Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, is shown last year with  other Senate Democrats in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says the person elected president in November should nominate a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“This next justice will determine the future of civil rights and voting rights, health care access, and reproductive freedoms for every American, and the voices of the people should be heard,” Shaheen said in a statement on Monday. “The election has begun, with people across the country voting and Granite Staters set to cast their ballots in mere weeks.”

But back when former President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, Shaheen said the Senate was obliged to fill vacancies with all haste.

“The obstruction of his nomination by Senate Republicans is unprecedented in our nation’s history,” Shaheen said in an April 2016 statement. “The Constitution is clear on the Senate’s obligation in the event of a vacancy on the Court and it’s time for the Republican majority to schedule hearings and a vote.”

Shaheen’s Republican opponent, Corky Messner, seized on this.

“I wholeheartedly support Senator Shaheen’s 2016 position on filling the Supreme Court vacancy with all deliberate speed,” Messner said in a statement earlier this week.

Of course, the 2016 nomination happened more than nine months before the 2016 election. This time, a nomination could come within six weeks of the election, when people across the country have already started voting.

“This election has begun, unlike the Supreme Court vacancy that occurred nearly a year before the 2016 election, and the Secretary of State said Granite Staters will be voting this week,” Shaheen campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said in a statement.

Bullish on NH

Joe Biden‘s presidential campaign in New Hampshire wants to project confidence, judging by a memo released Thursday.

The memo states more than 5,200 New Hampshire residents have attended virtual events, phone banks, trainings, and meetings since June, and the number of New Hampshire people signing up to volunteer virtually has gone up since the Democratic National Convention in August.

The Trump campaign scoffed.

“Zoom is a poor substitute for person-to-person conversations with voters,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Nina McLaughlin. “New Hampshire Trump Victory has had boots on the ground since 2016, powered by our volunteer army of thousands of Granite Staters working tirelessly to see President Trump win in November.”

McLaughlin said the campaign has made contact with voters here more than 1.2 million times.

“We’ve built a team with deep roots in New Hampshire and with experience campaigning in every region of the state,” the Biden campaign said.

The Biden campaign has been waged almost entirely virtually in New Hampshire, while the Trump campaign has returned to largely normal, in-person campaigning.

The Trump campaign has boasted of reaching more voters in the campaign’s quest to overcome the tiny margin by which Trump lost the Granite State in 2016.

Laura O’Neill, state director of Biden’s campaign, wrote in the memo that virtual engagement resulted in more engagement with voters than in-person events might have.

“Our phone contact rates are higher than they have ever been and we are having meaningful conversations with voters about the direction of our country in unprecedented times,” O’Neill wrote.

New Hampshire is to get a slice of the campaign’s $280 million ad budget, O’Neill wrote, adding there would be messaging directed specifically at seniors and young voters, focused on the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and post-pandemic recovery.

O’Neill said the youth vote program has adapted to the pandemic too, using the “airdrop” function on iPhones to share the commit-to-vote cards that organizers would ordinarily hand out in person.

Sununu in Mowers ad

Gov. Chris Sununu this week endorsed Matt Mowers, the Republican challenging Rep. Chris Pappas in the First Congressional District.

“Governor Sununu needs a teammate in Congress to cut taxes, stop new ones, and protect the New Hampshire way,” Mowers said in a new ad, in which he appears beside Sununu.

Pappas’ camp took issue with the ad’s portrayal of the first-term congressman and former executive councilor.

“Chris Pappas has never voted for, and does not support, an income tax,” said Lucas Meyer, Pappas’ campaign manager, in a statement. “In fact, he’s the only candidate in this race who has voted to cut taxes and is leading the effort in Congress right now to prevent Granite Staters from paying an income tax.”

Contact Josie Albertson-Grove at jgrove@unionleader.com.