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Dan Tuohy has covered politics in the Granite State since 1993 and has reported from the Statehouse. A New Hampshire native, Tuohy is a past president of the New Hampshire Press Association.
January 11. 2012 7:53PM

John DiStaso's Granite Status: Veteran Dem operative Matt Burgess to manage Maggie Hassan's campaign for governor


 

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18 UPDATE: HASSAN CAMPAIGN TEAM. Democratic candidate for governor and former state Sen. Maggie Hassan today announced the leadership team for her campaign.

In an announcement, Hassan said her campaign manager is Matt Burgess, a Nashua native and veteran political operative who most recently worked for four years with EMILY’s List and previously with the Service Employees International Union.

Burgess has also worked on several political campaigns dating back to 2000, when he was an assistant state director of Bill Bradley’s New Hampshire presidential campaign.

Since then he has been communications director for Betty Castor for U.S. Senate in Florida, Matt Brown for U.S. Senate in Rhode Island, Jill Long Thompson for Congress in Indiana and Lynn Rivers for Congress in Michigan. He was deputy press secretary for Gov. Mike Easley’s campaign in North Carolina in 2000 and also in 2000, worked for Martha Fuller Clark’s New Hampshire congressional campaign.

Hassan also announced she has hired Pamela Danielson as finance director. She has raised funds for U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and previously was the finance director for Gary Trauner for Congress in Wyoming, Glenn Nye for Congress in Virginia, and was deputy finance director for Jim Davis for governor in Florida. She also worked for John Edwards’ presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008 in Iowa.

Hassan has also hired as her campaign political director Wyatt Fore, who has been director of the Democratic House Caucus political action committee, deputy field director at the state Democratic Party and political director for the pro-same sex marriage group Standing Up For New Hampshire Families.

Overseeing paid media will be Joe Slade White, who has worked with hundreds of Democratic campaigns, including Vice President Joe Biden, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

Polling will be handled by Al Quinlan, president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a well-known Democratic pollster who has worked in New Hampshire with Gov. John Lynch and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

The campaign previously announced Nick Clemons and Theo Yedinsky as senior advisors.


(Earlier updates and the full Jan. 5 Granite Status follow.)

TUESDAY, JAN. 17, UPDATE: STEVE'S IN; PHYLLIS TO DECIDE. With the status of the first-in-the-nation primary likely to come under fire (again) from national Republicans later this year, state Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey tells the Granite Status that he intends to seek a full, four-year term in the post to continue to help in its defense.

The Republican State Committee is scheduled to elect the party's national committeeman and national committeewoman at a meeting on April 14.

Those elected will begin their terms on Sept. 1, after the Republican National Convention.

Duprey, a former state party chairman and former senior adviser to John McCain in the 2008 presidential primary and general election campaigns, was elected to the RNC post a year ago to fill the unexpired term of Sean Mahoney, who resigned shortly before running for the U.S. House.

“The debate over the 2016 primary schedule will start this summer and conclude at the Aug. 28-30 meeting at the convention in Tampa,” Duprey wrote us in an e-mail Tuesday.

“I think that my seniority and experience on the RNC will be helpful in protecting our primary and I would like to continue to carry out that role,” Duprey wrote.

“I also have worked to support our fund-raising efforts and to insure the RNC is fully engaged financially and at the campaign level this fall as we protect our legislative majorities, elect a Republican Governor and a Republican President.”

(More Jan. 17 updates follow.)

WILL PHYLLIS RUN? Long-time Republican National Committeewoman Phyllis Woods told the state Republican Party executive committee on Monday night that she'll decide within the next several days whether to run for a second full-term in the post.

Keene businesswoman and former Cheshire County Republican Chair Juliana Bergeron announced during the weekend that she will run for the seat regardless of what Woods does.

Woods was elected to the RNC in October 2007, filling the unexpired term of Nancy Merrill, who resigned to work with the John McCain for President campaign. Woods was then elected to a full, four-year term in April 2008.

Bergeron, who lost to Jack Kimball in a bid for state party chair a year ago, said in a statement she is running for the RNC post “to be a strong and vocal advocate for our first-in-the-nation primary tradition” and the party's platform and candidates.

NO CONFLICT. Bergeron told the Status Tuesday she sees no conflict running for the RNC while clearly taking sides in the upcoming Republican gubernatorial primary.

Bergeron in November signed on to chair candidate for governor Kevin Smith's political action committee. Smith is in a primary against Ovide Lamontagne.

Bergeron noted that if she is elected to the RNC she would not begin serving until Sept. 1, just 10 days before the Sept. 11 primary.

After that, she said she would work on behalf of whoever becomes he nominee of the party.

GEARING UP. With the GOP presidential primary history, the state's political parties and the Obama campaign are now looking to build up finances, staffing and grassroots support for what's expected to be a general election battleground.

Organizing for America, the grassroots arm of President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, issued a public memorandum Tuesday saying its organization in the state is growing.

Holly Shulman has moved from the New Hampshire Democratic Party to the campaign as state communications director, working in the campaign's Manchester office on Maple Street.

Shulman said that while the Republicans were battling in the primary, the Obama campaign employed 20 full-time staffers.

She said that in the week since the primary, five more full-time staffers, including Shulman herself and field organizers, have been added.

The Obama campaign also now has a total of seven offices open in New Hampshire. The original three offices in Manchester, Concord and Portsmouth have been joined in the past week by offices in Nashua, Keene, Dover and Lebanon, Shulman said.

The memo, by Obama state general election director Peter Kavanaugh, says the campaign has held “more than 600 grassroots events since April." Kavanaugh says plans call for State of the Union address "watch parties" and open houses in the regional offices.

State Republicans, meanwhile, say their financial situation is improving.

A memo sent by the party to the media Tuesday says a financial update was provided to the state party executive committee on Monday night.

The committee was told that since the summer, more than half of $128,000 in long-term debt has been paid.

The party says it brought in $65,000 in December, with about half from the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. It says it raised about $35,000 on its own, including a substantial amount from a direct mail piece.

The previous best fund-raising month in 2011 was $57,219 raised last January, John H. Sununu's final month as chairman, and its second-best month in 2011 was about $56,000 raised in March, when Jack Kimball was chairman.

The best month of the second half of the year was $24,879 raised in July.

The party is planning two fund-raisers: One on Wednesday at the Barley House in Concord and the second on Jan. 23 in Washington, to be hosted by Sen. Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Reps. Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass, along with former Ambassador Gerald Carmen, former U.S. Rep. Bill Zeliff, Bergeron, Duprey and veteran activists Brad Card, Jamie Burnett, Craig Stevens, Michael Hamilton, and Jim Foley.

The party still has two full-time staffers, executive director Tory Mazzola and field director Jacob Avery but the RNC is currently mapping out its resources for the coming general election. New Hampshire, as a swing state in the general presidential election and with two targeted Republican-held U.S. House seats, should figure prominently in the deployment of resources by both national parties.

THE DELEGATES. State Republican can send only 12 delegates to the Republican National Committee in Tampa this summer, and Mitt Romney, by finishing first with 39 percent of the vote, will get at least seven of them.

Second-place finisher Ron Paul receives three delegates and Jon Huntsman receives two.

Huntsman, of course, dropped out of the race on Monday and endorsed Romney, but his delegates will be free to cast their convention votes for him, anyway, or for Romney or Ron Paul.

The state Republican Party would normally be entitled to 23 delegates, but because the primary was held earlier than allowed by a Republican National Committee rule, the state GOP is being punished by losing nearly half its delegation.

Republican candidates must receive at least 10 percent of the vote to be awarded delegates. Since Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum fell just short of that mark, they were not awarded any delegates.

Each candidate submitted full slates of delegates and alternates to the Secretary of State's office last year. It will now be up to each of the three campaigns awarded delegates to narrow their lists and decide who will go to the convention.

The state Democratic Party, meanwhile, will send 35 delegates and two alternates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this summer to support the Obama's renomination.

The Democratic National Committee recently granted the state party a waiver from the DNC rule that required the primary to be held no earlier than the beginning of February, allowing a full delegation to attend.

The state party last Saturday began its selection process by electing 18 delegates at separate caucuses in the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts _ specifically in Manchester and Concord.

The 1st District delegates are Donna Soucy, Chris Pappas, Garth Corriveau and Richard Komi, all of Manchester, Lenore Patton of Hampton, Mike Rollo of Rollinsford, Mariann White of Orford, Dorothy Solomon of Albany and Carol Croteau of Kingston.

The 2nd District delegates are Erin Feltes, former U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes and former state party chair Ned Helms, all of Concord, Nan Stearns of Amherst, Patricia Lee of Hanover, Claire Helfman of Hollis, Alejandro Urrutia of Nashua, Ricardo Rodriguez of Hopkinton and Trevor Chandler of Laconia.

Separately, seven super-delegates will make the trip: Chairman Ray Buckley, first vice chair Martha Fuller Clark, Democratic National Committee members Kathy Sullivan and Peter Burling, DNC member-at-large Joanne Dowdell, Gov. John Lynch and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Under state party rules, the 18 elected delegates and seven super-delegates will chose 10 more delegates and two alternates on April 28.

Also on April 28, the Democratic State Committee will hold elections for the Democratic National Committee posts held by Sullivan and Burling.

Although neither has made a formal announcement, we've learned that both are expected to seek reelection.

(The full Jan. 12 Granite Status follows.)

THURSDAY, JAN. 12: A GOP RECORD. Voter turnout Tuesday set a record for a Republican presidential primary but fell short of the Democrats' turnout record set four years ago.

The Secretary of State's office released county, city and town summaries showing that 247,223 votes were cast for candidates on the Republican ballot.

That's a turnout of 45 percent of the 546,411 names of Republican and undeclared voters on the Jan. 4 checklist.

Democrats are not eligible to vote in the GOP primary, just as registered Republicans cannot vote in a Democratic primary. Undeclared, or independent, voters can vote in either primary.

As of Jan. 4, there were 314,278 undeclared voters and 232,133 Republican voters on the checklist, Secretary of State Bill Gardner said.

Gardner said that when the few blank ballots cast in the GOP primary are counted, the number will be closer to the 250,000 he had predicted, but will fall just short.

Still, said Gardner, it's a record for a Republican presidential primary. The previous high in a Republican primary came in 2008, when 241,039 GOP votes were cast.

Gardner said Democrats set the record for turnout in 2008, when 288,672 votes were cast.

Gardner said that 60,996 voted in the Democratic primary, far short of the 75,000 he had predicted. Of those, 49,480, or 81 percent voted for President Barack Obama. He noted that in 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for reelection uncontested, there were about 93,000 votes cast in the Democratic primary, which was 82 percent of the votes cast.

That's better than the 78 percent George W. Bush received in 2004, when he received 69,414 votes

Obama, by the way, received 282 write-in votes on the GOP ballot.

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A COMPLETE VICTORY. From age to ideology to income level to education level, Mitt Romney's victory in the New Hampshire Primary was sweeping.

CNN and CBS exit polling shows that while those who voted in the GOP primary are not ecstatic at the thought of Romney being their nominee, they're far happier with him than with any of his competitors.

The exit polling showed that 56 percent of those who voted in the primary felt Romney is the GOP candidate most likely to defeat Obama in the general election. That's not a ringing vote of confidence, but no one else came close. Ron Paul was second in that category, with 15 percent of those polled naming him as the candidate most likely to defeat Obama.

Another potentially troubling sign for Romney was that 61 percent said they would be satisfied if Romney wins the nomination, while more than one-third, 37 percent, said they would be dissatisfied.

Romney backers would certainly like that first number to be higher, but again, no one else came close to winning the confidence of even half of the GOP primary voters.

The polling showed that Romney won big among men, receiving 39 percent to 25 percent for Ron Paul. Forty percent of the women who voted backed Romney, double the amount who voted for Paul.

Not surprisingly, Paul trumped Romney among young Granite Staters. Paul received 46 percent of the vote among those ages 18 to 29, to 26 percent for Romney.

Romney polled strongest among those 45 and older.

Paul won among first-time primary voters, with 38 percent to 24 percent for Romney and 21 percent for Jon Huntsman.

Romney even slipped by Paul among independents, 33 to 30 percent. Huntsman received 23 percent of that vote, with no one else in double digits.

Romney received 49 percent of the vote of registered Republicans.

Romney won big in all ideological categories.

Romney edged Rick Santorum, 33 to 26 percent, among those identifying themselves as very conservative, with Newt Gingrich at 17 percent. Romney received 48 percent among those calling themselves “somewhat conservative,” with Paul at 19 percent. Among those viewing themselves as “moderate or liberal,” Romney received 38 percent of the vote, to 26 percent for Paul and 24 percent for Huntsman.

Despite his critics' claims that he's a wealthy elitist out of touch with ordinary Americans, Romney actually tied Paul, at 31 percent, among those whose incomes are less than $50,000 and easily won in the higher-income categories, winning 48 percent among the “$100,000 or more” crowd.

Romney led the field among self-identified fiscal conservatives, with 40 percent to 23 percent for Paul, and among those who consider themselves “moderate or liberal” on social issues, 34 percent to 24 percent for Paul.

Social conservatives backed Romney, 34 to 16 percent over Paul, and social “moderates or liberals” backed him, 38 to 28 percent over Paul.

The former Massachusetts governor won among the 51 percent of primary voters who said they support the Tea Party, receiving 41 percent of that vote to 22 percent for Paul. Romney won among those who said they are neutral on the Tea Party, with 42 percent to 27 percent for Paul. Huntsman won among the 17 percent of the GOP primary voters who oppose Tea Party, with 42 percent of that vote, to 28 percent for Romney.

Even among the 22 percent slice of GOP primary voters who called themselves “born again” or evangelical Christians, Romney won, with 31 percent, to 23 percent for Santorum and 21 percent for Paul.

Romney even did better among self-identified Catholics, with 45 percent to 17 percent for Paul and 8 percent for Santorum, than he did among Protestants, with 31 percent to 20 percent for Paul.

The polling showed that 94 percent of those who voted are worried about the economy. Sixty-one percent said the deficit should be the highest priority for the next President, while 39 percent said the priority should be jobs.

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NH: TOO MODERATE? Now that Romney has won, we can expect critics of the New Hampshire Primary to come out in force.

We'd expect such criticism to come mostly from the South, and mostly from staunch conservatives who believe the national party's base is to the right of the average GOP primary voter in New Hampshire. As a result, they'll say, New Hampshire has no business having such a key role in picking the Republican nominee.

They'll blame the lack of strong showings by staunch conservatives on New Hampshire voters, not on the fact that those staunch conservatives in the race — Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum — ran campaigns that were far inferior to the Romney effort.

The New Hampshire primary will, of course, survive. But it's up to future candidates to take advantage of New Hampshire's advantages. That starts with actually campaigning in the state.

Why did Romney win so big in New Hampshire? Sure, part of it is clearly because he is well-known here, but Romney was a neighbor in 2008, too, and where did that get him?

Although it may appear otherwise today, Romney could have been defeated here by a conservative who took the state seriously.

Rick Santorum began 2011 campaigning hard in New Hampshire, but was discouraged by the polls and late in the year, blew off New Hampshire for Iowa.

We, of cours,e know that Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann conceded the state to Romney.

Perhaps most surprising was Gingrich. Having won the editorial endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader on Nov. 27, Gingrich didn't show up for two weeks to take advantage of the bounce the backing gave him.

Republican National Committeeman Steve Duprey, who was a senior adviser to John McCain four years ago, but was neutral in this election, said Romney won here primarily because he worked hard here.

“The more moderate Republican won here for two reasons: because, yes, he's somewhat of a neighbor, but number two, he spent more time here and worked harder here over a longer period than Jon Huntsman or Ron Paul or any other candidate.

“If anything,” Duprey said, “I see Romney's win, and Ron Paul's second-place finish and Jon Huntsman's third-place finish as vindication of retail campaigning. My feeling is: If you want to do fine, you've got to put in the time.”

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MORE SANCTIONS. Duprey and fellow state RNC members Phyllis Woods and Wayne MacDonald, the state party chairman, are in New Orleans this week for the RNC's winter meeting.

The RNC's rules committee on Wednesday passed a resolution imposing additional sanctions on Florida for moving its primary up from early March to Jan. 31, a violation of an RNC rule.

The Florida, New Hampshire and South Carolina national convention delegations are being cut in half under RNC sanctions imposed for moving their primaries earlier and out of compliance with an RNC rule. But since Florida was the first to break the rule and prompted South Carolina and New Hampshire to also move up, its delegation will now receive “reduced priority” for its hotel site and seating on the convention floor.

Also, Florida's delegates and guests will not receive guest or VIP passes.

These penalties are being imposed despite the fact that the convention will be held in Tampa.

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BIG WINNERS. As Romney prepared to move on to South Carolina Wednesday, his campaign organization and donors took stock of his successes so far.

We've learned that about 250 of his biggest donors met with campaign officials in Boston Wednesday for an update.

And among those outlining how Romney won in New Hampshire were two of his top Granite State supporters, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and former Gov. John H. Sununu.

Both will continue to have key roles in Romney's campaign.

Several members of Romney's New Hampshire staff will follow him to South Carolina, although his New Hampshire spokesman, Ryan Williams, is ahead, leapfrogging to Florida.

New Hampshire senior adviser Jim Merrill also expects to be traveling with the candidate and campaign.

Several members of Gingrich's staff are also expected to move on, and former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, who temporarily returned to New Hampshire from Florida to help Gingrich, said he also may go to South Carolina.

John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News.


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