head of New Hampshire Young Democrats along with a term as legal counsel to the New Hampshire Democratic Party. His father, the late Graham P. Chynoweth had represented Canterbury in the New Hampshire House as a Democrat.


Republican congressional candidate Bruce Crochetiere is surely setting himself apart in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary, but social conservatives might not decide that’s a good thing.

The successful Hampton Falls businessman made clear during remarks to the Hillsborough County Republican Committee last week what many had heard privately, namely that the self-funded candidate supported abortion rights.

When Crochetiere jumped into the race, he did his level best to duck the question.

But when a voter did the asking, Crochetiere came across.

“It’s a very, very difficult issue, abortion, but I believe it’s a decision that a wife, a mother needs to make, her family and her doctor. I am pro-choice,” Crochetiere said. “I respect all decisions.”

On another hot button issue, Right-to-Work legislation, unlike his Republican primary rivals, Crochetiere said he hadn’t made up his mind on that one.

“That goes either way. I am a real proponent of unions, I am both ways on that right now. I’ll talk to you later on that,” Crochetiere told a voter who asked him about it.

Both State Sen. Andy Sanborn of Bedford and former liquor law enforcement chief Eddie Edwards of Dover support Right-to-Work while all nine Democratic candidates seeking that party’s nomination vigorously oppose it.

Jim Merrill, a campaign consultant advising Crochetiere, said the candidate supports some abortion limits.

“Bruce is pro-choice but supports common sense provisions like parental notification and 48-hour waiting periods, while opposing partial birth abortion,” Merrill said.

The candidate was fuzzy last week on Right-to-Work but Merrill was not.

“Bruce supports Right-to-Work. He is pro-business and believes employees should have the freedom to choose whether to join a union or not,” Merrill said.

“His comments reflect his having spoken to union members and respecting their perspective that unions can provide value. Bruce is a lifelong Republican but new to politics. He is a problem solver with a fresh perspective — successful businessman, not a politician.”

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In praising Trump’s work on the North Korea summit, Sanborn in his own fundraising email took a shot at Edwards who late last year supported re-instituting the military draft.

“I agree with President Trump that we should use diplomacy first, but unfortunately, one of my opponents would rather see boots on the ground and “absolutely supports” reinstating the draft,” Sanborn said. “As a freedom-loving conservative, I will always prioritize peace through strength and I do not support bringing back the draft when we are not at war.”

Last winter, Edwards stressed the issue wasn’t a priority but he philosophically backs it.

“I absolutely support bringing back the draft,” Edwards said. “I absolutely support it. I’ll tell you why I support it. It’s nice when people talk about freedom-loving people. It’s not free. It’s never been free. It’s easy for us to blame kids. It’s easy for us to point the finger at college students and say, ‘This millennial group of 18 to 34, they have it wrong.’”

Michael Biundo, a campaign consultant advising Edwards, slammed back.

“It’s typical of a politician with a campaign surrounded in controversy to lodge a feckless attack on their opponents,” Biundo said. “As a veteran, Eddie is a firm believer in peace through strength. As an American, he is encouraged and hopeful by the President’s diplomacy.”

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Democratic candidate for Executive Council Garth Corriveau picked up another labor endorsement for his 4th District campaign, the latest from the New Hampshire Iron Workers Local 7.

Ironworkers Local 7 has about 350 members in the state and is the fifth union to endorse Corriveau.

“We trust Garth because of his track record. As a Manchester alderman, he stood against dangerous budget cuts that would have impacted our members, fought for infrastructure investments and has always been a tireless advocate for the working families he represents,” said Iron Workers spokesman Mike Smith.

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The Union Leader has confirmed Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig will become the latest prominent Democrat to endorse Molly Kelly’s bid for governor.

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The Republican race for Executive Council in the 4th District looks to be a two-person race of major candidates, pitting former Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas against former Hooksett State Rep. Jane Cormier.

Former council hopeful Jim Adams, a retired postmaster, had strongly considered another run for the post but for family reasons has decided to sit this one out.

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In the crowded, 1st District Democratic primary, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas scored another significant victory endorsement, this latest the backing of the New Hampshire Troopers Association.

The troopers don’t routinely pick sides in every race and the Manchester businessman Pappas is the first one this union has endorsed running for Congress in the past decade.

The group also isn’t as Democratic leaning as other labor unions.

In the past the troopers have supported both Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan for re-election in 2014 and former Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte who narrowly lost to Hassan in 2016.

Other Republicans to get the union’s support included presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and State Sen. Dave Boutin in 2014.

“Throughout his career as an elected official, Chris Pappas has been a big supporter of New Hampshire State Troopers,” said Association President Marc Beaudoin. “He has always been more than willing to listen to our ideas for solving the biggest problems in the state. As long as I have known him, Chris’s first instinct has been to think about what’s good for the people of this state.”

While on the council, Pappas has been generally supportive of law enforcement.

“From fighting our state’s most urgent crises to keeping our streets safe, New Hampshire state troopers put themselves on the line every day to serve and protect the people of the Granite State,” Pappas said.

Democratic Party spokesman Wyatt Ronan at the beginning of this week moved on to take this same role in the Pappas campaign.

As soon as Pappas made the offer to Ronan, Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley asked him to step aside from the party post.

Buckley has remained neutral in this primary despite a long close relationship with Pappas.

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The New Hampshire Democratic Party has been boosting its staffing with the naming of six regional directors who will help direct the party’s coordinated campaign from offices across the state.

The new directors are:

Slate Goodwin — who after organizing in Littleton in 2016, coordinated groups for U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama and then was an organizer in Virginia in 2017;

Owen Berger — an organizer in Virginia in 2017 who previously managed a North Carolina State Senate race;

Hannah Chisholm — a Nashua native who worked for Bernie Sanders throughout 2016 and helped former State Sen. Peggy Gilmour’s N.H. Senate campaign.

Austin Graber — a field organizer in Iowa in the 2016 general election.

Maria Dieters — another Virginia 2017 organizer who worked on an Illinois gubernatorial race and,

Bryce Trzebiatowski — a 2016 Wisconsin organizer who previously worked for the League of Conservation Voters.

“We are excited to have this incredible first wave of six new Regional Organizing Directors and 11 new organizers join our team, who are ready to capitalize on the tremendous Democratic energy that propelled us to nine special election victories and the sweep in the municipal elections,” said Chairman Raymond Buckley.

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With the candidate filing deadline approaching, some were sweating out whether there would be a primary opponent.

Former State Sen. David Boutin of Hooksett was one of those Republicans hoping as a moderate he would be able to avoid a social and fiscal conservative challenge in the primary.

The Republican still deciding whether to take him on is State Rep. Bill Kuch, R-Bow, who’d have to leave his very safe seat in the House to take a Senate primary flyer.

Cheshire County Republicans are bullish on the candidate they’ve got to oppose Sen. Rick Kahn, D-Keene, in a district that is very challenging for the GOP.

He’s Dan LeClair, a construction business owner from Swanzey who was a former police officer in Winchester and security officer at the Cheshire Medical Center.

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Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, got a big policy lift this week with the U.S. House passing her bipartisan bill to create Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers that would offer a full range of treatment services. Sen. Shelley Capito, R-WV, cosponsored the measure and both states would be strong contenders to get grants due to their high drug overdose death rates.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, is mounting her own bipartisan effort to force federal authorities to release reports about water contamination from so-called PFAS contaminants.

This is in response to published reports the Trump administration has had these reports for five months but not released them.

Shaheen has led nationally on the issue creating the first-ever, nationwide study into PFAS health impacts. She’s convinced Senate budget writers to endorse spending another $10 million on that study next year.

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