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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Another NH-NJ tie: Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Christie accuser, is UNH grad
Dawn Zimmer, the Democratic mayor of Hoboken, N.J., was brought up in Laconia and is a 1990 graduate of the University of New Hampshire.
Zimmer, 45, is embroiled in the latest Christie controversy. She told CNN on Sunday she is prepared to testify under oath that Christie administration Lieutenant Gov. Kim Guadagno threatened to withhold Superstorm Sandy relief funds from her community unless she supported a real estate project he favored.
Christie spokesman Colin Reed, who, by the way, is a former spokesman for Rye resident and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, denied Zimmer's allegations. But Zimmer held fast.
In a statement Sunday, Zimmer said she had met with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the region, and, "As they pursue this investigation, I will provide any requested information and testify under oath about the facts of what happened when the Lieutenant Governor came to Hoboken and told me that Sandy aid would be contingent on moving forward with a private development project," she said.
Zimmer said the Christie administration wanted her to approve a project by The Rockefeller Group, a real estate developer with ties to Christie's administration.
Ironically, Zimmer was recently featured in UNH Magazine, and her photograph appeared on the cover, for her efforts in leading Hoboken's recovery from Sandy. In the piece she recalled when Christie, after the storm, helicoptered in to Hoboken, which is directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and praised its residents as "tough, gritty, no-nonsense people."
Also in the UNH Magazine piece, Zimmer said she moved with her family to Hoboken from New York City because she it had the "small-town feel" of Laconia.
Zimmer is the second person with New Hampshire ties to be involved in Christie controversies.
Last week, New Hampshire Republican Party executive director Matt Mowers, a former regional aide in Christie's reelection campaign and, previously, in his administration, was subpoenaed to provide documents, texts and emails for a legisaltive probe of the George Washington Bridge lane closure"Bridgegate" scandal.
Mowers was the aide who initially approached the Fort Lee, N.J. Mark Sokolich about supporting Christie's reelection bid.
Hoboken is about eight miles south of Fort Lee on the west bank of the Hudson River.
(Our full Sunday, Jan. 19, Granite Status follows.)
But that poll was taken before last week's developments:
The pre-subpoena poll, taken Jan. 9 to 12 of 528 Republican primary voters by Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, had Christie, with 24 percent, ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, each with 12 percent.
PPP said 89 percent of New Hampshire GOP primary voters said they had heard about the scandal, and 64 percent said their opinion of Christie was the same as it had been before he admitted his administration (though not him personally) ordered the lane closures. Eighteen percent said their opinion of him had gone down, while 14 percent said they actually felt better about him than before.
Democrats, meanwhile, love Hillary Clinton more than ever. Her support jumped from 57 percent last September to 65 percent, with Vice President Joe Biden a distant second at 10 percent.
THE HOWARD DEAN PLAYBOOK. Republicans don't like Howard Dean's liberal view of the world, but they sure respect the former Democratic National Committee chairman's party-building abilities.
When Dean headed the DNC from 2005 to 2009, his 50-state strategy revolutionized how the national party applied its resources. Dean recognized the campaign season never truly ends and continued to pour money into state party organizations continually, rather than waiting until the height of an election cycle.
A wire report last week said the RNC was "getting out of the business of underwriting" state party organizations and doing television ads. The reference to "underwriting" was later removed after the RNC complained that the opposite was true.
"We learned a lot from 2012," he said. "You can't have these (RNC-funded) 'Victory' efforts, opening eight or 10 offices around the state, start in the final three months of a campaign and be as effective as you need to be. And you can't leave it to the candidates to build their own data bases" identifying voters.
Duprey, a confidante of Chairman Reince Priebus, said the RNC began last summer sending the NHGOP $12,000 to $14,000 monthly, which has funded two of the party's four staffers. The two are working exclusively on developing data bases and "strengthening our field operations," he said.
The state Democratic Party, by the way, has 11 staffers; two funded by the DNC.
"Two or three more people doing this for two years in New Hampshire is a lot more effective than having 10 or even 20 people come in for three months," Duprey maintained.
The RNC sent about $1.3 million to its state party in 2012. The state Democratic Party had received $3.2 million from the DNC.
Duprey also said that much of the 2012 funding the NHGOP and other state party organizations received was to support television advertising, but now, he said, "you'll see less of an emphasis on that and more on strengthening and building that database and using it the right way."
Duprey said Dean's approach to building state party organizations was "how the Democrats turned this from a red to a purple state. The Republicans have now come full circle and we're going back to that. We lost our way."
Today, Dean emailed Democracy for America supporters: "When I said we were heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina and Oklahoma... and to Washington, DC to take back the White House... it turns out I wasn't kidding.
"In a funny way, that moment was the launch of the 50 State Strategy -- a leave-no-community-behind framework for change that transformed the Democratic Party in the years to come, fueling my campaign to become DNC Chair in 2005 and the fight to take back Congress in 2006 and the presidency in 2008."
DEMOCRATIC GRASSROOTS TRAINING. The Democrats have their own association for the chairs of state committees. The Association of State Democratic Chairs has been headed for several years now by New Hampshire's Raymond Buckley.
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SEEING PURPLE. Last month, we reported first that veteran political pros Republican Pat Griffin and Democrat Jim Demers were about to head a new Boston office of the nationwide strategic communications and consulting firm Purple Strategies.
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RUBENS, TOO. Potential GOP U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown last week penned his second email in two weeks soliciting donations for the state GOP.
Brown, in a possible further hint of his political plans, cited "legendary statesmen like Senators Styles Bridges, Norris Cotton and Warren Rudman" as evidence of the state's "proud tradition of sending independent and fiscally responsible leaders to Washington."
-- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's camp, after reportedly raising $4.5 million in 2013 and $5.8 million since being elected in 2008, announced Friday her Senate office state director, Mike Vlachich, is moving over to manage her campaign. He'll be replaced by Sarah Holmes, a longtime adviser and current special assistant for policy and projects.
-- With a special GOP primary for the District 1 Executive Council seat on tap Tuesday, former state Sen. Joe Kenney said he has won the backing of 14 sitting state House members in the district and plans to air three television ads in the coming days. Former Belknap County Commissioner Christopher Boothby recently unveiled 11 House members and 15 county officials backing him.
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