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John DiStaso's Granite Status: UNH benefactor Paul forming SuperPAC
The Granite Status has learned the wealthy Republican donor and philanthropist, who donated $25 million toward the establishment of the University of New Hampshire business school in his name, is setting up a SuperPAC whose first goal is to help his friend Dan Innis become a congressman.
Sources say Paul is starting off by putting about $500,000 of his own money into the uncoordinated independent expenditure effort and is looking to double that through fundraising.
Leach was operations director of the state Republican Party during John H. Sununu's tenure as chairman. He previously worked as a staffer in then-Sen. John E. Sununu's office.
"I want to bring attention to those candidates who offer a way to reach those common goals" shared by "most in New Hampshire."
Paul is the CEO of Headlands Asset Management LLC, an investment management company he founded in 2008. He also owns West Biofuels and Peter Paul Wines.
ANNIE AND THE EMPLOYER MANDATE. U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster was against delaying the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate before she was for it.
The question is, when did she change her mind and why?
President Barack Obama last July 2 announced the "Obamacare" mandate that all businesses provide health insurance for their employees would be delayed to Jan. 1, 2015.
In that vote, Kuster was against it.
That's the way the situation remained until just two weeks ago. On Feb. 10, the Obama administration further delayed the mandate to Jan. 1, 2016, for a slice of the business community - those with 50 to 99 employees who work at least 30 hours a week.
When the Republicans heard that, they, not surprisingly, launched into election-year criticism.
Ian Prior of the National Republican Congressional Committee said Kuster "has been a disaster" since taking office.
Criticism aside, the question remains: When did Kuster change her mind on the employer mandate delay, and why?
Republicans have recently introduced the "Freeing Americans from Inequitable Requirements" (FAIR) Act, H.R. 4064.
The bill would delay the individual mandate in line with the employer mandate - that is "until the employer health insurance mandate is enforced without exceptions."
From Kuster: "The Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law, and I am committed to working with both parties, the business community, and all stakeholders to take common steps to improve it. In light of difficulties with the implementation of this law, I am pleased that the President has taken appropriate steps to give more time to mid-size businesses to make a smooth transition and comply with the law.
"Instead of refighting old political battles, Republicans and Democrats should work together to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, fix any problems, and move forward so we can ensure every hardworking Granite Stater who needs it has access to health care."
IS HE IN? The Granite Status confirmed Friday that former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has been making calls during the past two weeks to prominent New Hampshire Republicans.
The state's two top GOP legislative leaders, Senate President Chuck Morse and House Republican Leader Gene Chandler, told us they were called by Brown last week.
And the takeaway was that Brown is serious about a potential run, but no definitive word on when he will make a final decision.
Sununu called Brown "potentially a really exciting candidate, and I love to hear that he's making these calls. It's a winnable race. It appears he's taking the right steps if he is going to run."
Brown recently renewed his contract as a contributor with Fox News, and he also has a trip to Iowa planned in April, leaving his intentions unclear.
But if Brown is going to run, the time is approaching for him to make a move, many Republicans say.
NHYR SPAT. With the District 1 Executive Council special election a little more than two weeks away, March 11, each state party is working feverishly on behalf of its candidate, Republican Joe Kenney and Democrat Mike Cryans.
Joining will be some members of the New Hampshire Young Republicans executive board - but not all.
NHYR Chairman Molly Sanborn says her group had been planning to do its own phone bank for Kenney on Thursday, but after Guinta camp officials rescheduled theirs from the night of a recent snowstorm to Thursday, the idea brought up at a recent board meeting was to combine the two.
First, to team with Team Guinta would make it look like the NHYR was taking sides in the primary. And second, the Innis backers were opposed to helping Kenney because of his opposition back in 2007 to civil unions and allowing gay people to adopt children.
Innis had no role in his supporters' complaints and, in fact, when Kenney won the GOP Executive Council primary on Jan. 21, he posted his congratulations on Twitter.
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NEW CAMPAIGN MANAGER. Still on the congressional front, 2nd District U.S. House candidate Marilinda Garcia has a campaign manager.Tom Szold is a product of the GOP-oriented DCI Group public affairs firm in Washington, where he worked on health care, immigration and technological issues.
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VOICING OPPOSITION. The Manchester Republican Committee voted last Thursday to oppose "Medicaid Expansion and Obamacare in New Hampshire," putting it at odds with the GOP leadership in the state Senate.
The Manchester GOP chair, Tammy Simmons, said: "While some Republican senators have declared their support for this bill, the average Republican voter opposes Medicaid expansion and realizes that it could ultimately lead to a new form of broad-based tax for our state.
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"PROMINENT DEMOCRAT." That's all the state Democratic Party is saying at the moment about its featured speaker at its annual Shaheen-McIntyre "100 Club" fundraiser dinner, slated for April 19 at the Executive Court in Manchester.
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