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Edwards accuses Sanborn of distorting his record

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 29. 2018 9:24PM
Paul Chevalier of Hudson, Vietnam War veteran and past state chairman of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, defends the military record of 1st Congressional District candidate Eddie Edwards (behind Chevalier) at a news conference in Manchester. (KEVIN LANDRIGAN/UNION LEADER)



MANCHESTER — On a sweltering Wednesday afternoon, the Republican primary in the 1st Congressional District got much hotter with Eddie Edwards of Dover accusing rival Andy Sanborn of Bedford of sending out an “untrue and illegal mailer” containing lies about his record on gun owner rights, abortion and immigration.

The Edwards campaign released a complaint it sent to Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald charging the mailer dubbed “Eddie Edwards: Against Trump-For the Swamp” did not contain the legally required identification of who paid for it.

They intend to lodge a similar complaint with the Federal Elections Commission Thursday.

“We have seen politics go good and politics go bad. This flyer from Senator Sanborn, it’s a sham, it’s a disgrace for anyone in public life,” said Michael Sielicki, a retired Kensington police chief and past president of the state lobby of local chiefs.

More than a half dozen spoke at the news conference at the Hilton Garden Inn all attacking Sanborn’s character and political tactics.

“Flat out lies and manipulations are beneath us as a party,” said House Deputy Majority Leader Victoria Sullivan, R-Manchester.

And former House Speaker Bill O’Brien of Mont Vernon said Sanborn sent out similar false mailings when Sanborn first won his state Senate seat in a primary over the late state Rep. Ken Hawkins of Bedford.

“I am not going to allow him to do this again to a veteran like he did to Ken Hawkins,” O’Brien said. “This is a persistent record of misleading statements and outright lies.”

The Sanborn flyer declares Edwards to be a “20-year government insider” and a “career government employee at the federal, state and local levels” without mention that Edwards also is a former police chief, liquor law enforcement director and U.S. Navy veteran.

It accuses Edwards of supporting “weaker gun rights” after getting an “F” grade for failing to answer the survey of the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition.

“Senator Sanborn continues to distort my record and who I am and he continues to hide his disgraceful behavior in our state’s capital,” Edwards said then alluding to the State House investigation into whether Sanborn sexually harassed a former male intern

“We have a senator in my opinion who has demonstrated predatory behavior in our State House for quite some time.”

Before the event, the Sanborn campaign admitted it mistakenly left the “Paid for by Sanborn” tag off a batch of mailings and self-reported this violation Monday to the Federal Elections Commission.

“The (Sanborn) Committee inadvertently failed to include the legally required boxed disclaimer stating who paid for the mailer. A copy of the mailer can be provided. The Committee will cooperate fully with any investigation. Sanborn for New Hampshire has sent several mailers this cycle already, and all have included a properly boxed disclaimer,” the Sanborn campaign wrote in its letter to the FEC.

“Moving forward, the Committee has placed new controls in the internal approval process for mailers and will make sure all future mailers are properly disclosed.”

Ethan Zorfas, a Sanborn campaign consultant, said his candidate hasn’t sullied Edwards’ service record.

“Andy Sanborn has nothing but the upmost respect and gratitude for anyone who served in our military or in law enforcement,” Zorfas said.

As for the allegations in the mailing, Zorfas said all of them about Edwards are factual.

“It is true that Eddie Edwards is a lobbyist. It is a fact that Eddie Edwards is a 20-year bureaucrat until he left to go lobby that bureaucracy,” Zorfas said.

“It is a fact that Eddie Edwards served on a board that doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood and the pro-amnesty lobby. It is a fact that Eddie Edwards received an F from NH’s largest 2nd Amendment organization and did not fill out their survey.

“With all these liberal positions and his unwillingness to support the Republican Primary maybe Eddie Edwards is running in the wrong primary.”

Edwards said he opposes abortion rights and amnesty and said so while serving on the board of the Endowment for Health that supported these programs.

This battle raises the stakes for the only televised debate involving these two candidates and the three other minor candidates running in the 1st District GOP primary. The debate is set for a week from Thursday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.

The New Hampshire Union Leader and WMUR are jointly sponsoring the event.

“It is time we focus on character not politics once again,” Edwards summed up. “I am very proud of our policies. Senator Sanborn does not reflect what conservative politics is all about.”

klandrigan@unionleader.com


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