John DiStaso's Granite Status: Dan Innis gets the Scammans’ endorsements for Congress
The Scammans, who have been well-known hosts to major GOP political events over the years, are making their first endorsement in a primary since 2010, when they backed Sean Mahoney, Doug Scamman said.
With Republican former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta running again to try to reclaim the seat he lost to Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in 2012, former UNH business school dean Innis has been putting together a credible campaign.
The Scammans are among his most prominent supporters.
“If we’re going to change Washington, we need people like Dan down there,” Doug Scamman said in an interview. “He is the type of person I believe will work with everyone down there and make judgments on what makes the most fiscal sense.”
In an announcement to be released later today by the Innis campaign, the Scammans say, "Dan Innis is the new voice our Republican Party needs to win in November. “Dan has an outstanding record of accomplishment both as a small business owner and as head of the University of New Hampshire School of Business.”
They call him a “solutions-based Republican.”
Douglas Scamman served 13 terms as a New Hampshire state representative, including three terms as Speaker of the House. Stella Scamman served three terms in the New Hampshire House and is active with the Seacoast Republican Women.
The Scammans’ Bittersweet Farm in Stratham has hosted dozens of local and national Republican candidates over the years, including Mitt Romney’s formal announcement for President in 2011.
Innis said the Scammans “represent the best of New Hampshire public service and I will listen closely to their wise counsel during my campaign and in Washington.”
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
As we reported on Sunday (see item below: IMMINENT ANNOUNCEMENT), Brown has been telling Granite Staters and others that he intends to run and, as we reported on Sunday, he hopes to announce on or about April 9.
While it appears now that it won't be that particular date, plans are being made, and the announcement is fully expected mid- to late next week.
Brown said on radio station WGIR this morning that he is formally announcing "sooner rather than later."
But officially Brown has been a candidate since late March.
On file with the Federal Election Commission is a March 20 letter from Brown's attorney filing a "Statement of Candidacy."
Also the Scott Brown Exploratory Committee, while named an "exploratory committee" designates itself as a "principle campaign committee of a candidate."
Brown told talk show host Jack Heath, "We've had a wonderful time meeting with folks and really listening and learning about their challenges.
"Not only Obamacare, but the high cost of energy, and the high cost of taxes, and getting their kids jobs," he said. "Dealing with the high cost of education. So I would say yes, if people want to sign up and help they can go to ScottBrown.com and let me know your thoughts. We can take it from there. "
Shaheen campaign manger Mike Vlacich noted that Brown proposed a similar pledge in his race against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts in 2012 and both candidates signed it.
"In 2012, Scott Brown said Massachusetts voters deserved better than outside third-party attack ads. Well, the people of New Hampshire deserve better too. We hope, now that he is officially a candidate, Scott Brown will commit to the same standard he set in his last race on the other side of the border and tell the special interests to stay out," said Mike Vlacich.
Vlacich said Shaheen is "a common sense leader who makes a difference for people here: strengthening job-creating small businesses, expanding job training and opportunity, and protecting taxpayers and consumers."
Former Sen. Bob Smith was the first of Brown's GOP primary opponents to react to the confirmation that Brown is a candidate.
"I'm glad to welcome you, Scott, to New Hampshire but I think you've entered the wrong primary. You should be challenging Jeanne Shaheen as a Democrat. We now have three U.S. Senators in the race. One is a democrat (Senator Shaheen), one is 'Democrat-lite' (Senator Scott Brown), and one Republican (Senator Bob Smith)."
"The party bosses and central planners in Washington and New Hampshire have their candidate. Now the Republican primary voters can choose their candidate."
Smith reiterated his challenge that Brown debate him 10 times, once in each of the state's counties, including "outside" the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard."
The shipyard itself is in Maine.
Other Republicans in the race are former state Sen. Jim Rubens and conservative activist Karen Testerman.
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
Although Brown has not yet formally announced a candidacy, yet, and although he would have a GOP primary, the two groups are focusing on Shaheen and Brown in a letter signed by their presidents.
As part of the request, the two groups asked the Shaheen campaign to pull off of the airwaves a radio advertisement "attacking Sen. Brown for his reported refusal to agree to a pact to discourage outside spending in the upcoming campaign."
Shaheen campaign spokesman Harrell Kirstein said, "We're happy to discuss that anytime or anywhere along with the People's Pledge. It would be part of that discussion."
Shaheen signed the "People's Pledge" more than two weeks ago and sent it to Brown, who had proposed it and signed it during his 2012 race in Massachusetts against Elizabeth Warren.
Brown's campaign rejected the Tuesday request by the two groups, with his campaign spokesman pointing to web video made public by the state Democratic Party on Monday. In the video, Brown said, "The only pledge I'm taking is a pledge to get rid of Obamacare."
In their letter to Shaheen, Miles Rapoport of Common Cause and Robert Weissman of Public Citizen say, "You can have the kind of contest that has become all too common, and all too depressing, across America: one in which outside organizations invest millions of dollars provided by hidden donors in negative and often misleading TV ads, and candidates do the same.
"Or you can try something different: a campaign you and your opponent will be proud of -- no matter who wins -- and that will give voters an honest picture of each of you and your approaches to the critical issues facing New Hampshire and the country."
The letter was released by the Shaheen campaign, along with her own response letter.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2: REMATCH? Chris Pappas and Bob Burns are running for a second term on the Executive Council.
Pappas, a Manchester Democrat and owner of the Puritan Backroom Restaurant made it official in an email to supporters Tuesday.
The email did not mention the election of Republican Joe Kenney in the recent District 1 Executive Council special election but did say that there is now "no margin for error" on the council.
"Just this past week I cast the deciding vote to begin implementing the bipartisan Medicaid expansion compromise," he wrote. "That vote means the plan to provide health coverage to 50,000 New Hampshire residents is on track.
"Critical decisions like this hang in the balance in November."
Pappas will have three receptions to kick off his campaign: in Bedford on Wednesday featuring Gov. Maggie Hassan, in Manchester on April 16 and on May 8 in Londonderry featuring Bill Shaheen, husband of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.
In response, Republican Bob Burns, who lost to Pappas last year, said Wednesday he will run again, while we understand interest has been expressed by fellow Republican state Sen. Tom DeBlois of Manchester, who ran in 2012 but lost in a party primary, and Jim Adams of Pittsfield.
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
Brown is not an official candidate, yet, having set up an exploratory committee. But as we report first below, he and his team are making plans for an announcement, and it appears next week is the target. Brown has told Republicans he plans to announce on or about April 9, although the date has not yet been finalized.
Under the "People's Pledge, signed by Brown and Elizabeth Warren during their Bay State race in 2012, if third-party broadcast and online ads are run in the state, the candidate that benefits would pay 50 percent of the cost of the ad buy to charity. Brown
Two new videos from the NHDP tracked Brown at events last week.
At Frisbie Memorial Hospital, Brown tells a woman who approaches him and asks why he did not sign it, "The only pledge I'm taking is a pledge to get rid of Obamacare." When she approaches him a second time, he says, "I've already answered the question. Thank you for coming."
At another stop at Plymouth State University, Brown tells a woman that he is "not taking the pledge," and that both he and Shaheen are getting "help" from outside interest groups.
"But as I travel around the state, people aren't talking about that," Brown says. He says they are talking about Obamacare, "the high cost of education" and "the lack of an energy policy."
"I've moved on," he says.
When a student tries to present him with student petitions asking that he sign the pledge, Brown asks that the student give them to his daughter, who accompanied him at the stop.
He also said it was "disingenuous" for Shaheen to have asked him to sign the pledge while she was attending fund-raisers in California.
The NHDP, however, said the two instances showed "he doesn't think that what was good enough for Massachusetts is good enough for New Hampshire" and has "no regard for concerned students or the people of New Hampshire."
(Earlier Granite Status reports follow.)
And in the past week, lots of the talk about Brown focused on his comment to a reporter about the "carpetbagger" charges that have confronted, and will certainly continue to confront, the former Massachusetts resident and U.S. senator.
"But I have long and strong ties to this state. People know," he said.
The nonchalant comment went viral on social media, made the talk show circuit and was even brought up by none other than late nighter Jimmy Fallon.
Shaheen, on MSNBC the following day, said, "The late night comedians can decide whether Scott Brown's answers make sense."
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IMMINENT ANNOUNCEMENT. Whether Shaw is proved right has yet to be seen, but we understand that soon - very soon - Brown will be an official candidate.
Discussions are under way about the details, including where the announcement will be made.
HIGH MARKS FROM O'BRIEN. Meanwhile, Brown continues making the rounds, talking to activists.
On Friday, he spoke to about 40 people in Rollinsford after meeting privately with former Dover Police Chief Charlie Reynolds and fellow longtime GOP activist Dan Philbrick. He was scheduled Saturday to meet with Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield and attend newly elected Executive Councilor Joe Kenney's inaugural event at the Mount Washington Hotel.
There, he scored points with at least two leading conservatives, former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien and former House Deputy Majority Leader Steve Stepanek.
"Most Republicans understand that we would much rather work with an 80 or 90 percent friend of New Hampshire rather than having a 99 percent enemy of New Hampshire," O'Brien said, "someone who does not support New Hampshire values, as is the case with Jeanne Shaheen."
He said that while Shaheen will "continue voting against New Hampshire values, we understand that Scott will support those values."
In December 2012, after he had lost his Massachusetts Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren and in the aftermath of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Brown became the first Republican senator to speak out in favor of a ban on so-called "assault" weapons. He never got to vote on the issue in the Senate, but had previously supported it as a state legislator in Massachusetts.
"He's not a candidate at this time," Stepanek said, "but I'm very pleased with what I see, and he is somebody I could definitely endorse."
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COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR. Brown, by the way, is hiring a new communications director for his exploratory committee (and his likely future campaign committee).Elizabeth "Lizzy" Guyton was recently the communications director for U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and previously, a press assistant in Sen. Kelly Ayotte's office - and before that, in Ayotte's campaign.
She is a 2010 graduate of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.
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TOWN HALL EXCHANGE. State Republicans Friday cited a discussion between Shaheen and a man on the line during her telephone town hall last week as evidence she has no clear answers on Obamacare.
According to an audiotape of the conference call sent out by the NHGOP (and verified as accurate by the Shaheen camp), "Dave" told Shaheen that although he was grandfathered into his existing plan after the Affordable Care Act took effect, "our rate just went up 40 percent, and if we went onto the exchange, it would go up another couple of hundreds dollars."
He also claimed (inaccurately, as it turned out) that he and his wife would lose access to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital under the ACA.
Shaheen responded, "Clearly, there's a lot of misinformation about the Affordable Care Act."
But she acknowledged, "There are many hospitals not covered, and I certainly hope that's going to change, and next year when there are more competitors in the exchange, that will change."
Shaheen also pointed out that even before the health care law, many insurance rates "didn't stay the same.''
But the state GOP said the discussion showed Shaheen "is so out of touch that she doesn't understand the frustrations of her constituents who are suffering as a result of her deciding vote for Obamacare.''
Kirstein then focused on Brown.
BACK AT YA. As Brown and the Republicans focus on Shaheen and Obamacare, the Democrats continue to work the theme of "Oil Man" Brown.
We've learned the NHDP on Monday will hit Brown for opposing repeal of federal subsidies for five major oil companies.
"Two weeks (have gone by) and Brown still won't sign (the) 'People's Pledge' to keep that oil money out of the New Hampshire Senate race," the party will say.
HELPING OUT. Over the past few days, Gov. Maggie Hassan's campaign has been trying to parlay the passage and her signature of the Medicaid Expansion bill into campaign cash.
Her campaign sent out several email solicitations, including one on Friday, titled "Pretty Lucky," signed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III penned a fundraising email for U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster. Kennedy headlined a fundraising event for her this month.
WHAT ABOUT WALT? Potential GOP candidate for governor Walt Havenstein, apparently undaunted by questions raised about his residency, domicile and eligibility to run for governor, has advisers actively interviewing possible campaign staffers.