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New Hampshire Senate Race-Less Than 3 Weeks to Primary Day

NEW HAMPSHIRE-With three weeks to go, things are really heating up in this race.  The biggest fur is flying between the Ayotte and Binnie camps, with both candidates running attack ads on radio and TV against each other.  The latest from Binnie attacks Ayotte’s record as Attorney General from the right…….on illegal immigration and guns…….two of the issues I have highlighted in the past on Redstate.

In a surprise article yesterday from Ayotte’s home town newspaper  ( http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/832042-196/do-as-he-says-not-as-he.html ), the Nashua Telegraph, respected reporter Kevin Landrigan lays out five issues relating to Ayotte’srecord as AG that Binnie could take issue with.  Again, all five of these issues are in my previous Redstate posts:

“Out in the open

Where would Binnie go next if he wished to press the attack against Ayotte in the stretch run?

There are several possibilities. In no particular order, they include:

n Joint Underwriting Association: Americans for Job Security was the first to rough up Ayotte with a direct mail and Web video campaign lumping Ayotte and Lynch together for pushing the unconstitutional grab of surplus money the JUA had built up over three decades.

n Stimulus: Letters to the editor, blogs and forums have noted Ayotte’s support for getting stimulus money from the Obama administration and her current call to cancel the program and use any unspent money to lower the deficit.

n Climate change: As we already know, she opposes the cap and trade legislation. But as attorney general in 2005, Ayotte signed a letter opposing a Bush environmental bill because it failed to restrict carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

The Concord Monitor reported a year ago this month that Ayotte believed global warming was a “real issue.’’ On Wednesday night, she told a Seacoast Federation of Republican Women crowd in Portsmouth that she didn’t think global warming was proven science.

“If global warming isn’t scientifically proven, it sure was a waste of our tax dollars for Attorney General Ayotte to spend her time fighting to limit carbon emissions,” said Emily Browne, press secretary with the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

n Illegal immigration: Ayotte strongly supports a law in Arizona giving state officials the authority to arrest suspected illegal aliens. While she was AG, Ayotte’s office advised police in Hudson and New Ipswich that they couldn’t charge suspected illegal aliens with criminal trespass. State prosecutors told local police it was a matter for federal authorities to pursue.

n Gun owner rights: Ayotte’s backing from the law enforcement community is legendary, but many activists disliked that she backed Lynch’s veto of legislation that supporters said would give someone under attack outside the home a right to defend him or herself.

Sure enough, on Friday, the Binnie campaign placed a new commercial on WMUR-TV in which Clegg criticized Ayotte on gun rights and immigration.

Let the fur fly.”

More telling, Landrigan goes on to talk about who is best positioned to step in as the alternative to Ayotte and Binnie:

Taking up positions

The other two major Senate candidates are hoping to emerge as the real alternative while Ayotte and Binnie fight it out in the muddy trenches.

Ovide Lamontagne, of Manchester, released a signed letter from 40 supporters, including Dr. David K. Murotake, David Mitchell and Keshia Alicea, all of Nashua; Carolyn McKinney, of Amherst; and Shannon McGinley, of Bedford. The letter makes an explicit contrast with all the other candidates, including Jim Bender, of Hollis, who’s working hard to become the stand-in on Sept. 14 should Binnie fall by the wayside.

At week’s end, Lamontagne had designs on a big victory in a straw poll at a Manchester Republican Committee outing Saturday, as that would give him another grass-roots victory to crow about.

Watch for Lamontagne’s long-awaited advertising campaign to begin on radio soon and then migrate toTV.”

Yesterday I listened to an extensive interview with former Senate Majority Leader Robert Clegg of Hudson on “Bulldog Live” WTPL 107.7FM, outlining his experience with Ayotte in the NH legislature on the guns (veto of the expansion of the Castle Doctrine) and immigration (it was his home town that the police chief detained illegal aliens in 2005) issues.  Although Clegg clearly supports Binnie and appeared in a recent Binnie campaign ad this week against Ayotte on these two issues, he made a compelling case against Ayotte’s past record.

Today, Landrigan did a follow-up article on the Ayotte-Binnie war over guns and immigration issues:

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/833266-196/binnie-ayotte-soft-on-gun-laws.html

 

There were two significant grass roots GOP events held this past weekend in Manchester and Stratham NH.  In addition to the major NH candidates speaking, the Manchester event   ( http://www.manchestergop.com/newsArt.php?n=54   )  also had guest appearances from Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Steve Forbes, and  Mary Pawlenty, wife of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.  The straw poll results for US Senate were:

Jim Bender – 134

Ovide Lamontagne – 119

Kelly Ayotte – 59

Bill Binnie – 13

In Stratham, the Tri-Town GOP held their annual picnic and straw poll  (http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20100824-NEWS-8240332).  The straw poll results for US Seanate were:

Ovide Lamontagne-69

Kelly Ayotte-56

Jim Bender-29

Bill Binnie-10

I know the vote totals won’t impress people outside New Hampshire, but these are the type of local NH grass roots events that take place around the state leading up to the primary on September 14th……..fundamental to the activists being energized to get out the voters for the candidates they support on primary day.

Joe McQuade, editor of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper the Manchester Union Leader, has focused on attacking Bill Binnie for the last several weeks and has yet to endorse a candidate in the US Senate race.  At least we know clearly where he stands on Mr. Binnie.  There has been no recent polling released, but the activists who dissect this end of things tell me his numbers have been plummeting since he took on the influential Mr. McQuade:

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Joseph+W.+McQuaid%3a+Mr.+Binnie%27s+big+problem&articleId=99805b60-bc6d-477b-9529-f86933561ca1

http://www.unionleader.com/columns.aspx/Opinion?channel=7eec33e1-2fac-459d-871c-d69218f4c530

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Ayotte+defends+her+latest+ad+calling+Binnie+%27liberal%27&articleId=21a98f73-7034-4550-8f0d-6f0fd8540fe4

http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Publisher%27s+Notebook%3a+Candidates+show+true+colors&articleId=c6afdd68-20ee-41b0-a3b5-232c98e47dfa

If anything is certain, it is that this race is wide open as to who will actually win.  It is unlikely that Binnie, will all his money, will stop attacking Ayotte’s record on the issues between now and the primary……..and her “conservative” credentials.  In fact, he may have only started with the first two this week actually dealing with facts not fiction.  It is equally likely that Ayotte will have no choice but to counter attack Binnie to defend her record and undermine his “conservative” platform.  Of course both Ovide Lamonatgne and Jim Bender won’t ask them to stop anytime soon, as their more positive messaging is competing for air time and voter attention.

As I have posted previously, Ovide’s my pick and the candidate I want to represent me in Washington.  I will stick with my previous primary predictions:

travelkingnh Wednesday, July 14th at 10:34AM EDT (link)

“Lamontagne – 35%

Ayotte- 33%

Binnie- 20%

Bender-10%

Others-2%

The percentages may vary, but this is my predicted order of finish.”

It could be that Bender gets closer to the 15% mark and Binnie drops to 15% if the current trend continues.  But I still see roughly 1/3 to Ayotte, 1/3 to Lamontagne, and 1/3 split between Binnie and Bender……..and a small number of votes determine the winner between Ayotte and Lamontagne.  Personally, I’m hoping its Ovide because Hodes has far more juicy material to pick from in Ayotte’s record to attack her on than does Lamontagne.  He even gets to join Bill Binnie in attacking her on the right on her record on guns and immigration.  Notice that the NRA has no dog in this fight as Hodes gets past the NRA test, and as an NRA life member, I sure wish that wasn’t the case.

On the Democratic side, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the undeclared voters (independents) in our 1st Congressional District who normally vote Democratic in the primary, fill out a GOP ballot on September 14 since they have uncontested races for Congressman and Governor.  If they do, I think many of those voters will vote for Lamontagne as the perceived weekest candidate against Democrat Paul Hodes in the general election………..at least according to past polling results.  However, it is unclear that those numbers are large enough to influence the outcome in the primary………but with a predicted (at least by me) close finish you just don’t know.

Go Ovide on September 14th!

 

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