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Granite Status: An anti-Shaheen ad getting attention
The news was that it was the first ad related to the 2014 U.S. Senate election. And it was the first ad critical of Shaheen aired in New Hampshire since her 2008 win.
It certainly caught the attention of the Shaheen camp and state Democrats. Her campaign launched a fund-raising email to counter the ad by this "secretive right-wing group."
The top consultant for the group is Mike Biundo of Manchester, former national campaign manager for Rick Santorum's presidential campaign. That relationship and Santorum's Twitter post about the ad sparked speculation that he, or his donors, funded the $110,000, two-week buy.
Biundo was once a top aide to then-Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. But there is no indication that the ad was a stalking horse for a Senate campaign by former U.S. Rep. Guinta.
In his opinion, the 2014 election will be "a huge referendum on 'Obamacare,'" which is beginning to take effect over the coming months.
In the most recent UNH Survey Center poll, released in mid-April, support for Affordable Health Care act declined to 34 percent from 41 percent in February, while opposition increased to 49 percent.
Couple that with Shaheen's fund-raising prowess and her opponents have a steep climb. But it's early.
"Only the Republicans want to go back and re-fight the health care battle. Everybody else knows health care reform is expanding coverage and reducing costs here and across the country," Kirstein said.
Meanwhile, Republican former state Sen. Jim Rubens said over the weekend that he continues to explore a run for the seat.
He said that based on telephone calls he's made for the past two weeks, "there is an intense amount of interest by active Republicans about winning this election. And there is no violent rejection of the approach that I'm taking to fiscal matters," which is a revenue neutral exchange of a carbon tax for decreases in individual and corporate taxes.
SMALL VICTORY, BIG SPIN. In an off-year, even small elections become big ones.
The state GOP heralded it as a major victory and while candidate Osgood received the bulk of the credit, points were also awarded to party political director David Chesley and organizer Tyler Drummond, who were able to get out the GOP vote with the help of volunteers from Sullivan County, nearby Vermont, and right-to-work forces.
"Last night Republicans took the first step in the fight to take back New Hampshire with a convincing House special election victory," wrote NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn.
"We were outspent," he acknowledged in an email to supporters, which Republicans were only too happy to repeat throughout the week.
In an email to the Status, he wrote, "A relative high point for the NHGOP is any 24-hour period without a self-inflicted implosion."
He told the Valley News, "Special elections never have real implications. Republicans will say it means things are turning around and Democrats will say it is because Osgood is so well-known, but from what I have heard, an election like this is about turnout. They don't campaign on the issues.
THE CHRISTIE DECISION. Will last week's move by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to shun some Republicans' wishes on the filling of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat have repercussions here if he runs for President?
He declined to appoint someone, presumably a Republican, to serve the remainder of Lautenberg's term through 2014 and thus strengthen the Senate for the GOP.
But strategist Tom Rath saw no New Hampshire fallout for Christie.
John DiStaso is senior political reporter of the New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @jdistaso.
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