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Two U.S. Senate candidates refuse to heed plea for GOP unity
Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens have so far declined to indicate whether they will support former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown should Brown win the nomination to take on Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in the fall.
The primary for the Republican nomination to U.S. Senate has been heating up, as long-shot candidate Karen Testerman withdrew last week and threw her support behind Smith, leaving him and former state Sen. Jim Rubens in a three-way race with Brown.
“Your signature at the bottom of this letter, and returned to me, will send a clear message that you share our commitment to returning Republican leadership to every level of government in 2014,” the letter states.
Months in the making
Horn said the letter was not prompted by the surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his Republican primary in Virginia last week, nor by the aggressive sparring in the New Hampshire Senate primary.
All GOP candidates receiving the letter, except Smith and Rubens, appear to confirm that expectation.“I have been consistently active in the New Hampshire GOP for the past 20 years. I look forward to the opportunity to support the GOP slate of nominees in November,” Rubens wrote in a statement. “In this case, however, another candidate in this race is someone who has not participated in any debates or public, unfiltered forums. It would be premature of me to pledge my potential support to that candidate at this time before I have a clearer view of who they are, who they represent and what they stand for.”
Some rocky history
In the first district congressional race, former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta and his challenger, University of New Hampshire professor Dan Innis, have both agreed to sign the letter, as have second district candidates state Rep. Marilinda Garcia and former state Sen. Gary Lambert.
In 2002, Smith lost his re-election bid when he was defeated in the GOP primary by John E. Sununu. He skipped the Republican Unity Breakfast, citing the need to cast important votes in Washington, D.C.
Smith caused some concern among the party faithful in May when he was overheard telling former Manchester Republican Party Chairman Gerry Thibodeau that Brown will lose to Shaheen if nominated, and that if Republicans nominate Brown, “they (the GOP) will deserve to lose.”
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