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Dan Tuohy has covered politics in the Granite State since 1993 and has reported from the Statehouse. A New Hampshire native, Tuohy is a past president of the New Hampshire Press Association.
August 27. 2014 8:42PM

Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Bob Smith gets A+ from NH Firearms Coalition

The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition issued its "Primary Grades" report Saturday and U.S. Senate Republican hopeful Bob Smith earned an A+, which is a mark given to what the group calls a "Second Amendment Leader."

Republican hopefuls Scott Brown received an "F" and Jim Rubens received an "RS," which "indicates a deliberate refusal to accept or respond" to the survey, according to the coalition.

Rubens received an A rating recently from Gun Owners of New Hampshire. Smith was endorsed last week by the Gun Owners of America. Both men were critical of Brown on gun rights during a WGIR-AM radio debate last week. Brown, a gun owner and retired colonel from the Army National Guard, said he had averaged an A- rating from the NRA, which Rubens and Smith challenged.

The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition issued ratings for other candidates with primaries. The ratings included:

  • 1st Congressional District, GOP: Brendan Kelly (A, based solely on a survey), Everett Jabour (C), Frank Guinta (C-), and Dan Innis (RS).
  • 2nd Congressional District, GOP: Marilinda Garcia (A), Jim Lawrence (A), Gary Lambert (D-), and Mike Little (RS)
  • Governor's race, Democrats: Ian Freeman (A, based on a survey), Gov. Maggie Hassan (F), and Clecia Terrio (RS)
  • Governor's race, Republicans: Andrew Hemingway (A), Jonathan Smolin (A, based on a survey), Walt Havenstein (C+), and Daniel Greene (RS)

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(A Saturday version of Granite Status is below:)

IT WAS DESIGNED in a "tasteful way," state Sen. David Boutin, R-Hooksett, says about one of his recent campaign fliers. The mailer pictures two babies and then a zinger: "These two babies have lived longer in Hooksett than my opponent," Boutin says.

In an interview, Boutin says he aimed to "let the voters know that my opponent just moved from Alton to Hooksett several weeks ago."

The opponent in question, Jane Cormier, is challenging him in the GOP primary for Senate District 16. The winner faces Democrat Maureen Raiche Manning of Manchester in the general election. District 16 represents Bow, Candia, Dunbarton, Hooksett and Wards 1, 2 and 12 in Manchester.

Boutin says he's received positive response to his baby mailer.

Cormier, a former one-term state representative from Alton, moved to Hooksett in late May. She says she prefers to talk about the issues. "My voting record as a small government conservative will remain the same," she says. This music/voice teacher (her husband is a public school teacher) says the Legislature and governor raising the state's gas tax by 4.2 cents a gallon inspired her to run for Senate. Who happens to be one of the sponsors of that transportation funding legislation, Senate Bill 367? David Boutin, of course.

Though she may want to focus on Boutin's support for the gas tax rate increase, Cormier felt compelled to respond to the baby mailer with a web video starring those very same babies. "In an attempt to portray me as an outsider, my opponent has alleged to have claimed that tiny babies like these have lived in District 16 longer than I have," she says in the video. "What my opponent doesn't say is that precious babies like these inherited $9,000 of New Hampshire's state debt the moment they were born."

District 16 is one of 10 GOP primaries for state Senate. 

The race for state Senate District 15 features the only state primary contest among Democrats seeking a seat in the 24-member chamber, and the political fliers are flying there, too. Kass Ardinger and Dan Feltes are running to succeed Sen. Sylvia Larsen, D-Concord. The Concord Monitor reported Saturday that Feltes mailed out fliers accusing Ardinger of not supporting full-day kindergarten in Concord, which she says is just wrong.

The state primary is Sept. 9.

GRANITE STATE DEBATES: Watch and follow the Granite State Debates, sponsored by WMUR, the New Hampshire Union Leader and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, next week. Here's the schedule for the Republican primary debates, which start at 7 p.m.:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 2: 1st Congressional District
  • Wednesday, Sept. 3: 2nd Congressional District
  • Thursday, Sept. 4: U.S. Senate
  • Friday, Sept. 5: Governor

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Email political news items, ideas and tips to dtuohy@unionleader.com / Follow on Twitter: @tuohy and follow New Hampshire Union Leader - @unionleader

(The Granite Status update for Aug. 29 is below:)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is considering a run for president in 2016, will be the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO's annual Labor Day Breakfast on Monday, Sept. 1. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster will join Labor leaders and will be among the speakers at Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Manchester.

ISIS threat response: Senate Republican hopeful Scott Brown released a web video Aug. 29 on the ISIS threat, and he also criticized President Obama for an "incoherent" foreign policy in response to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Citing reports that up to 300 Americans are fighting with ISIS, Brown urged Congress to pass legislation that would strip these "homegrown terrorists" of their American citizenship. Brown introduced legislation in 2010 that proposed doing just that, and a similar bill in 2011, according to his campaign.

Jim Rubens, another hopeful running for the GOP nomination and right to face Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) in the general election, called Brown’s proposal a "flagrant attack on constitutional liberty." Said Rubens: "This is not a new proposal, in fact it was introduced in 2010 and 2012 in Congress. Both times, it was very quickly determined that they so egregiously violated the Constitution, they never even made it to a vote."

Freedom Concert: Senate Republican hopeful Bob Smith's campaign is bracing for a crowd at tonight's "Freedom Concert" at the Rochester Fairgrounds in the lovely Lilac City. The "Next of Kin" band plays at 4:15 p.m., followed by The Natalie Turgeon Band, and then country superstars Confederate Railroad. There's fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

"SAILS TO ATOMS." The Metal Trades Council at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard endorsed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Friday in Portsmouth. The union, which backed Shaheen in 2008, cited her advocacy for the shipyard projects and her opposition to base closure plans. It represents 2,400 shipyard workers. "I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Metal Trades Council, which represents so many of New Hampshire's hard-working men and women and their families," Shaheen said in a statement. "As the chair of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, I have worked across the aisle to oppose efforts to start a new round of Base Realignment and Closures. The shipyard plays a critical role in our national defense and in the local economy."

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(The Granite Status column published Aug. 28 is below:)

A congressional showdown you may not have heard of: Ex-Im Bank.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), noting a congressional fight is looming over the Export-Import Bank, calls its reauthorization critical for businesses to tap international markets.

"I know one of the big issues for General Electric and the company is the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, which provides support for businesses in the United States and in New Hampshire who want to do business abroad," Shaheen said Wednesday after touring GE Aviation in Hooksett.

Before fielding questions in a town hall-style meeting there, Shaheen cited one of her favorite statistics: that 95 percent of markets are outside the U.S., but only 1 percent of small and medium-sized businesses do business outside the country. The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency for the U.S. Its mission is to help finance the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Ex-Im Bank authorization runs out at the end of September.

Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred P Hochberg, in a visit to New Hampshire earlier this summer, said the bank currently supported 34 companies in the state, and those companies reported $359 million in exports related to that financing. It's at "no cost to taxpayers," Hochberg told the Union Leader.

Conservatives, however, have likened it to "crony capitalism" and "corporate welfare." The Club for Growth just criticized U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for support of the Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank was last reauthorized in 2012. Here a Senate roll call on it, which shows then Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), voting yea.

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STELLA Scamman is none pleased with her cameo in Republican Frank Guinta's first ad of the election cycle. The former state representative supported Guinta for Congress in the past, but she and her husband, former Speaker of the House Douglas Scamman, endorsed Dan Innis in the 1st District back in April. She is calling on the Guinta campaign to remove the ad - or remove her from the video footage.

"Frank Guinta knows very well that I am a strong 100 percent supporter of Dan Innis for Congress. Using this footage of me from an old campaign ad is inappropriate," Scamman said in a statement. "Dan Innis is a solutions based Republican with a solid business and education background who will use his leadership skills to grow our economy and tackle the challenges we face in Washington. Dan is a fresh voice that our Republican Party needs to win the election in November. That is why I am asking Frank to remove me from his advertisement."

Scamman is featured for a few seconds in the ad and seen chatting with Guinta. Here's a question: If the Innis campaign had not flagged it, would anyone have even noticed? Anyone driving by the Scamman's "Bittersweet Farm" in Stratham cannot miss the Innis campaign signs - right next to the Scott Brown for Senate signs, among others. Stella Scamman is also one of the leaders of Seacoast Republican Women, which will hold its annual Chilifest on Sept. 6, with keynote speaker Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Guinta campaign manager Jay Ruais said it would be changed. "Frank respects his friend Stella Scamman," Ruais said. "We are in the process of making the change to the ad."

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(An earlier version of Granite Status is below:)

IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN how much of an issue illegal immigration will be in the midterm elections, but the candidates are sure hearing it on the campaign trail.

Illegal immigration was raised during a question-and-answer session when U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited GE Aviation in Hooksett this week. An employee asked about ads attacking her over illegal immigration. Shaheen at first quipped:

“I probably should’ve supported more security at New Hampshire’s southern border, don’t you think.”

The audience let out a few laughs and some “ooohs” at the joke aimed at former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown now running for the GOP nomination for Senate in New Hampshire.

Then Shaheen, acknowledging the immigration system is broken, said she did vote for stronger border security.

Will the issue drive voter turnout? It could help motivate the GOP base, said Andrew Smith, executive director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. He said the economy and jobs continue to top voter concerns. An Ipsos poll conducted for Reuters earlier this month found 70 percent of Americans believe undocumented immigrants threaten U.S. beliefs and culture.

During the meeting at GE, Shaheen fielded two immigration-related questions. So, it is on the minds of local voters.

Brown continued this week to call Shaheen soft on the issue, and criticized her for not holding a traditional town hall-style meeting with constituents.

Asked about it after fielding questions from about 100 employees at GE, Shaheen said she is reaching people across the state.

“I’ve done town hall meetings, I’ve done tele-town hall meetings, which I like because you can reach more people that way,” she said. “I expect I’ll continue to do them. This is a good example of that good back-and-forth exchange I do whenever I’m out on the trail. I was at the (Concord) Rotary yesterday and had the same kind of Q and A. You can call them whatever you want. They’re an opportunity to engage with voters about the issues that affect New Hampshire and I will continue to do that.”

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IN THE OLD FRIENDS DEPARTMENT: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a possible presidential hopeful in 2016, spoke at the “Politics & Eggs” event held by the New England Council and New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

It’s a must stop for those with presidential aspirations. The New England Council also has some familiarity with Portman’s work. The regional business council urged passage last year of the Shaheen-Portman bill as a way to lower energy costs and create jobs.

The bipartisan bill, the “Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act,” died in the Senate this past spring after a partisan fight over efforts to add a Keystone XL pipeline amendment — which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow.

There was then that curious report by the Huffington Post, citing an anonymous source, that Scott Brown urged Republican leaders to kill the Shaheen-Portman bill, so as not to give Shaheen an election-year legislative victory.

Brown denied it back in May. In New Hampshire this week, Portman said he did not hear from Brown on his bill, and that he was in the state to help his old friend Brown return to the Senate as an “independent voice” for New Hampshire.

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ENDORSEMENT: The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce has endorsed U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s re-election bid in the 1st District. The group cited the Democrat’s co-sponsorship of the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Fair Minimum Wage Act and the FAMILY Act.

“I worked in my mother’s small business and I understand the challenges small business owners and their families face, so I‘ve introduced and supported legislation that helps them launch and grow. I have also advocated for them for six years on the Make it in America Working Group, so I am grateful for this recognition and endorsement by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce,” Shea-Porter said in announcing the endorsement.

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VETERANS: U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, a Democrat representing New Hampshire’s 2nd District, focuses on veterans in her second campaign ad. It features former Air National Guardswoman Robin Partello, who was an expecting mother and asked Kuster to help her “cut through red tape” to get care.

“She went out of the way to help me out,” Partello says in the ad. Partello adds that she is a Republican.

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AD IN: First Congressional District Republican hopeful Frank Guinta is out with his first ad, which focuses on cutting taxes, balanced budgeting, a “repeal and replace” of Obamacare with market-based solutions.

In the 2nd District, Republican hopeful Marilinda Garcia is up with her first ad, in which she talks about taxpayers losing trust in government.

She says in the ad, “We need a new generation of conservative leaders to challenge the status quo.”

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RINKER for Rubens. Former Executive Councilor Earl Rinker has endorsed former state Sen. Jim Rubens for U.S. Senate. Said Rinker, “Jim Rubens is a leader and will bring that leadership to Washington. I am extremely proud to endorse Jim for U.S. Senate, the only true Granite Stater in this race!”

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FREEDOM CONCERT: Senate Republican hopeful Bob Smith’s Confederate Railroad Freedom Concert is this Friday, Aug. 29, at the Rochester Fairgrounds. The event is a rallying call for supporters, as well as a fundraiser for his campaign.

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TOO MUCH? The GOP nominee for Senate in New Mexico has a campaign ad featuring the man who murdered journalist James Foley of Rochester. As Politico reported (http://politi.co/1viOEbA), Allen Weh uses the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant murderer among other grainy images, including clips of President Obama golfing. The video does not show James Foley.

Dan Tuohy is covering politics and government for the Union Leader and Sunday News. Email news and information to dtuohy@unionleader.com.


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