Diary

GOP: Base? What Base?

The expected candidacy of Kelly Ayotte for an open Senate seat in New Hampshire will likely generate even more concern throughout the more conservative Republican base, as, based upon news reports and emails forwarded from a reliable source, it’s now clear the GOP establishment is behind Ayotte’s candidacy, despite her spend, government, spend, pro-stimulus views.

One can confirm Ayotte’s pro-stimulus views by clicking here:

As I pointed out back on July 9, she seems to be something of a stimulus fan, as well. Collins voted for it. Ayotte is not only encouraging the spending, she assigned her Deputy the job of distributing the monies. Granted the money is there, but if she were the type to vote for such a measure as Collins did, it wouldn’t be a good thing.

Emails in my possession show NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer, in conjunction with NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh, talking up Ayotte’s candidacy in a weekly NRSC news round up under John Cornyn’s name before Ayotte even announced. The Washington Times also pointed out her lack of fiscal conservative views here – read the whole thing.

When the state’s attorney general, Kelly A. Ayotte, another high-polling Republican, announced she was resigning from her post to explore a bid for the Senate, the NRSC immediately issued a statement calling her a “formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate if she decides to run,” a strong indication it would be likely to support her once her candidacy is declared. The committee also e-mailed conservative bloggers items promoting flattering things political reporters had written about her.

But, like Mr. Crist, she doesn’t appear to be much of a fiscal conservative.

Meanwhile, there are other Republicans who may challenge Mrs. Ayotte in the party primary, such as former Rep. Charlie Bass, 1996 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne and Fred Tausch, who founded the stimulus watchdog group Save the Economy Without Accumulating Record Debt to demand more fiscal responsibility after passage of the bill.

But the NRSC appears to have already picked its favored candidate. Mr. Lamontagne traveled to Washington last month to visit the NRSC to discuss his candidacy.

As if that wasn’t enough, when The Politico pointed out Ayotte’s Susan Collin’s-like image, recall Collins was one of three Republicans who voted for the stimulus, they noted, as I previously noted, she retained Thomas Daffron of the Jefferson Group. I’ve since learned that stimulus lobbyist Nathan Butzlaff is also a member of the Jefferson Group.

Outgoing New Hampshire Attorney General Ayotte is starting to staff up for her Senate campaign in New Hampshire, and she’s looking to bring on a consultant with close ties to moderate Maine GOP senator Susan Collins, according to the Union-Leader.

Thomas Daffron, the chief operating officer of the DC-based Jefferson Group, has previously served as a general consultant for Collins in her past campaigns. He also worked as a chief of staff to another moderate Maine senator, William Cohen who later served as former President Clinton’s defense secretary.

While it may be fair to debate if Ayotte is, or isn’t the best candidate for the NH Senate seat, other facts are also clear. The anti-stimulus talk we are hearing from the Republican establishment is not apparent in their actions, particularly as regards their selecting future candidates, even at the expense of fiscal conservatives; consequently, they seem to be paying little, or no attention to the conservative base; and even if Republicans win with Ayotte – genuine fiscal conservatives may still lose in the end.