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Candidate Hassan picks up pace of out-of-state travel

By DAN TUOHY
New Hampshire Union Leader

May 03. 2016 10:27AM
Gov. Maggie Hassan. (Courtesy)

Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-Newfields, spent 12 days in April out of New Hampshire, according to political travel records provided by her U.S. Senate campaign.

Hassan campaign manager Marc Goldberg, in a letter to Republican State Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Horn, provided the travel dates as a courtesy response to previous requests for out-of-state travel.

The campaign has previously disclosed that Hassan traveled out of state for political purposes 10 days in February and eight days in March. Hassan, a two-term governor, is running for U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH.

The trips include a mix of party, labor, and political groups and events. The dates she was out of state came amid or between public events in New Hampshire, and some away days, eight, included stops in state, according to her campaign.

Hassan visited Washington, D.C., on April 3-4, and on April 4 spoke to the International Association of Fire Fighters. She returned to Washington on April 26.

The governor was in New York City on April 10-12, traveled to Austin, Texas, on April 21, and to Massachusetts on five different days. On one of those days, April 29, she also visited Rhode Island.

“The state incurred no travel costs for the governor’s above travels,” Goldberg wrote.

Outside of the campaign schedule, the governor was briefly out of state April 13, when she delivered a speech at the Robert C. Wood Lecture, named for her father, at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Wood was a president of the UMass system, and a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Hassan’s March travel included campaign events and fundraising, as well as attendance at an Emily’s List event March 10, with the governor leaving March 10 to head to New York before returning to the Granite State.

The governor reported 10 travel dates in February, including a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event in Boston on Feb. 28. Hassan attended the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 18-22.

Other out-of-state travel dates in February were Philadelphia on Feb. 2, Massachusetts on Feb. 11 and Feb. 16, New York City on Feb. 18, and Chicago on Feb. 29.

The Hassan campaign reported no out-of-state travel in January.

Asked about the senator’s travel schedule, Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson did not specify specific dates, but issued a statement pointing to the differences of the two positions.

"Governor Hassan is the chief executive of the state but was absent for half a month,” Johnson said. “Trying to compare her political travel schedule with Kelly’s is comparing apples to oranges.”

Melissa Miller, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, responded with a statement criticizing Ayotte for not doing "her job" as a senator with the Senate GOP leadership opposing hearings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick B. Garland. "This is some serious hypocrisy from Kelly Ayotte," Miller said, saying Ayotte refuses to disclose her own political travel schedule.

The high-profile U.S. Senate race is attracting notable independent expenditures from outside groups supporting Ayotte and Hassan, but the candidates are busy raising cash for their respective campaigns. In the April quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission, both reported comparable fundraising hauls, approximately $2.26 million each, with Ayotte with an advantage in cash on hand - $6.9 million to $2.9 million.

Former state Sen. Jim Rubens, a Republican from Hanover, is also running for the GOP primary.

(This article was updated at 5:15 p.m., with comments from the Ayotte campaign when asked about the candidate's travel.)


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