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GOP governors gather to support Lamontagne

Union Leader Correspondent

October 24. 2012 10:11PM
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, made a campaign stop in Exeter Wednesday night to urge voters to back Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne. (JASON SCHREIBER/Union Leader Correspondent)

EXETER - A campaign stop at Town Hall for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne Wednesday night was more like a reunion of former GOP governors with a guest appearance by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

One by one, ex-governors John Sununu, Steve Merrill and Craig Benson took the stage to take shots at Democratic opponent Maggie Hassan in her hometown.

'Only in New Hampshire can I come and get three governors, a governor-to-be, all to introduce a guy from New Jersey,' Christie said to cheers and laughter from the crowd of nearly 250 people who filled Town Hall to hear from Lamontagne and his supporters in the final days of the race.

Christie spent much of the time talking about New Jersey and mistakes he feels it made when a Democratic governor was elected in 1973 and vowed not to support an income tax, but three years later pushed through a 2 percent income tax to lower high property taxes.

Now, he said, his state has a 9 percent income tax.

'New Jersey has lived the horror film that your lives will become if you elect Maggie Hassan,' Christie said, adding, 'That's what happens when you let government get its foot in the door to a new avenue right into your pocket.'

With 13 days left until election day, Christie urged voters to back Lamontagne because they know his 'principle' and 'character.'

'This is about jobs, the economy and lowering taxes, not raising them,' Lamontagne said. 'This is about economic prosperity. This campaign all along, at the national level and right here in New Hampshire, is about saving America by starting to take control over government, by starting to free the free enterprise system and free the opportunity of the people in this state to create new jobs and better jobs.'

Sununu urged voters to support Lamontagne and the rest of the Republican ticket.

'We need help. The world is slightly crazy. They don't understand what's wrong in the State House sometimes and they don't understand what's wrong in Washington and we need you to help us help,' he said.

Hassan's campaign fought back after Christie's visit.

'Maggie Hassan is the only candidate in this race who has actually balanced the state budget, working closely with Governor Lynch at the height of the recession to make tough, fiscally responsible decisions, cutting spending and leaving a surplus without an income or sales tax,' the campaign said in a statement, adding that Hassan would veto any income or sales tax.

Hassan also charged that Lamontagne's 'radical ideas, such as opting the state out of Medicare, rejecting federal dollars funds for public schools, ending the guarantee of statewide kindergarten, and opposing equal pay laws and restricting a woman's right to make her own health decisions, will hurt middle class families and New Hampshire's economy.'

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Jason Schreiber may be reached at

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